Global leaders often prophesise about how things always go right and how they ensure that glitches are not seen by the public, however, this forum was rather different from the stereotypes. Global thought leaders came together on a podium to admit and discuss marketing disasters and possible ways of avoiding them.
The goal of ‘one brand – one voice’ advertising is to boost brand equity and global consistency, yet a lack of appropriate local understanding and preparation can wreck havoc on a brand’s reputation, as well as its pocket. As more global brands jet-set across international media skyways to reach consumers everywhere, the crashes are piling up.
The panel included Mainardo De Nardis, CEO Aegis Media, Global, Ian Ewart – Head of Marketing, Barclays Wealth Management, Nick Strauss, Executive Planning Director, Mather Communications and Chris Mendola, Managing Director 180. There was no denying by anyone in either the panel or the audience that one needs to be respectful and insightful towards every local culture and flavour.
However, Strauss articulated the matter best when he said, “There needs to be transcreations and not translations that facilitate this localisation on content. Big companies want that one global idea to take them across boundaries, which is fair, however, pure translations can never do the trick, it needs to be followed by a lot of local back end, and today, even front end changes.”
“You can avoid disasters with collaboration, you need to first need to admit that you are making them,” began De Nardis. He delved into the luxury category to explain that sometimes local flavours did not need to come across in display and portrayal only to create the global look.
“The luxury segment – be it a Feragamo or a Vuitton – will always look the same, no matter what city or country you are in. This is because they are not promoting the Chinese look or the Indian look, but the brand look. If you enter Maxmara, even the door handles are the same in the stories in China and in Europe,” De Nardis added.
Taking the idea forward, however, there were interesting views on international brands that needed to quickly adopt local ideologies. “While coffee is consumed all over the world, the method of preparation and consumption differ. However, Starbucks has the same advertising globally. This really needs to be addressed because they need to understand that every consumer is different from the other and the way to communicate the habit of coffee drinking is essential depending on the location,” Mendola asserted.
As the conversation progressed, De Nardis turned the attention to another form of localisation that is fast growing. “Today ‘MySpace’ has become the 9th largest country in the world, the size of Brazil. So, while we can still argue about how we say what in Spanish or English, saying it on the web is much different. You have to speak to every individual voice there and compete for their time and attention,” he emphasised.
In agreement with this fact, the focus shifted to accountability and CRM as the web enabled discussion hitherto unknown and impossible between consumers. The future of success and avoiding disasters is all about listening to what the consumer has to say, as opposed to conveying what the brand needs to communicate, and once this voice is heard, the blunders can only decrease.
Strauss went on to explain that all consumers could connect to emotions, be it towards money, or love or children. Barclays uses this emotional connection and alters the rendition in different countries to ensure that the consumer feels that the brand knows them personally.
“If the brand is solid, a blunder does not mean its end, the consumer allows scope for apology and gives the brand a second or even third chance. However, if the brand is dishonest and unsound, it can destroy the brand forever. A mistake in the earlier days could be forgotten, today You Tube will ensure you always remember!” concluded De Nardis.
The session after this was on idea management and how great ideas indeed show results in a company’s performance. The speaker of the session, Ralf Longswost, Founder, IdeaManagement, spoke about some points relating to the big idea. He said, “Are great ideas a coincidence? How do they sell, what is their structure like and are there ways to improve the chances of hitting on a great idea? I think there are ways where we can increase the chances of great ideas.”
Based on the results of a creative effectiveness research that Longswost executed in 41 countries, he cited some examples that he called the double champions – communications that have won creative awards and have ranked high on effectiveness in the market place too. Some of these included Audi, Tag-Huer, The Economist and so on.
He took the audience through a graph where brand value was in the centre of the graph, and the three dimensions around it were the target audience or the insights, the product and the competition or the market. A proposition moves from the TG to the product, which has to be differentiated from competition and would finally lead to the share of mind in the market place.