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Managing Global Brand Advertising

Hamsini Shivkumar, JWT Mumbai, examines how global ads can be developed, suggesting how advertisers and agencies can be clearer about their objectives.

THE KEY CHALLENGE for global brand positioning and communication is to motivate consumers around the world, evoking the same mental picture or image of the brand. The question that global brand teams grapple with is, of course, whether ‘same’ means identical, quite similar or a bit similar. In other words, what should the degrees of freedom be in defining and communicating the global brand?

A second, critical question is how to go about defining this motivating mental image of the global brand and then, how to communicate it to consumers in the most effective way – to grow the business and strengthen the brand. These are challenges that global and regional planning teams have been struggling with for years, with no accepted best practice so far.

The short answer to these questions, in my view, is that global brand positioning/ brand identity is, ideally, built from a tightly defined and motivating brand concept. The communication of it, however, often requires significant degrees of freedom to grow the brand’s business and added values in diverse markets and cultures. Therefore, global brands need a global brand idea but not a global advertising idea. However, this thinking is not yet accepted as best practice among global brand teams.

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