Before the internet, only a select few companies succeeded in the global scope. However, thanks to the rise of technology and e-commerce, a lot more companies are capable of this shared success.
Building a global brand means a lot more than just translating a slogan into a different language. Only the most successful companies realize that messaging has to be combined with a true understanding of local culture and tastes. This tactic is often referred to as a ‘glocal' strategy.
The following are some great examples of powerful brands:
Airbnb had one of the most difficult challenges to overcome when it first started the business: how could it convince people that staying in a stranger's home would not be awkward or scary? They ultimately did a fantastic job at this because now the company has seen amazing global success. They currently operate in over 190 countries and counting.
The key to Airbnb's strategy is localization. They have a dedicated localization department in every country that is responsible for making the website accessible around the globe. The localization department is also in charge of storytelling – an essential component in developing trust among hosts and guests.
The brand has also adapted a universal symbol as its logo. The Belo symbolizes ‘belonging' no matter where you are.
Apple is without a doubt the most successful brand of our time. Every single company could learn a thing or two from Apple. They have really mastered the one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to their products. The iPhone design, for example, is identical regardless of which region in the world it is being sold.
However, Apple also understands when to put an end to the standardization. The customer service is perfectly tailored to suit local tastes and needs. Also, the content on Apple's site is carefully translated and localized for international markets.
Probably one of the oldest players in the global game, Coca-Cola is still a major powerhouse in today's world. The company has repeatedly adapted to the changing times in order to re-establish its brand with international audiences.
When the company first went global in the '80s and '90s, they tried to standardize their messaging as well as their products, but it did not work out so well for them. They faced major backlash from international markets that connected them with American imperialism. However, Coca-Cola reacted quickly and introduced their ‘think local-act local' marketing strategy that was meant to increase local sensitivity.
Since that time, Coca-Cola has continued to grow and is still one of the world's most recognizable brands. The key to their success was the focus on enduring and universal values such as ‘sharing' and ‘happiness' as well as product and messaging localization.
Since its start in 1943, Ikea has become a globally recognized brand with stores all over the world. Their success can be attributed to the company's universally appealing brand traits of low price, sustainability, form, function, and quality.
As with other successful global brands, Ikea really takes the time to understand its international markets. Although they main contain the same elements, room sets vary from store to store to meet the needs of local customs. For example, in Japan, Ikea will often feature a traditional Japanese floor covering called tatami mats.
Building a global brand is not easy but with it now being easier than ever before to enter international markets, it is something that companies can achieve. The main key is to find the perfect balance between global messaging and localized strategies.