Global Marketing

Avoiding Global Branding Mistakes

If you have decided to take your brand global, then there are a few things to greatly consider beforehand in order to avoid major international marketing mistakes. There have been many instances where companies choose to take a specific product or message international but it ends up failing.

A couple of examples of these types of mistakes include:

American Motors: In the 1970s, they named one of their cars the Matador without realizing that the word “matador” in Spanish translates to the word “killer.” It is easy to say that this name was not particularly appealing to people in Spanish speaking countries.

Ford: When Ford entered Belgium, they wanted to highlight the car's excellent manufacturing so they launched a campaign that was supposed to say “Every car has a high-quality body.” However, once it was translated it actually said, “Every car has a high-quality corpse. Not really the idea you want to put into your customers' heads.

KFC: When KFC opened its first restaurant in China in the 1980s, they wanted to continue to use their famous slogan “Finger-lickin' good.” However, once translated, their motto turned into “Eat your fingers off.” This mistake did not hurt KFC too severely as it now has more than 5,000 restaurants all throughout China.

Here are a few tips to ensure that you do not follow in these awful footsteps:

  1. Identify who you are targeting with your marketing strategy and modify it accordingly. You will need to consider language, culture, visuals, gestures, and trends.
  2. Localize your content instead of directly translating the language. Localization for each country or region is crucial to communicate nuance, which is often the basis of positioning and taglines.
  3. Consider the medium of communication when creating a global marketing strategy. Knowing which social media platform to use, for example, is essential when trying to reach a specific international audience.
  4. Cross-reference your campaign with local experts before promoting it. This step will help to gain greatly needed insider oversight and feedback.
  5. Observe successful marketing ads in your target country. This could be a great tactic to help ensure efficiency for your brand in that market.

By following these essential steps, when deciding to go global, you can help lower the risk of failure. Not every market will be the same, but your ability to customize and adapt is what will ensure success no matter where you enter next.

Global Marketing

Turning Starbucks Into a Successful Brand


Starbucks' global expansion has been extremely rapid as well as strategic. It's first international store was opened in Tokyo in 1996, with the UK following in 1998. The company finally opened its first Latin American store in Mexico City in 2002. The brand's global reach increased to cover Russia in 2007 and then Vietnam in 2013. When they opened stores in Panama in 2015, they reached the milestone of achieving 99% of ethically sourced coffee. Today, the company has more than 26,000 stores throughout 75 countries and is expected to keep its growth momentum in the coming years.

Brand Philosophy

Ever since it's early days, Starbucks has thrived to be what they call the ‘Third Place' which is a place somewhere between work and home but also to build its brand identity by offering its customers a relaxing and delightful experience. Starbucks has also built its brand on matters that some would consider out of the box, by consistently defying conventional wisdom.

Unlike other companies, Starbucks chooses not to advertise aggressively. Also, Starbucks does not make cost-cutting a dominant trait of theirs. They choose to emphasize non-routine procedures in order to create excitement among their staff instead of trying to streamline procedures. In addition, Starbucks decided to make their employees partners by offering them stock options and health insurance when a lot of other companies did not. These are just a small list of things that they have done to define the company's intention to go against the norm.

Rather than relying solely on quantitative market research, Starbucks chooses casual and more informal chats with their customers to capture overall mood and gather valuable feedback. Clever and unique ways of understanding their customers have helped build their brand into the global icon that they are today.

Starbucks has been rather successful in focusing their customer's attention on the quality of their experience rather than the price of their products. The company operates with strong attention to detail and focuses on ensuring that the customer experience is consistent across all of its stores.

Another major pillar in its brand philosophy is to be a responsible and ethical company. This pillar revolves around, ensuring that their purchasing practices are trustworthy as well as creating opportunities through education, training, and employment. They have also initiated many programs to help reduce its environmental footprint through energy and water conservation and recycling.

Brand Strategy

Branding is one of Starbucks' strongest elements in their strategy. They have invested a lot to create a standardized look and feel for its stores, merchandise, and drinks. The Starbucks siren logo is one of the most recognizable logos in the entire world. The global expansion strategy has an objective or recreating the Starbucks experience in its stores no matter where on the globe.

The brand strategy focuses on the detail of the experience that takes place in every store. This idea has been a cornerstone of their philosophy and values since the very beginning. For its stores, Starbucks has always embraced stunningly appealing and unique designs. They have even created stores out of unused shipping containers. The interiors of the stores are continuously updated with artistically appealing materials, lighting arrangements, etc.

The company's brand strategy has continued to evolve, and they have taken advantage of new customer engagement platforms. Starbucks owns a website called, where customers are invited to leave ideas for the company to expand and improve its products and customer experience. The brand also has a significant social media presence. This presence is driven by the need to better engage with its customers. Starbucks also wants to be visible on platforms where their target or future customers spend a lot of time on, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The brand also invests a lot in mobile marketing. Starbucks developed a Starbucks app for paying for products, tipping baristas, as well as earning and redeeming rewards. The result was an increase in customer engagement, reflected by a 20% increase in Starbucks Rewards member spend.

Starbucks has shown a lot of growth over the last couple of decades, with no slow down in sight. They will undoubtedly continue to evolve and adapt to fit their changing customers' needs over time. The success that Starbucks has had in the food and beverage industry is something to marvel over. The company's brand philosophy and brand strategy are what sets them apart from the competition and it will forever be a key driver to their success.

Global Marketing

4 Examples of Powerful Global Branding

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.

Global Marketing

Disadvantages of Global Branding

While there are many pros to global branding, there are also reasons to avoid global branding. It will be up to the company if the pros are worth the cons.

Global growth at three year low as weakness spills over | IHS Markit

Global Means It’s as big as the Globe

While it is ambitious to think on a global scale, some goods and services do not translate on a global scale. One-on-one services such as CPA or masseuse would not pursue global branding. It just does not make sense. Some companies may salivate at the idea of increasing their market and may jump into an area that does not even have a demand for their products.

A Market for your Products Might not Exist

Just because your product sells well in your local market does not mean it will succeed on a global level. Cultural, economic, and political barriers provide many challenges that may require great localization. This can greatly alter the product and even a company’s values. It is difficult enough to have a product that sells well nationally in the United States. Global reach provides many different hurdles.

Immense Financial Risk

It takes an immense amount of capital to extend your global reach. A lot of time, energy, and research must be conducted to create an effective strategy. If a comprehensive plan is not employed, then you can lose money very quickly. American retailer, Target, believed they could jump into Canada without doing much research. There was the misconception that Canada was like the United States. Ultimately, Target lose $2.1 billion in their venture due to their lack of planning.

What really happened at Target Canada: The retailer's last days

Different Rules and Customs

A marketing strategy is not a one size fits all. It must adapt to the different rules and customs. Just because Google is popular in the United States, does not mean it is popular in Asia. Yahoo is very popular in Japan while South Korea favors their native search engine Naver. How words translate will need to be carefully thought out as well. English idioms might translate awkwardly into a different language.

Different customs also have a different set of values. A great way to analyze this would be through Hofstede’s five dimensions: power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation.

Global branding offers several challenges, however that does not mean a company should not consider it. If global branding is a viable option it has the opportunity to provide many benefits. It takes time to do the research for an effective strategy.

Global Marketing

How Michael Jordan Became a Global Brand

Image result for jumpman logo

The Rise of Jordan

Michael Jordan stormed into the NBA and brought about a flair and athleticism never seen before. From his attitude to his jumping ability, he elevated the NBA to new heights. He differed from other basketball players with his trash-talking, athleticism, and willingness to win. Michael Jordan signed with Nike in his rookie year and thus began his Jordan shoes. They were able to create a high-quality basketball shoe at a premium price because of what it represented. However, with any popular item there would be many attempts to copy and steal ideas. The Jumpman logo has been copied a numerous amount of times and is still an issue today. Sometimes the differences between an authentic and fake shoes are not recognizable, which creates issues with the perception of the Jordan brand.

New Sneaker Every Season and Marketing

Every new season that Jordan played, a new shoe would get released. This always created new products and drove up sales. Demand for these shoes were increasing as well with the skyrocketing popularity of Michael Jordan. The 1992 men’s Olympic basketball team, most famously known as the “Dream Team”, pushed Jordan’s popularity to a global level. On the world stage the “Dream Team” dominated, and Jordan gained millions of new fans. His image and on-the-court consistency improved the popularity of the Jordan shoes.

Additionally, Nike released many television commercials centered on his shoes. Most famously, the ad with Spike Lee drives the appeal as he constantly states, “It’s gotta be the shoes!” Michael Jordan also used Gatorade and McDonald's to improve his marketing. “Be Like Mike” was an immensely popular slogan in the 1990's.

2015 Gatorade Be Like Mike POS on Behance


After Jordan’s retirement there was a dip in shoe sales. This was contributed to several factors:

  • Younger fans did not identify with him as much
  • Increasing competition from new talent such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry releasing their own lines of shoes
  • New shoes were not being released

To combat competition, the Jordan brand began signing new basketball players such as Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson, and Jayson Tatum. They wanted to continue on their image and reputation of having consistent and dominant players represent their brand. The Jordan brand standardized their products and wanted the same message to be carried globally.

Additionally, the Jordan brand began to work in collaborations with popular companies such as Supreme, OVO, and Undefeated. They also began to release retro shoes which were re-releases of Michael Jordan’s older shoes but in new styles.

Global Marketing

The Three Key Value Dimensions of Global Branding

The way a brand is perceived is important to its success. Research was conducted by Harvard Business School and market research company Research International to determine the three characteristics consumers associate with global brands. Quality signal, global myth, and social responsibility were found to the key factors of global branding.

Best Brands - Interbrand
  • Quality Signal

Success is perceived to show quality. This is why consumers will buy popular brands. They assume that popular brands are of high quality. Often times, consumers will accept paying premiums because they believe that global brands have better quality. Global brands also have a perception of innovation and being dynamic. On the other hand, local brands are relatively static. The country of origin used to be an important factor, but now a brand’s global reach are most important.

  • Global Myth

Consumers view global brands as symbols of cultural ideals and what they want to be. Consumers use brands to construct an imagined global identity to connect with the rest of the world. The post-World War Two era spread American myths globally. It used to be the American way of life that was coveted and see as the gold standard. However, the global myth has shifted and is now influenced by all dominant global brands. It has become more diverse. It was also commonplace for lifestyle and luxury brands to dominate the global market. Now it has become more diverse and expanded to even information technology.

  • Social Responsibility

Consumers expect companies to handle social problems. Consumers will decide if they want to spend their money on a company based on the company’s decisions concerning problems such as poverty and global warming. There are immense expectations for oil giants to handle global warming. However, consumers do not expect the same kind of actions from local companies. Consumers believe that multinational companies already make an egregious amount of money, so it is their duty to give back. Even companies that hint at any type of racism, sexism, of homophobia will face extreme backlash.

The importance of the three dimensions holds true in most nations. Countries with strong local manufacturers and ethnocentrism would not be affected by global branding as much. However, global branding can be found to have an immense effect in countries that value a perceived way of life. The internet plays a huge role in a company’s ability to control these dimensions. It is up to them to position themselves correctly and market themselves effectively.

Global Marketing

Global Branding and the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus has presented immense challenges for companies. Global branding has caused companies to adapt their strategies and operations. With an ambiguous time frame, companies must make changes that will enforce their image, values, marketing, and operations.

Coronavirus emergency: here's what we know so far | UN News

Companies must begin to present with empathy and transparency

In such uncertain times, clarity and empathy must be exhibited by companies. Banks started waiving overdraft fees and cutting interest rates. Some landlords waived rent. Brand voice is more delicate than ever. Automobile companies have started to allow no payments for the first 90 days. Food delivery services offer contact free delivery to enforce social distancing.

Use of media must be done in more agile ways

Companies need to quickly pivot messages depending on circumstance. Nike has launched a new ad campaign with the slogan, “Play inside, play for the world.” Chiquita has also created a new slogan of, “I'm already home. Please do the same and protect yourself.” Flexibility is more important now than ever.

Companies must also be able to modify media mix. Video streaming advertisements are at all time high at the moment. Advertising in mobile gaming is also an avenue worth exploring.

Brand must be associated with a positive connotation

People remember brands for their acts. Whether it is good or bad, it leaves a lasting impression. Gamestop refused to close because they deemed themselves as an essential business. The public response was extremely negative. The companies that act positively will come out of the pandemic with a strong, positive image.

Tesla has been able to pivot their business to creating face masks. Although they are not essential, they have devoted to switching their resources to producing PPE. There have also been instances where companies will continue to pay their employees despite being closed.

Trends must be tracked

This time is critical for companies to track trends and create strategies. Human behavioral trends have drastically shifted. Sentiment and consumption trends must be measures on a regular basis to better adapt messaging. Companies must also build deeper connections with C-suit colleagues.

Adapt to new ways of working to keep delivering

Businesses have adapted to the pandemic by allowing employees to work from home. This enforces social distancing and helps the business keep running. This pandemic also has shown that companies do not need staff on site everyday to be effective. This may lead to trends of more and more companies allowing employees to work remotely.

Global Marketing

The 4 Challenges That Affect A Brand’s Global Reach

Growing population numbers all over the world and the increasing efficiency of technology have made globalization for companies more appealing than ever. The potential expansion of revenue streams is possibly the main reason why a company decides to take its brand global.

However, globalization has also brought upon challenges for brands as well. Globalization has made it almost impossible for companies to provide five-star customer service in all parts of the world. Global marketing campaigns have multiple areas of challenges that must be planned for much in advance.

Here are the four main challenges that marketers face when considering global customers:

Challenge 1: Breaking Down Cultural Barriers

It is no secret that brands must always consider all of their markets before moving forward with any new products, services, or campaigns but it is more than that. A global brand must fully understand all of its local markets as much as possible. For example, they must be aware of social norms or even religious holidays that would prevent the purchase of a particular product. One offer that the company issues can be insulting to some or exciting for others. For reasons like this, brands need reliable teams who only focus on understanding their markets before moving forward with any new idea. This also means more than looking at data, there should be actual observations of the local society and its norms.

Challenge 2: Technology

All countries are currently in different locations on the technology adaptation spectrum. Being aware of this is important when considering a campaign that may have a digital component that goes along with it. Customers in countries like the US might prefer an exclusive mobile app notification while customers in countries like the UK would prefer an email. Investing in personalization technology could help brands focus their attention on the right channels and make good offers based on an individual's preferences and location.

Challenge 3: Diversified Teams

A disconnected team can make a new product launch or a company-wide campaign either a success or a complete failure. Coordinating across several regions requires careful planning and constant communication across all departments within a company. Instituting a new change across all regions at the same time reinforces a brand's image. Also, managing these globally dispersed teams requires great internal communication and most importantly; the buy-in from each team member.

Challenge 4: Legal Barriers

It goes without saying that all brands should also take into account legal implications with everything that they decide to do within any region. Laws in certain regions can harm a company's entry into a new market or delay a launch that holds significant costs. Understanding markets requires intensive knowledge of the political and legal landscape. This specific area should never be taken lightly for any brand for the fear of hurting the brand's image.

Overlooking any of these challenges can certainly harm any brand. Developing solutions and tools to better handle or combat these challenges is key to improving a brand's global reach.