Global Marketing

Marketing Preparation after COVID-19: Hotels

COVID-19 has impacted businesses across the world, and marketing as we know it will never be the same. Some industries have hurt more than others. The hotel industry is a prime example, with many of the industry leaders closing doors indefinitely. Although this post pertains to hotels, other industries can benefit from being active during a time of zero customers.

Historical data and research show that companies who remain active during a crisis experience higher sales and net income than those that shut down. What does active mean exactly? An active company is one that “actively prepares” for life after COVID-19. For hotels, this could mean a handful of things. For example, many industry experts believe “staycations” will become increasingly popular. Instead of flying on a plane to a vacation destination, people will prefer to drive to a closer spot. Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority president Carol Chaplin has already altered the organizations marketing efforts to target Californians, and bordering states like Nevada and Arizona. Others are using COVID-19 to promote how clean and safe their hotels will be. Hilton recently partnered with Lysol. An anonymous source that works in the industry said, “…instead of keeping sanitization and cleaning on the back end, these tasks will be performed in a more visible way to the clients.” An example of this is sanitization throughout hotels and even the comeback of elevator operators. Additionally, identifies 11 ways that hotel marketers can prepare during the downtime. One again, this can apply to other service-based industries as well. I’ll highlight some of the important steps.

Audit Your Marketing Assets

How can you prepare for tomorrow when you do not know what you have today? What auditing your marketing assets does is help keep an inventory or log of all of your current marketing efforts. Doing so can help identify the most effective channels to market through.

Record Videos Today for Social Media Use in the Future | Brand Photoshoot and Video

This is a no brainer. Whether your hotel is large or small, you rarely have an empty hotel at your disposal. Take advantage of the space and bring a photographer in to capture content that normally wouldn’t be available.

Prepare for after the pandemic by creating content promoting your company’s brand. The sense of community is at an all-time low, help connect others by creating a community of your own.

Interview Customers and Employees

Being stuck at home, customers and employees alike have more time on their hands than ever before. What better time to ask for feedback on areas that the company can improve on. Record feedback today to better equip decision-makers post-pandemic.

Plan Webinars or Make a “Frequently Asked Questions” Video

If customer service receives the same questions, it might be time to make a FAQ page or video. Additionally, many companies have a separate COVID-19 FAQ page explaining the impacts and responses of the pandemic.

Improve Your Online Reviews Strategy

If you are not utilizing online reviews then now might be a good time to start. Many companies display reviews on the front of their websites in to create a word-of-mouth affect. Instead of being defensive to reviews, now is a good time to use them in your favor.

Evaluate and Enhance Your Digital Marketing | Do a Deep Dive into Your First-Party Data

The pandemic has shown the importance of digital marketing. If your company is behind on the new trend, now is a good time to automate and test it. Digital marketing is cheaper and faster and can target a specific group of interest.

Update Your Hotel’s “Google My Business” for Customers | Update Your Website

Similar to the COVID-19 FAQs update, this point just makes sure all your information is up to date and responsive to COVID. Some companies are losing customers as they are confused about operations. Be proactive and transparent to ensure your consumers and suppliers know what is going on.

Has your company done any preparations for marketing after COVID-19? What aspects of your industry are bound to change? Let me know in the comments below!

Global Marketing

The Monetization of Cross-Cultural Spiritual Influence

Maharishi and The Beatles

The East and the West are inherently different, but are slowly influencing each other in many ways; one of those ways being spiritual.

Eastern influence began to permeate in the 1960s when The Beatles started to follow Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who founded Transcendental Meditation in India. The Beatles liked his philosophy and eventually communicated that philosophy to the world.

Today, Eastern spiritual ideals like meditation and yoga are starting to become commonplace in the West. Naturally, the West has taken its own spin on these traditional practices and has even formed profitable companies on the basis of improving people’s lives through spiritual connection. There are yoga studios like CorePower Yoga that are more fitness-oriented than spiritual, but still founded on Hatha yoga, originated in India. CorePower Yoga used to have statues of Eastern spiritual leaders, like the Buddha, in its studios, but has since taken them out to encourage a more neutral space.

Other companies have seized the opportunity to monetize a meditation practice; companies like Calm, Insight Timer, and Headspace. These apps offer pre-recorded guided meditations, courses, and soothing music for customers that want to have less stress in their lives. The guided meditations range in duration and difficulty level. Beginners might start out with a shorter, heavily guided meditation; whereas advanced practitioners might partake in a longer, lightly guided meditation. These apps offer subscription models, premium options, and individual courses designed to focus in on a specific area (for example, “How To Be A Compassionate Leader” by Lodro Rinzler is a 7 day course in Insight Timer available exclusively for “Member Plus” members for $59.99/year).

Meditation studios are slowly popping up in major metropolitan areas as well. In 2018, Orange County welcomed its first meditation studio in Newport Beach, CA, MDitate. The space is tranquil, the instructors have years of experience guiding people through a spiritual practice, and the intention is set for healing. Other meditation studios, like The Den or Unplug in Los Angeles, are also capitalizing on the people’s need for stress relief.

As the world becomes increasingly stressful, Westerners are tapping into themselves and realizing the benefits of practices like yoga and meditation. As Westerners demand resources to practice these spiritual modalities, companies are responding with platforms and profit.

Is it wrong to capitalize off of practices rooted in Eastern tradition?

Preethaji and Krishnaji are spiritual leaders in India and recently co-authored The Four Sacred Secrets. In the book, Krishnaji says, “Conventionally, a quest for a transformed state is often associated with hippies or with people who are retired from life. It is assumed to be the zone that only those who are disinterested and disillusioned with life choose to enter. Throughout the ages, a transformed state of consciousness has been pursued as an end in itself, but Preethaji and I make a clear distinction in this regard.” He then goes on to list the substantial accomplishments they have made by being spiritual teachers, including founding 5 global businesses and a meditation app.

Monetizing spiritual practice does not immediately equate to diluting or appropriating Eastern spiritual tradition. In fact, monetizing these spiritual practices have had a great deal of influence in positively expanding Western culture.

Would you still meditate or do yoga if you did not have a studio or an app to guide you? Let us know in the comments!

-Cassity Brown

Global Marketing

Branding & Coronavirus

It’s May 2020. The world is in a pandemic because of the COVID-19, coronavirus, outbreak. People all over the world are quarantining in their homes, trying to stay safe and healthy. Some businesses are closed or going under while other businesses are booming (i.e. Target, Amazon, grocery stores alike). There is no end in sight in the United States, prolonging the closures of businesses and the quarantining of shoppers.

How is COVID-19 affecting branding? Are businesses using this as an opportunity to market to an enormous target market (i.e. people struggling in quarantine)? Is that ethical? Are consumers seeing through it?

Car companies are offering payment deferrals of 90 days to 6 months with the purchase of a new car. Food brands are showcasing their charitable efforts on commercials. Telecommunication companies are ensuring people are staying connected. And more.

The Frito Lay commercial shown above is one of the many commercials centered around coronavirus efforts. Some responses praise the company for its altruism, some responses see through the commercial for what it realistically is—an ad for Frito Lay. Perhaps it depends on the perspective of the viewer whether their opinion will be applauding Frito Lay for its good works or shaming it for its humblebrag. The commercial explains that now is not the time for brands to be telling “us” what to do, but rather showing us. It then proceeds to list the several unarguably positive works the brand has done to contribute to the coronavirus pandemic.

This article in Fast Company criticizes the move. This article in Marketing Dive praises the commercial and explains that Frito Lay’s data shows that consumers respond more positively to ads that show what brands are doing rather than brands telling the people what to do. Marketing Dive also noted that consumers believe that brands will make more and quicker impact on COVID-19 relief than the government.

Considering that advertisements are one of the most effective ways to get a brand’s message out, I personally see nothing wrong with showcasing the facts. Even if the intention behind the Frito Lay commercial was to increase good will for the company, that does not negate its good deeds. The world needs more positive news now more than ever. Perhaps consumers are even comforted by the fact that one of their household brands is actively doing what they can do combat coronavirus in its own way.

Is a good deed still a good deed if you make an expensive commercial to tell people about it? Comment your perspective below!

-Cassity Brown

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

2020 Social Media Marketing Trends

A study by SurveyMonkey and Hubspot discovered that social media trends seemed to match across regions, likely due to the globalizing effect of the internet. Here are four global social media trends to pay attention to this year.

1. Short-lived content will continue gaining popularity

Ephemeral content, like stories, have been a huge social media trend in the last few years and 2020 is shaping up to be no different.

Instragram Stories increase audience engagement through interactive stories and polls, giving a voice to your brand. While the dominance of Instagram Stories is prevalent, Facebook Stories are at the same engagement level reaching 500 million daily users.

Interactive Instagram Stories are among the most important social media trends of 2020
Examples of engagement through Instagram Stories

2. Influencer Marketing will narrow focus

Influencer marketing has become so popular that some brands are moving away from traditional methods in favor of creating influencer partnerships. The trend now is to be more selective in influencer selection. In the past, brands paid top dollar for large numbers of followers. Now we are seeing brands connect with nano-influencers who have a smaller following. These tight knit communities are having more meaningful and engaged conversations.

@Sashaspots has an engaged following of 2,400 on her Instagram which focuses on food at local spots in Orlando.

3. Social commerce will expand

Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with social shopping. That, in addition to advancements in advertising capabilities, will continue to increase social commerce. We forecast that social commerce will become a mainstream retail channel on par with websites and offline stores. This trend will continue as social network introduce and improve shoppable posts.

The growth of direct shopping on Instagram is one of the biggest social media trends that will have lasting implications for the platform
An example of shopping on Instagram.

4. Video Content will dominate

Videos are the future of social media content because they are the most engaging. Short-form videos on TikTok or Stories and long-form content on YouTube will both continue to dominate. Cisco forecasts that 82% of online content will be video content by 2022. Brands not currently using videos should start adding them in content strategy or they will be left behind this trend.

What trends do you think will define 2020? Let us know in the comments!

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

How to Create Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement comes from interactions with your social media account. They include reactions, follows, shares, comments, or click-thru's. These metrics are key ways to gauge the impact of content marketing and drive long-term brand favorability.

A clever comparison by Hootsuite labels companies as either a “soap box” or “dinner party.” Soap box brands have a one-way dialogue from the brand to consumers while dinner party brands are all about engagement, especially the small conversations between guests. Dinner party brands have the best level of consumer engagement. Be a dinner party brand.

“Your followers don’t want to talk to a faceless organization. They want to talk to real people on social media. Engaging one-on-one lets them know there’s a real person behind the account, and that can really make a difference in the trust they have for your brand.”

Nick Martin, Hootsuite social engagement specialist

Dinner Party Brand Examples:

Nike created a Twitter account dedicated to customer service in English, Spanish, and French to serve multiple countries.

Netflix has different twitter accounts for regions and spotlights new content released in that region. Considering not all content is shared in multiple regions, this is a great way Netflix localizes content to increase engagement. Each account still keeps a similar tone of humor to match the overall voice of the Netflix brand.

Domino's celebrates cultural differences through its menu offerings and social media, strengthening its international presence.

Ways to Generate Social Media Engagement

Define Your Goals

What do you want your followers to gain through their online interaction with your brand? The “dinner party” brands referenced above have different goals. Some goals to consider include:

  • Create or change brand perception (Netflix)
  • Find and/or nurture leads
  • Offer promotions (Domino's)
  • Providing product information to move customers through the purchase funnel
  • Obtain product or campaign feedback
  • Provide customer support (Nike)

Know Your Audience to Share Valuable Content with Them

To start, spend time researching your customer's needs and desires. Every customer has a problem. How do they use social media to solve their problems? Your audience will dictate the frequency of posts, messaging, and content to share. You just need to listen to them!

Also pay attention to topical and trending events that resonate with your customers. These will be top of mind for your customers already so they will instantly connect with your content. However, use caution to make sure the topics or trends are in the correct brand voice.

Engagement Time!

Reactive engagement includes responding to customers who direct message, comment, or mention your business.

  • Decide the circumstances you will respond and be consistent.
  • Determine the best way to pass along messages to different internal departments.
  • Define a workflow for incoming messages.

Proactive engagement involves searching for indirect comments about your brand or relevant conversations. This can be very helpful for creating buzz for a product launch or campaign. Twitter is an essential social listening tool used by brands to proactively influence brand perception.

  • Determine guidelines for engaging with opportunities.
  • Look at Netflix or other best practices to learn about proactive engagement.

Track Your Progress

Each platform has different metrics that can be used to track audience engagement. As you get started, establish benchmarks for each platform to measure your content's impact. This will ensure brand messaging is tied to something more tangible and constantly improving in quality.

Global Marketing

Netflix and Criminal: a localization experiment

If you're one of the many quarantined souls who have been shamelessly binge-watching TV shows on Netflix, you might enjoy this blog post.

You might have noticed that Netflix has been kicking it out of the park for the past few years, releasing successful original TV shows, movies, documentaries and comedy shows. By 2017, Netflix was operating in over 190 countries, with approximately 73 million subscribers residing outside of the U.S.

Given that Netflix was facing strong competition in foreign markets, the company did not have the first-mover advantage in countries like Germany and India, where local-language video content appealed more to the local communities. As such, Netflix needed to establish a local presence, and resorted to extreme localization in its product offerings and marketing efforts. In 2016, Netflix released its first ever Portuguese-language Netflix Original Series, 3%, and in 2017, the first ever German language Netflix original series, Dark, was released, with the latter gaining worldwide popularity and commendation (a must watch!).

According to Netflix's Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, customer preferences are considered at the top of the list, and Netflix is known to respond strongly to these preferences, in order to create content that will appeal to the local communities.

Let's take a look at Criminal: a crime anthology series which focuses predominantly on suspect interrogation, thus creating a story line around it. Criminal is unique in the TV show's extreme localization to fit four distinct markets: France, UK, Spain and Germany.

“Criminal”, the franchise trailer

The franchise trailer for Criminal was released in September of 2019, and features a myriad of characters, with several conversing in different languages from one take to another. That's because each of the four local series were written and performed in the country's native language, featuring native actors. The U.K. edition opens with David Tennant, who is playing a doctor accused of sexually abusing and murdering his step-daughter.

David Tennant in Criminal: UK

However, the German version story line is based on two men who each grew up on either sides of the Berlin Wall, touching on crucial changes that Germany saw after East and West were reunited.

Sylvester Groth in Criminal: Germany

Although the sets and TV show format are structured similarly, cultural signifiers are what made them stand out and become well-received in each local market. The stories behind each character are what resonated with the audience, with Netflix showing an up-close and personal understanding of each culture.

Given that the four “versions” are radically different, why did Netflix release a franchise trailer, instead of pushing out local trailers to each audience?

My take on it is that Netflix is trying to encourage English-speaking viewers to be open to watching content in other languages, especially given the resounding success of movies like Parasite, or TV shows like La Casa De Papel (Money Heist). American viewers can very well begin watching the UK version of Criminal, and transition to any of the other foreign-language shows, while knowing what to expect.

Do you think Netflix should have advertised and promoted Criminal differently? Let us know in the comments below!

-Maria Khalil