Monday, August 30, 2004

Global Branding Strategy

According to Douglas B. Holt, John A. Quelch, and Earl L. Taylor (HBR September 2004) it's time to rethink your global branding strategy.

Many corporations are following hybrid globalization approaches (striving for global scale on backstage activities such as technology, production, and organization, but customizing product features, communications, distribution, and selling techniques to local consumer tastes). Global brands have been under siege of antiglobalization protests. The reaction of most transnational companies has been to try to fly below the radar.

But global brands shouldn't try to escape notice. Many consumers are awed by the political power of companies that have sales greater than the GDPs of small nations and that have a powerful impact on people's lives as well as the welfare of communities, nations, and the planet itself. Not surprisingly, consumers ascribe certain characteristics to global brands and use those attributes as criteria while making purchase decisions.

A survey turned out that consumers predominantly base purchasing preferences on three characteristics dimensions of global brands:
- Quality Signal
- Global Myth
- Social Responsibility

Holt, Quelch and Taylor recommend transnational companies strive for superiority on these global characteristics, besides 'working the basics' like the brand's price, performance, features, and imagery.

Monday, August 23, 2004

UK: Big increase in concern for corporate reputations

R has become more important as a barometer of company health in recent years in the UK, according to MORI's annual Captains of Industry survey. In 2003, 48% of CEOs, chairmen and senior board members of the FTSE's top 500 companies spontaneously mentioned image and R as the main criteria they use to judge a company - ahead of indicators such as financial performance and product/service quality.

This marks a big shift from 1983, when only 8% of company leaders showed concern for R.

'What has changed is businesses now take a much wider view of their operations, and they think and serve a broader community,' says Liz Hewitt, group corporate affairs director at FTSE 100 medical device maker Smith & Nephew. She explains that the so-called captains have to consider the needs of a wider range of stakeholders than their counterparts in 1983 did, a group that spans customers, suppliers, employees, trade groups, shareholders and government. R is of concern to all interest groups.
Weber Shandwick UK & Ireland chief executive Colin Byrne says CEOs have picked up on R because they see a definite link to the more traditional benchmarks of long-term financial performance, ability to attract and retain the best staff, and customer approval.
Hill & Knowlton MD of corporate comms Stuart Wilson believes it is corporate governance scandals, such as those involving Parmalat, Enron and Shell, that have left boardrooms shaken, while rocketing corporate R up the agenda.
Interesting, don't you think: 3 different explanations for a single phenomena.
View the Survey