Does your brand communicate locally and internationally?

glocalization Midas.jpg

Your brand represents your company. Beyond your underlying product or service, your brand gives your company a distinctive character. Your message, your philosophy, your ideals. So, you would think that it stands to reason that your brand should transcend borders and cultures as you participate in a global economy. It should, but that depends on how you communicate your brand.

Are you sure that those iconic images and catchy taglines you created to define your brand will be understood in every market? Do you rely on straight translations a la Google Translate, or do you adapt your messaging to match?

Are you truly a local brand?

You may argue that your target market is a local or regional one. So, why do you have to care about how your brand communicates beyond your intended audience?

This is a fair argument, but have you considered, how local is local? Even the most isolated regions are being exposed to the rest of the world. Red Bull, once just an energy drink for long haul truck drivers in Thailand, is now an international brand with a Formula 1 team. There are images from the deepest parts of the Amazon of children wearing t-shirts with Coca-Cola logos.

But, if you really don’t care how your brand is perceived and consumed beyond your neighborhood, city, country, then maybe this article does not apply to you. However, if you care about your brand’s reputation and would like one day to enter new markets, then how your brand is communicated beyond your borders is vital.

Old Red Bull Ad and Redbull Formula 1 car

Old Red Bull Ad and Redbull Formula 1 car


Go global, but think local with your brand

You’ve crafted your branding to tell a compelling story about your product or service. You could be speaking to universal truths like family values or trustworthiness or even fun, but how you convey them will determine your brand’s impact and success.

Even in the most local of markets, there may be cultural diversities and nuances that you may need to consider. While the fundamentals of life may be the same – we all laugh, cry, eat, drink, share, love – different cultures may understand or express them differently. And to add another challenge, cultures can be in flux, where habits change and where acceptance may vary. For example, where public displays of affection between couples in some cultures had been completely taboo, there is now some places where this is more acceptable. So, showing a man and woman holding hands to represent your brand’s love and caring may not get the reception you expect.

Being culturally sensitive shouldn’t dilute your brand

While some may suggest that globalization means that there is a growing homogeneity regarding how concepts are understood, there is another growing trend towards “glocalization”. This is a concept championed by Roland Robertson which argues that globalization includes the need to understand and integrate local languages and cultures for successful communication.

Whether you’re a newcomer trying to establish your brand name or a well-established international concern, you should always be aware of your audience. You must tailor your message to speak to your target, but without losing any meaning in translation. And this goes beyond words.

PROI ASEAN has the global expertise and local knowledge for your brand

Understanding the impact of words, imagery, even colors, can go a long way to adapting your branding to suit any culture, any language, or any audience.

The same can be said for the diverse and complex ASEAN region; entering businesses must have a deep understanding of Southeast Asia’s subtleties and nuances before engaging their market.

This is where PROI ASEAN comes in.

By working with other agencies who are part of a wide, reputable network, we are able to create campaigns at the regional level. Our local partners help companies plan and implement communications initiatives that are not only culturally and politically appropriate, but resonant to local audiences.

Marco Rafael