Just a few weeks ago, we looked at the ins-and-outs of Facebook's new Global Pages -- a platform for brands to easily share region-specific content with international markets. Dankeschön, Facebook. No longer is global reach reserved for deep-pocketed brands, nor is it an incredible hassle for already over-burdened social media and community managers.
In fact, a global presence is possible for any business with a creative strategy and an understanding of world markets. To give you an idea of what a great global marketing strategy looks like, we've compiled some brands that totally "get it." Take a look at ten companies which have traveled successfully across the globe with their marketing!
Airbnb is the Craigslist of apartment rentals. The company, launched in 2008 out of San Francisco, has taken its national service to 192 countries for users to rent short-term apartments from other users. How did this start-up grow up so quickly? Unlike Craigslist, Airbnb has a fun, more user-friendly website that showcases the brand's transparent, trusting personality. The website is now available in 21 languages with consistent information, style, and personality to appeal to like-minded users across cultures. Notice the carryover between this page, for example:
And this page:
You're looking at Airbnb's mobile app page in both German and English. The brand tailored the headline to fit the language: in English, it reads '...at your fingertips' but in German it reads '...on your cellphone' using the less formal term for cellphone, 'Handy'. The brand tweaks its content to best suit the culture, but it's still obvious which brand you're interacting with regardless of language. And I think this global focus is working -- in 2011, Airbnb rentals in Italy saw a 946% increase and the UK at 748%. The company also opened 9 overseas offices in the past 4 years to accomodate its growing global presence. Having a strong, consistent voice across languages is a key factor when going global.
Some companies may not be trying to attract global markets directly, but if their clients are, they better know how. Rezdy is an Australian-based reservation software designed to make online booking smoother for tourists and agents alike, a valuable tool when over 60% of travellers make reservations online. Though Rezdy's clients are Australian-based, they need to cater to their clients' international visitors. Click on the screen shot to check out this fun video on Rezdy's homepage:
The first feature the video spotlights is 'Internationalisation.' The video walks us through how easy the service is for users, but is sure to emphasize the language and currency customization tool upfront. Even if your company is marketing to other regional companies, consider their global customers as if they were your own.
3) World Wildlife Foundation
WWF took its Earth Hour initiative, a voluntary worldwide event where participants turn off their lights for an hour to show how easy it can be to battle climate change, and brought it to Norway's mobile audience (1 in 4 Norwegians have 3G mobile access).
Scandanavian countries like Norway experience extreme daylight hours throughout seasons, making the country ready for WWF's Blackout campaign. Using digital agency Mobiento, the nonprofit placed the Blackout Banner across Norway's top media sites to promote Earth Hour. With one tap of the banner, the screen went black. Finger swiping the black screen slowly revealed the Earth Hour countdown. The banner attracted roughly 1,000,000 impressions and the campaign received three 2012 MMA Global Mobile Marketing Awards.
Case: Black out rich media banner for WWF Earth Hour from Mobiento.
Have a cool idea? Don't be afraid to try it out on one international market -- just make sure it's the appropriate audience. Also, don't be afraid of the dark.
The UK-based condom manufacturer is number one in the industry with 34% market share across 130 countries. Sure, sex sells, but how does Durex sell such a taboo product in foreign countries? All jokes aside, Durex is sure to play it safe. The company developed an internal platform for its marketers from different countries to connect and discuss the brand's presence overseas.
Anna Valle, head of global marketing for Durex, said of the online community, "It will help us to share the global vision, to engage, and be more consistent." Discussion among marketers fuels localized campaigns with an overarching brand personality -- risque. For example, check out this recent image Durex shared on Sina Weibo after President Obama had been re-elected. (Fair warning: if you don't like raunchy and/or political humor, don't click.) 12 hours after being posted, the image was forwarded 43,000 times with over 12,000 comments.
5) Pearse Trust
With offices in Dublin, London, Vancouver, and Atlanta, Pearse Trust has grown to be a global authority on corporate and trust structures. But it takes more than offices all over the map to reach an international audience. That's why Pearse Trust keeps content flowing on its Facebook page that engages its various markets. In this screenshot below, you can see Pearse Trust posts daily content featuring international affairs relating to the company's practice.
Within 3 days, Pearse Trust made daily Facebook posts, leveling out external articles with Pearse Trust content, featuring news from Germany, Ireland (where they have a Dublin office), and the UK (where they have a London office). This is a great example of focusing on common interests shared among your company's various markets while making the content relateable to customers by region.
We all know it's a successul global brand, so unlike their menu, I'll keep it light. While keeping its overarching branding consistent, Mcdonald's practices 'glocal' marketing efforts. No, that's not a typo. McDonald's brings a local flavor, literally, to different countries with region-specific menu items. In 2003, McDonald's introduced the McArabia, a flatbread sandwich, to its restaurants in the Middle East.
You can also find the McVeggie in India or the EBI-Fillet-O shrimp burger in Japan. This glocal approach has helped put McDonald's at #7 on Interbrand's Best Global Brands 2012.
7) Innocent Drinks
Innocent Drinks is the leading smoothie company in the UK with 75% of the market share in 2011 -- additionally, Innocent products are now available in 13 countries across Europe. The company is known to have "chatty branding"; for instance, the website is very bubbly with contact information that reads "call the bananaphone" or "visit the Fruit Towers."
The brand won the #1 spot on Headstream's Social Brands 100 for its entertaining and playful online presence. Headstream attributes Innocent's online success to keeping the brand's personality in tact across 13 countries. "Key to Innocent's success," they said, "has been a consistent tone of voice -- one that's natural, honest, and engaging -- making social activity feel like a natural extension of the company's personality."
Global expansion and rapid growth can sometimes distract a company from consistent branding. As marketers, we need to be sure our brand's voice is interpreted the same way around the world.
8) Unger and Kowitt
The phrase 'glocal' can be defined as "Think Globally, Act Locally." But what happens when you switch the two around? Woah, fasten your seatbelts -- literally. Unger and Kowitt is a traffic ticket law firm based in Fort Lauderdale defending drivers in the state of Florida. Not very global, right? Well, Unger and Kowitt understands that America is a melting pot and that Florida is bursting at the seams with different cultures and languages.
Though a domestic service, the firm's website is available in English, Spanish, Portugese, and Creole. With these options, Unger and Kowitt can cater to Florida's nearly 3.5 million Floridians who speak Spanish, Portugese, or Creole. Don't miss out on expanding your client base -- sometimes you don't have to look far to attract international business.
Coca-Cola is a great example of a brand using glocal marketing efforts. Though a large corporation, Coca-Cola focuses on small community programs and invests a lot of time and money in small-scale charity efforts. For example, in Egypt, Coca-Cola has built 650 clean water installations in the rural village of Beni Suef and sponsors Ramadan meals for children across the Middle East. In India, the brand sponsors the Support My School initiative to improve facilities at local schools. Not to mention, the brand sticks with selling an emotion that can't get lost in translation: happiness. Now, tell me this doesn't look like fun:
Ten points at #10 for Results.com, a business execution firm with offices in New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. This global company knows the importance of delivering on your promise, no matter how far that delivery may take you. On the website, Results.com says "We have global influence" and can provide "face to face consulting to companies from around the world."
Results.com does, in fact, bring face to face consulting to its customers. The company is bringing John Spence, marketing consultant and guru, from Florida to New Zealand in March 2013 to share his ideas with CEOs and business managers in the region. Since November 2010, the company's website traffic has increased by 180%. I wouldn't be surprised if events like this are generating buzz down under!
What other brands out there do a great job with their global marketing?
Image Credit: caruba