Global marketing is no longer reserved for brands with deep pockets, nor is it a hassle for marketing managers who handle all marketing efforts.
A global presence is possible for any business with a creative strategy and an understanding of world markets. Let's go over what a good global marketing strategy looks like and the best examples worldwide.
What is global marketing?
Global marketing entails packaging your products to meet a universal marketplace's needs and preferences. It involves creating, consolidating, positioning, and promoting your products and services, focusing on global consumers.
Global marketing isn't a new concept. Established companies like Coca-Cola have been using this strategy to reach their international consumers for decades.
With the invention of social media, websites, and other online advertising agencies, global marketing has become very easy. Both small and large businesses can use this approach to broaden their consumer base.
This marketing approach requires strategies to help you master the global markets and connect with the consumer in the most acceptable way.
That starts with proper new marketing research to understand who your consumers are, the countries they're from, what form of your products or services appeal more to them, and the best approach that will work for them.
The marketing process may also require localizing your brand to reflect the needs and desires of the people the strategy means to reach.
With that said, localization is critical for every global marketing plan. Some brands opt for a global standardization strategy, meaning it’s the same for everyone.
The Global Marketing Playbook
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Global Standardization Strategy
A global standardization strategy refers to the ability to use standardized marketing messaging and campaigns across markets, countries, and cultures.
The world's biggest brands, such as Adidas and Coca-Cola, use a global standardization strategy to create a consistent brand experience across regions and languages.
The experience and imagery are virtually the same regardless of where you visit those brands.
In contrast to localization, where there's a more differentiated marketing approach to each market, global standardization provides significant cost benefits. This approach requires less messaging and fewer campaigns.
However, the key is to know when a global standardization strategy will be effective. You'll need to research whether customers use or think about your products differently depending on their market.
A global standardization approach is practical if there's no difference between the usage and understanding from country to country.
Choosing localization or global standardization is one aspect of creating a great global marketing strategy.
To give you an idea of what a great global marketing strategy looks like, we've compiled a list of brands that totally "get it."
From adapting their social strategies to translate across multiple languages to adjusting their menus to appeal to the cravings of a diverse group of people, these brands are taking positive steps toward creating a solid presence across the globe.
So, if you're looking for inspiration to craft a successful international marketing strategy and expand your business's reach, check out these examples from the world's most successful companies.
Global Marketing Strategies
- Red Bull
- Dunkin Donuts
- World Wildlife Foundation
- Pearse Trust
- Innocent Drinks
- Traffic Ticket Clinic
Austrian company Red Bull does a great job with global marketing that many Americans assume it's a local brand. How?
One of its most successful tactics is to host extreme sports events all over the world. From the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix to the Red Bull Air Race in the United Kingdom to the Red Bull Soapbox Race in Jordan, the brand's powerful event marketing strategy takes them here, there, and everywhere.
Aside from events, Red Bull's packaging also plays a part in its global appeal.
Red Bull has maintained its packaging for over the 32 years it has existed. All the efforts have paid back, with the brand ranking at the top of the U.S. energy drinks in 2021.
How to Imitate Red Bull's Strategy
For smaller brands, reaching Red Bull's level of international awareness might seem out of reach, but you can adopt the brand's strategy by offering one notable product. Then, keep the packaging the same no matter where you distribute it.
You can also host virtual events across different time zones and regions.
Airbnb, a community marketplace for people to list and book accommodations worldwide, was founded in 2008 out of San Francisco, California.
Since then, Airbnb has grown to 7+ million listings in 34,000+ cities worldwide. A significant contributor to the company's explosive global success? Its video campaign titled "Made Possible by Hosts."
Airbnb launched the campaign to bring its worldwide community of hosts and guests closer in the wake of COVID-19. The company referred to the campaign as a way to highlight "the magical experiences hosts bring to guests."
To create the campaign, Airbnb took real videos and photographs of guests and put them in a video to create the "sense of nostalgia" we feel when we travel.
Over 3 million people have engaged, created content, or talked about the campaign. Just one of its videos has over 3.5 million views.
How to Imitate Airbnb's Strategy
Airbnb is inherently an international brand. Even if you identify as a more local brand, there are ways to globalize your efforts.
First, bring the focus to different customers in different regions when you create a testimonial or case study. You can also ask your international customers to contribute a photo or video of your product in use and feature that in your social media content.
National Donut Day happens every year in June. While we get our hands dirty with a Boston creme (or two) here in the States, Dunkin Donuts China serves up a fresh batch of dry pork and seaweed donuts.
With over 3,200 stores in 36 countries outside of the U.S., Dunkin Donuts has evolved its menu to satisfy the sweet tooth of its global customers.
From Korea's Grapefruit Coolatta to Lebanon's Mango Chocolate Donut to Russia's Dunclairs, it's clear that Dunkin Donuts isn't afraid to celebrate cultural differences to strengthen its international presence.
How to Imitate Dunkin Donuts Strategy
If you run a restaurant business, Dunkin Donut's strategy should draw plenty of inspiration.
To globalize your restaurant brand, try to serve regional or cultural menu items during special holidays for those cultures and regions.
You don't necessarily have to expand to international regions first. However, if it's financially viable, opening new locations or launching regional websites can help you become a global brand.
Similar to Dunkin Donuts, Domino's has prioritized menu innovation to increase international interest and awareness.
By attempting to gain a better understanding of the preferences of the markets it's trying to break into, Domino's can deliver pies diverse enough to gain international attention.
How to Imitate Domino's Strategy
Domino's strategy is another you'll want to use as inspiration if you run a restaurant business. Try to invite chefs from different cultures and regions, then have them cook your menu items in their regional style and with regional ingredients.
Highlight the chefs in your social media profiles. By doing so, you'll show your followers in those regions that they're also top-of-mind, expanding your global reach.
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.
Though Rezdy's clients are Australian-based, the company needs to cater to its clients' international visitors. Its homepage says it works for operators and agents in over 100 countries.
The service is used globally, with hundreds of personalization options for the tool's time zone, language, and currency. Rezdy's website and marketing collateral are in English, so they cater to English-speaking tour operators, particularly in Australia, the U.K., and North America.
They know their customers' target audience is in other countries abroad, so they emphasize the tool's internationalization capabilities.
How to Imitate Rezdy's Strategy
Rezdy effectively globalizes its services by considering that its customers' target audience will be in other countries. Even if your company is marketing to other regional companies, consider their global customers as if they were your own.
If your product, tool, or software can be used abroad in various applications, add that to your marketing collateral — even if you operate regionally.
The World Wildlife Fund takes the literal approach to global marketing by having hundreds of offices worldwide, each with highly localized goals for each region.
It goes global every year with 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.
The World Wildlife Fund promoted its Earth Hour event in Norway. Scandinavian countries like Norway experience extreme daylight hours in different seasons, making the country a prime candidate for WWF's Earth Hour campaign.
Using the digital agency, Mobiento, the non-profit placed the Earth Hour Banner across Norway's top media sites to promote the event. 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 6.7 billion impressions worldwide in 2021.
How to Imitate WWF's Strategy
WWF has hundreds of offices that make it easier for the non-profit to go global, but thanks to the internet, it's easier than ever to connect with international audiences, especially for a certain initiative launch, like Earth Hour.
If you have a cool idea, don't be afraid to try it out on one international market—just ensure it's the appropriate audience. (Also, don't be afraid of the dark).
With offices in Dublin, London, Vancouver, Atlanta, and Wellington, Pearse Trust has become an international authority on corporate and trust structures. However, it takes more than offices all over the map to reach an international audience.
That's why Pearse Trust keeps content flowing on its blog that engages its various markets. In the screenshot above, you can see Pearse Trust posts a lot of content featuring international affairs relating to the company's practice.
It also levels out external articles with Pearse Trust content, featuring news from places like Germany, Ireland (where it has a Dublin office), and the U.K. (where it has a London office).
How to Imitate Pearse Trust's Strategy
This is an excellent example of focusing on common interests shared among your company's various markets while making the content relatable to customers by region.
Globalizing your marketing can be as simple as creating content that caters to different target audiences in different regions.
Nike has strengthened its global presence by carefully selecting international sponsorships, such as its previous long-standing relationship with Manchester United.
Although sponsorship spending can be pretty unpredictable — demand costs tend to surge due to triggers like championships and tournaments — these partnerships have helped the brand capture the attention of a global audience.
Nike's "Nike by You" co-creation platform serves as another strategy to appeal to international markets. By putting the power of design into the hands of the consumer, Nike can deliver customized products that align with different cultural preferences and styles.
How to Imitate Nike's Strategy
Partner with other brands, influencers, and ambassadors in your international target markets. Choose them carefully. For instance, Manchester United is a prominent cultural force in the U.K., which helped Nike grow in that country.
If you sell a consumer product, why not give the option for your audience to customize — and resell — the products as well? You'll end up capturing a much larger audience, and consumers from different regions will capture their region's preferences and tastes much better.
We all know McDonald's is a successful global brand. While keeping its overarching branding consistent, McDonald's practices "glocal" marketing efforts.
No, that's not a typo. McDonald's brings a local flavor to different countries with region-specific menu items. For instance, McDonald's offers McArabia, a flatbread sandwich, in its restaurants in the Middle East.
McDonald's has also introduced macaroons to its French menu.
And added McSpaghetti to its menu in the Philippines.
No matter what, there's something to learn from the giant.
How to Imitate McDonald's Strategy
Like the other restaurant examples on this list, opening restaurants in other regions may be the first and most natural answer.
If that's not feasible, especially if you run a regional brand, celebrate the flavors of the world by hosting an "International Day" and posting about it on your website.
This approach will get you on the radar of those who enjoy those foods daily and help you spread the word in other markets.
Innocent Drinks is the leading smoothie company in the U.K., but that's not the only place you'll find its products. Innocent products are now available in 15 countries across Europe.
And despite its widespread reach, the company's welcoming branding remains consistent across the board.
For instance, the website is very bubbly, with contact information that prompts the viewer to "call on the banana phone" or "pop by Fruit Towers," the name of its corporate office.
While global expansion and rapid growth can sometimes distract a company from consistent branding, Innocent Drinks has remained true to itself.
By ensuring that the brand's voice is interpreted the same way worldwide, Innocent can create a more recognizable brand.
How to Imitate Innocent Drink's Strategy
Stay true to your brand voice even as you expand to other markets. Innocent Drinks is immediately likable because of its tone on its website and social media. Friendliness makes you feel more approachable—and thus more accessible to a global audience.
Plus, if your brand is consistent across the board, audiences across regions won't feel like they're getting cheated out of everything your brand can offer.
The phrase "glocal" can be defined as "Think Globally, Act Locally." But what happens when you switch the two around?
Traffic Ticket Clinic is a traffic ticket law firm that defends drivers in the state of Florida. Not very global, right? Well, the Traffic Ticket Clinic understands 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 and Spanish. With those options, Traffic Ticket Clinic can cater to Florida's nearly 4.4 million Floridians who speak Spanish. Don't miss out on expanding your client base—sometimes, you don't have to look far to attract business.
How to Imitate Traffic Ticket Clinic's Strategy
One of the easiest ways to begin global marketing is by offering your website in different languages. If you own a WordPress website, you can use a translation plugin.
But remember: Look at your target market first to determine the best languages you should offer on your site. For instance, don't offer Swahili if you don't serve East Africa.
Coca-Cola is an excellent example of a brand that's well-known for its international marketing efforts. Though a large corporation, Coca-Cola focuses on community programs and invests 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. The brand sticks with selling an emotion that can't get lost in translation: happiness.
How to Imitate Coca-Cola's Strategy
Try to promote your values in your marketing efforts by investing in communities worldwide. You can start small, such as with a yearly sponsorship or recurring donation, and then work your way up to launching a charity effort on the ground.
Try to appeal to a universal human feeling as well. If you're a marketer at a hospital, you might appeal to grief and hope in a 1-minute video about a hospital visit.
These are feelings that transcend countries and languages, automatically helping you reach a global audience.
Spotify is one of the best global companies, according to Interbrand. We've all heard of Spotify (no pun intended), but how did it suddenly, and so quickly, expand from Sweden into other countries?
Spotify's business model is focused on helping you find something new.
It's one thing to select a genre of music to listen to—it's another thing to choose a "mood" to listen to. On Spotify's "Browse" page, you can listen to "country" and "hip-hop" but also to the music that caters to your "workout" or "sleep" preferences.
By changing how they describe their content, Spotify satisfies habits and lifestyles that people share worldwide. That allows international artists to access listeners from other countries simply because their products are categorized differently.
Spotify now has offices in more than fifteen countries around the world.
How to Imitate Spotify's Strategy
Spotify's example is a winner because its global marketing strategy is entirely product-based. It offers music, podcasts, and media in so many languages. The audiences in those countries couldn't help but start using the product.
If your product lends itself to that, try featuring items or products that appeal to people from different regions and countries.
2023 Global Marketing Trends
With 2022 ending, the only thing that has remained constant in the global marketing sphere is change. Here are some global marketing trends to watch in 2023.
- Many brands are working for a more explicit purpose and personification.
- More bands are adopting User-Generated Content (UGC) marketing strategies.
- Improving the entire consumer experience is an excellent way to beat the competition and encourage users to engage with your business.
- Video remains the most significant in marketing strategy.
- Answer-based content marketing improves user engagement and helps with SEO.
Start Global Marketing in Small Steps
Suppose you have global aspirations for your business. In that case, you need to find out what customers in different communities have in common—and how to localize your product for these different markets.
Your first step? Take inspiration from one of the businesses above. Start small, then work your way up as your business grows.