By Robert W. Bradford, President & CEO
This post is part of a series taken from Robert Bradford’s article Understanding the Competitive Value of your Brand published in Compass Points September 2005. In Part One, we introduced the series and discussed What makes a brand valuable? In Part Two, we will discuss Why branding is important in the global marketplace.
Why branding is important in the global marketplace
In an increasingly global market, branding can serve two distinct functions that may be useful to you: first, a “local” brand gives you an entrenched customer base that is more difficult (and expensive) to displace, and second, a “global” brand can give you a foot in the door when seeking to enter new geographic areas. Be forewarned: building a “global” brand is expensive, and often a “local” brand can be just as costly. Even so, the brand can be a useful offensive tool and defensive tool when you are competing with non-local companies.
There is one reason why “local” brands can be more cost-effective, and a good tool for defending your home turf from foreign competition: brand success is built upon three critical factors:
- Understanding the key values in the mind of your customer
- Knowing how to put the customer’s values into your product or service
- Effectively associating your brand with those values
Two of these factors, understanding your customer and associating your brand with values, are very much defined by culture. Thus, someone from outside your culture – and this could even be someone who speaks the same language from a different region – will find it much more difficult to get an accurate read on what your customer’s key values are, and how to convince the customer that his product or service embodies those values. This is not saying that a foreign competitor cannot do this – just that it’s a lot more expensive and difficult.
In the next post of this series, we will discuss How to evaluate your brand.
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