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Is a disconnect between insight and creative damaging your brand and costing you money?

In an ideal world, your campaign planning goes something like this – global strategy followed by market research and insight analysis to validate your ideas at a local level. Then, having defined your local strategy, teams come up with concepts that are tested in-market to check the messaging hits the mark before developing creative assets. As a final check, key images and taglines undergo creative validation and cultural checks before launch.

In an ideal world, your campaign planning goes something like this – global strategy followed by market research and insight analysis to validate your ideas at a local level. Then, having defined your local strategy, teams come up with concepts that are tested in-market to check the messaging hits the mark before developing creative assets. As a final check, key images and taglines undergo creative validation and cultural checks before launch.

When outlined like this, these simple steps read like a formula for success, but you would be surprised at how many brands go off course. The result? A disconnect between insight and creative that risks damaging brand reputation and costing money. Here, we look at how marketers can close this gap by getting to know target audiences, effectively localising global campaigns for local markets and developing tried-and-tested creative.

Understand customer wants and needs

For your campaign to align with diverse cultural and social sensitivities, consider each market with fresh eyes. While the overarching brand strategy should be the same in terms of your brand mission, it needs to be re-examined locally in light of the market context.

Extensive in-market research is required to validate the creative idea and the tactics deployed to bring the brand message to market. Whether you use your own local teams or a global creative production partner who can help with in-market research, collecting learnings and testing is a crucial step towards global campaign success.

Handle creative development – making global, local

One of the biggest challenges facing marketers? Maintaining global campaign consistency while achieving local relevance. That’s why creative teams must fully understand the overall and in-market strategy. Whether you localise your global campaign in-house or trust a partner agency to adapt your campaign, localisation and smart implementation are essential to rolling out global creative that resonates wherever it lands.

Consider including localisation guidelines within your brand guidelines, which should cover how the brand works with different alphabets or longer foreign languages and how the logo and brand elements should fit within a different layout. For example, in Arabic markets, visuals are flipped as the copy reads from right to left. In addition, localisation guidelines should include clear directions on acceptable imagery, as aesthetics differ depending on the culture.

 

It’s all about effective campaign planning 

Connect insight and creative through a global-to-local campaign timeline that includes the following stages:

  1. Global strategy: outline your global vision and overall strategy
  2. Market research: verify your global strategy on a local level by conducting thorough in-market research
  3. Insight analysis: analyse the data collated in your market research and consult local teams and experts
  4. Local strategy: use the findings from your data to define a local targeted strategy
  5. Kick-off meeting: brief all partners on your overall global strategy and local targeted strategy and define campaign timelines
  6. Media planning and buying: media teams negotiate media placements in-market
  7. Concepting stage: creative teams come up with concepts that meet local market requirements
  8. In-market concept testing: check which creative routes perform better in which markets
  9. Creative development: once an approach is approved, creative teams develop key visuals
  10. Creative validation and cultural check: key visuals are checked and approved by in-market experts
  11. Collate master toolkit: this is a limited set of reference assets that will be adapted and localised across all of your markets and media placements
  12. Copy localisation: once the master toolkit is final and approved, copy is briefed for localisation
  13. Localised copy validation: in-market experts approve
  14. Adaptation: the master toolkit is adapted as per local specifications, using the approved localised copy
  15. Localised asset validation: local approver reviews the copy in situ – in other words – within the asset
  16. Clearance: clear ads with local advertising authorities or channels before being aired
  17. Trafficking and delivery: send localised assets to local publishers, either from production teams to local publishers directly or via a media partner
  18. Campaign wrap-up: the purpose of this meeting is for all stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and agree on the next steps.

 

Mapping out the process will enable you to identify approval slots so that you can line up your internal teams to approve creatives or localised assets at different stages of the campaign process – all while keeping the insights gathered during the market research stage front of mind. This way, you can ensure your local creative fulfils your original visions.

Remember, timings play a vital role in campaign plans and budgets – and failing to stick to deadlines is just one of the ways marketers can fail to keep costs under control. Allow plenty of time for each stage, with sufficient buffers allocated for feedback, amends to the copy or imagery and answer any local clearance and regulation questions.

If you want to organise your global marketing model to help your budgets go further and avoid a disconnect between insights and creative, please feel free to get in touch.

Freedman International is a leading insight-driven localisation agency with over 30 years' experience helping global marketers build their brands internationally. With an end-to-end service offering, from providing in-depth local cultural insights, through to creative adaptation, transcreation and production of campaign assets, Freedman ensures that global communications resonate with local audiences and are effective in every market.