Big brands mix local, global approaches

By Elaine Wong


In today’s increasingly digital age, big brands must learn to market both globally and locally. That was the key take-away from Friday’s “Managing Global Brands in the 21st Century” panel.
  Scott Anderson, vp, customer communications for Hewlett-Packard, said one challenge is balancing a brand’s global and corporate strategy with local nuances while ensuring that the overall message is not fragmented.
  “Consumers are creating the brand as much as you are,” added Alex Roth, manager of global brand operations at ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing.
  The session, moderated by Rapp New York managing director Terry Young, offered tips for successfully walking the local-global tightrope.

  Like many marketers in the packaged-goods industry, Anderson advised staying close to one’s consumer base, lest messages come to be viewed as “complete B.S.” by the audience. Marketers must also learn to make sense of the research and insights they collect; otherwise, they’re just “showered” with information without knowing how to best use it in the marketplace, he said. Often, it’s best to give local sales and marketing teams the tools and materials they need to do their job, allowing them to channel regional and local insights when honing messages, Anderson said.
  Ideas about the “influencer model” and word-of-mouth advocates have begun to change. HP, for example, not only reaches out to reporters, bloggers and analysts, but to those they deem knowledgeable experts that contribute frequently and meaningfully to the conversation. Exxon’s Roth agreed, saying: “We used to have a very narrow view of who an opinion leader was,” but that’s not the case any longer.