Advanced Brand Strategy Masterclass – Week Seven – Global Branding

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by: Idris Mootee

one is long overdue and I apologize for the delay. Between airports,
clients meetings and running workshops there is not much time left.
This is the last of the series and next week we will conclude our
masterclass. This week we will focus on global branding, I remember we
did touch on this subject during week two and three, so we can now
revisit this again.

While many
consumer goods markets in the Europe and North America are stagnating,
65% of the world’s population is living in societies that are
experiencing economic growth of 5% or more a year. While the baby boom
occurred between 1945 and 1960 in the US, much of the rest of the world
is still experiencing a baby boom that began in 1975. The average
person has seen his or her standard of living double in the past 15
years, far surpassing that of the US or Western Europe. Put very
simply, the majority of the growth potential in consumer markets exists
outside of the US and Western Europoe.

Here’s an excellent piece by John Quelch, Prof Quelch is the Senior
Associate Dean and at Harvard Business School where he taught markeitng
for decades. I remembered one time when he was lecturing he presented a
marketing positioning diagram of the royal family members, it was
hilarious. He is also the non-executive director of WPP Pepsi and a few
other companies and has published probably half a dozen books on global

How To Build a Global Brand – by John Quelch

Ford has finally woken up to what Toyota knew a long time ago: the
power of a single global brand. Over twenty years ago, Harvard
professor Theodore Levitt praised Japanese manufacturers for their
focus on “what every consumer in the world is seeking: world-class
modernity at affordable prices.” Either because they didn’t understand
regional differences in consumer preferences or out of self-confidence,
Toyota, Nissan and Honda sold standard products under a single brand
umbrella. For decades, Ford adapted its manufacturing platforms,
features, and model names from one country to another. The results:
added manufacturing and supply chain costs that strained consumers’
willingness to pay; a balkanized bureaucracy in which regional managers
exaggerate the need for local adaptations to defend their turf; and a
deteriorating market share, financial performance and stock price. Ford
was once one of the ten most valuable brands in the world. They’re no
longer on that list, but Toyota now is. How did Toyota–and the other
nine companies–do it? There are five characteristics that all top
global brands have in common:

1. The same positioning worldwide. This provides a combination of
functional product quality and innovation with emotional appeal. Think
Coca-Cola and Disney.

2. A focus on a single product category. Think Nokia and Intel.

3. The company name is the brand name. All marketing dollars are concentrated on that one brand. Think GE and IBM.

4. Access to the global village. Consuming the brand equals
membership in a global club. Think IBM’s “solutions for a small

5. Social responsibility. Consumers expect global brands to lead on
corporate social responsibility, leveraging their technology to solve
the world’s problems. Think Nestle and clean water.

Ford has a proud history. Its name recognition is strong worldwide.
The chairman is committed to the environment. Many consumers are no
longer considering Fords when buying their new cars, but they are
predisposed to giving Ford another chance. Fords worldwide should
henceforth have a common look, feel and brand essence. Low volume
management distractions including Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo will be
sold off; they’re now meaningless. US-based models like Mercury will be
discontinued.Can Ford recover? The answer lies in whether the common
vehicle platforms developed for the new strategy prove to be truly
global in design or merely more of the same Detroit-centric product
that have caused Ford’s market shares around the world to erode.