There’s a lot to be gained from going global. Broader consumer reach and the ability to employ the best regardless of location are just two prime benefits that make this worthwhile. Unfortunately, with just 40% of companies turning in more than 3% profits after ten years of going international, even taking your trade to the hottest climates doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to bask in the sun.¹
Brand managers especially need to be aware of the potential challenges posed by new shores, as well as finding brand-consistent and immediate ways to address them in real-time. It’s a lot to handle, but there’s no need to hang up your towel before you’ve even dipped your toes in the ocean (we’ll stop with the holiday metaphors now.)
Instead, it’s crucial to realise that all international challenges are solvable through the integration of simple brand management solutions. Without further ado, let’s take you through them.
Suggested reading: To guarantee you’re taking your brand global with your best foot forward, brush up on branding best practices with The Brand Consistency Toolkit.
1. Language barriers
If you let language barriers get in the way of global branding, you’ll struggle to find teams who can successfully understand who you are, or why consumers should invest in that. In other words, you’ll prevent tons of your employees from being able to convey any of the messaging that makes your branding great. Luckily there is a simple solution, and all it rests on is your ability to take up tech developments that break these language barriers altogether — all without you and your team having to take up multiple language classes (phew!)
How to solve it
- Multilingual services: Having the ability to work with multiple languages in a single system is the best way to get rid of any stumbling blocks that can come about from having language barriers. Otherwise, you run the risk of taking up loads of different tools that only further complicate the process. Brand management software (BMS) will allow for capabilities like your various team members being able to switch between languages, all within the one platform. No need for anyone to shamefully pull up Google Translate anymore.
- Revisable assets: You already understand the importance of brand guidelines and metadata tagging to brand strategies. But BMS makes them suitable to global brand management by allowing you to change them to different languages, enabling every team member to quickly switch between multiple language choices without losing the core point of these elements in the first place.
2. Accessing assets
We’re not going to preach to the choir by covering the reasons why business-wide access to branding assets (e.g. brand guidelines, logo templates, etc.) matters. However, you might not realise how complicated accessibility becomes when your brand goes international. Time zone and hardware differences can especially prevent long-distance teams from having any form of guidance or understanding where assets are concerned. It’s only by considering this and implementing practical and often automated routes that you can even begin to get international brand management right.
How to solve it
- Multi-access capabilities: Multi-access options like login IDs, permission structures, and SSOs keep you rest assured that your global brand reach is kept entirely secure. Brand management software is key to enabling this with multi-brand, secure asset management.
- Digital asset management: DAM platforms that centralise your assets can significantly enhance visibility and accessibility regardless of location. Advanced DAMs that simplify file sharing, automate metadata management, and enable permission-based access especially help with managing and GROWING your brand.
3. Reporting on assets
Feedback that reports on what’s working, what’s not, and what you can change is crucial to brand management, but it’s a lot harder to achieve when everyone’s in different offices, let alone continents! It’s especially crucial to get those sorts of insights early on when moving into any new market, much less a new regional market. Getting reliable feedback that paints a complete, global picture of your brand means removing communication blockages from systems that not only enable, but encourage the back-and-forth of feedback that keeps you and everyone else in the loop.
How to solve it
- Reporting tools: Platforms that incorporate in-built reporting feeds and final reports make it way easier to maximise even long-distance efficiency with asset-specific reporting (e.g. how a specific campaign is performing, rather than just your brand overall), customised reports that show who’s downloading what and where, and visualisations to make all of this easier to understand.
- Derive insights: Insights are the only way to make use of international branding efforts, and BMS that highlights the ROI on every element of your brand is crucial for this level of understanding. Advanced DAMs that automate things like metadata creation can also make that information easier to sift through and ultimately support your branding decisions.
Pro tip: Paying attention to your brand’s perception across multiple channels is also crucial to understanding how it works — if you’re unsure how/where to start, check out our blog How to Control Your Brand Perception Online and Offline.
👉 Want to achieve good brand management regardless of your location? Try our free Digital Asset Management platform 👈
4. Communication and collaboration blocks
Colleagues who are made to feel like one of the team tend to be a whole lot more passionate and productive than those on the outside. Unfortunately, collaborations that used to happen near the water cooler without much input from you aren’t possible when you go global, and that can quickly halt team outputs and morale.
Achieving smooth communication across an international brand goes beyond just breaking down language barriers — it’s about streamlining workflows that give even far-reaching talent the chance to have a say in what you do and how you do it.
How to solve it
- Brand showcases: BMS that includes brand showcases to keep all teams in the loop about current practices with email alerts and version tracking ensure that even far-reaching employees never miss out on what’s happening in head office, as well as providing a space for all teams to inspire each other by uploading their own best practices.
- Efficient workflows: BMS with built-in workflow management processes removes often isolating location and timezone hurdles through capabilities including tailored back-and-forth approvals, real-time updates, and online auditing that simplifies collaboration for even global employees (as long as they have an internet connection — which you’d hope they do anyway!)
5. Differences in compliance/regulation
While you’re well aware of brand compliance at home base, you’re likely a whole lot less clued into the various regulations facing your global offices. The trouble is, this is such a serious consideration that it can pretty much unravel the benefits of expansion in the first place if you don’t get it right, both from a legal standpoint (e.g. non-compliance with data protection leading to hefty fines) and concerning your audience (e.g. brand campaigns failing to translate or translating to be plain offensive).
Mistakes here could certainly get embarrassing, and taking steps to avoid a rosy-cheeked brand that probably won’t impress the locals means getting proactive with a guaranteed understanding from day one.
How to solve it
- Brand templates: Web-to-publish templates easily localise artwork changes for global audiences using outlines of compliance requirements (e.g. disclaimers/different language use/etc.) you’ve put in place beforehand. Unlike standard one-size templates, this capability, typically offered by high-quality BMS, ensures automated, foolproof compliance across locations.
- Detailed brand guidelines: Detailed brand guidelines that make space for things like location-specific changes provide an easy way to ensure that your brand translates in all locations while still maintaining the same messaging overall.
6. Localising customisation
Compliance means making sure that your brand’s doing everything right, but that doesn’t guarantee the locals will greet you with open arms. For that, you need to focus on making your brand easily customisable to the needs of every market, ensuring that you avoid potentially detrimental local branding moves that either completely miss the tastes of local audiences, or even see you clashing with local competitors who already have supporters onsite.
How to solve it
- All the above: This might sound like a cheat, but it really isn’t! After all, the best possible way to perfect branding across locations is to foster an efficient and effective flow of company communications. Global teams that can work together and that have their fair say in your brand management strategies will especially help your business to run like a well-oiled machine that always meets audiences where they are.
- Brand management software: The best way to achieve all of the above is to invest in software that provides everything you need to ensure efficient, effective brand management that directly addresses the challenges of international offerings so that, without necessarily adding to workloads, you’re always at the top of your international brand game.
Suggested reading: The challenges from going global are just a few of the many out there — but worry not! Our blog 4 Brand Management Challenges Not to Underestimate is a great place to start to shield yourself.
Solutions start with the right software
Going global can feel a lot like stepping into the unknown, but it’s no longer enough to only wade in the shallow waters (sorry, had to squeeze one last holiday metaphor in.) Instead, you need to dive right into global brand management that keeps you at the top – brand management software is the easiest way to do that.
As well as directly addressing the global branding challenges we’ve discussed, the right BMS can especially integrate into your existing brand management strategies with little need for adjustment, providing clear and newly simple paths for international brand management that always keep you one step ahead.
You don’t even need to take our word for it — you can see all of this for yourself by booking a Brandworkz demo and witnessing first-hand what going global looks like when it’s done right!