7 suggestions on how to improve your Global Marketing Strategy

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Being able to work in a global environment, is a phrase that is now etched onto the job descriptions of most marketers and enshrined in todays strategy documents. Whether thats a reality or an aspiration - either way its something that requires constant work and evaluation. In this article Im going to share some of my recent thoughts and experiences. Here are my seven suggested areas that you should evaluate: 1. Nation Branding and National Identity 2. Cultural Ethnicity and Religion 3. Innovation and Creativity 4. Education and Training 5. Balancing Standardization and Localization 6. Networks and Channel partners 7. Multi-layered messaging


<ul><li> AESTROAESTRO 082 // AUG 2014 // THE-MARKETEERS.COM GLOBALMARKETING THEMANYFACESOF Being able to work in a global environment, is a phrase that is now etched onto the job descriptions of most marketers and enshrined in todays strategy documents. Whether thats a reality or an aspiration - either way its something that requires constant work and evaluation. In this article Im going to share some of my recent thoughts and experiences. </li> <li> JONATHAN(BILAL)A.J.WILSON SENIORLECTURER&amp;COURSELEADER, UNIVERSITYOFGREENWICH,LONDONUK EDITOR:JOURNALOFISLAMICMARKETING, EMERALDGROUPPUBLISHING. THE-MARKETEERS.COM // AUG 2014 // 083 I packed in some serious air miles in June, travelling from London to the USA, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan.As you can imagine, I met academics and practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds at events ranging from: the Kellogg Innovation Network 10th KIN Global at Northwestern University USA; the P-World Global PR Trends Summit in Qatar; the 2nd International Food Symposium on Halalness, at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan; Junes Japanese Global Marketing Committee, held at Meiji University,Tokyo; and a guest lecture on American popular culture by Harvard anthropologist Grant McCracken at Royal Holloway University of London.After all of these rich experiences, I sat down and attempted to find patterns in my list of notes. Overall, there seems to be a consensus that whilst globalization is a reality, and all of the predictions of consumer convergence, and mass production at lower costs hold true; they dont reveal the full picture.Technological advancements spearheaded through social media, coupled with a desire that prevails to remain conspicuous and maintain distinct cultural identities, means that the landscape in many ways remains complicated and nuanced. Evidence of this is that businesses are still having to navigate through geographies, which necessitate cultural hybridizations, adjustments, adaptations, and reinforcements to their products, services, management practices, supply chains, and messages.That is balancing the scales of global and local, and doing so at scale. Furthermore, we are seeing patterns where markets, which have been previously labelled as being niche, are operating in the mainstream and behaving like mass markets.A case in practice being the USD $2.3 trillion Halal industry, which operates in Muslim majority and minority nations, across such wide-ranging sectors as: food, finance, fashion, pharmaceuticals, tourism and hospitality, and entertainment. With all of these in mind, here are some areas to watch and consider that I have come up with, which I admit is all still very much work in progress: Nation Branding and National Identity Im writing this article while the FIFA football World Cup is in full-swing and I think that this presents a good analogy for how things are in a wider marketing context. Distinct national identities, or you could even say brands are important; and people and organizations attach themselves or tap into them. However, membership is not necessarily restricted to you having to be from those nations, or in those nations to enjoy the benefits. For example, if you think about the Superdry clothing label: its a British brand which produces American style vintage clothing, which looks like its from Japan, </li> <li> AESTROAESTRO as it carries Japanese graphics and text. Also, when I was in Dubai, I came across a new high-end bespoke gentlemens shoe brand called The Cobbler. This company was set up by a French wife and husband team, who have their shoes manufactured in Northampton England (the heartland of traditional shoemaking) and they are branded as such, in order to carry a premium. But interestingly, they are then coloured, according to French craftsmanship standards, to any specification of your choice, in Dubai. Now surprisingly, you cant buy these English shoes in England, unless you order them from Dubai and have them shipped from Dubai. Even more surprisingly, they can make a pair of shoes and have them ready in 7-10 days, and its no more expensive than buying a pair from a competitor like Jeffery-West, who dont offer customisation. Here were seeing new approaches to nation branding and globalization working together. Furthermore, its showing, like in the World Cup, that people support 084 // AUG 2014 // THE-MARKETEERS.COM nations and are free to switch their identities to national identities that are still in the competition and able to deliver better success.We still care about national identities and brands, but we feel able to pick and choose as we see fit, and there is less of a stigma. Ive also been watching with interest the market share of Apples iPhone in Japan. When I was there last September, they had about 25% market share and now its up to 35%; which for me is pretty amazing, when you consider the dominance of Japanese technology over the past few decades, how Sony in the past has defined so many iconic personal music devices, and the strong sense of national pride and loyalty that the Japanese have. </li> <li> Cultural Ethnicity and Religion Ive mentioned this a few times in previous articles; and this is one of the areas that I have picked up the most recognition for, leading to invites around the world. But its still an area that in many ways is both a taboo and the elephant in the room. Relative to the ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity in the world, also in proportion to population figures; and not to mention the significance in terms of peoples expressed identities, linked to behavioural and consumption patterns: there still remains very little detailed literature on these areas. Id also say, theres even less in marketing literature and reports that look at culture, ethnicity and religion as being linked and interacting; in the way that most of us are used to doing informally and intuitively on a daily basis. There are still so many companies and educational establishments that just dont get it, dont want to get it, just dont see the value in it yet, or dont know how to do it well enough yet. For me this is a big mistake.To give you an idea of perhaps how far behind we are, it would be like suggesting that you can target all females in the same way, or that theres no point in targeting females, or you dont know how to because its too difficult. Now lets think about current discussions that debate whether there is such a thing as a Muslim market (about a quarter of the worlds population and growing), whether we should even consider religion as a variable, or whether you can target all Muslims in the same way? If we substitute the word Muslim in those questions for female, then you can get a sense of how short- sighted and shallow those questions seem. Ethnicity, culture, religion and gender are the building blocks of human existence and theyve all been around for long enough for these not to cause such issues unless perhaps there are deeper political reasons. Innovation and Creativity Innovation and creativity in products, services, management, and individuals are a hot topic. But innovation and creativity simply for the sake of it, or to signal market differentiation arent enough.With so much competition, noise, reduced production costs, and speed to market; things can easily be forgotten or swamped. Innovation and creativity have to be built organically and consensually, so that at every stage there is a broad base of supporters and evangelizers who can take things to the next level.This means that innovation and creativity have to demonstrate and communicate a real value proposition, which can be understood and consumed by a diverse group of stakeholders. Education and Training Any organization that can offer lifelong learning has an extra competitive advantage, which employees and consumers alike will value and take notice of. But this mindset also extends to product or service offerings too. Even if thats communicating with consumers about the provenance of a product, regional and corporate heritage, a corporate social responsibility initiative, or the benefits of product ingredients. People want to engage on a much deeper level; to find meaning in all of their activities and consumption practices; and to feel that THE-MARKETEERS.COM // JUL 2014 // 085 WILSONINJAPAN </li> <li> AESTROAESTRO they are equipped to be able to cope with any apprehensions of an uncertain future that globalization sometimes creates. Universal Standards In a globalized paradigm, discussions often consider how many management practices, products and services can be standardized; according to the organization, industry, or nation. I dont think that there is one rule that can fit all; also I think more so than ever, whatever policy is decided needs to have a sell-by date on it, because it will have to be constantly re-evaluated. Therefore, organizations need to approach this issue with an appreciation that standards will have to change, and changing them in no way undermines previous activities, or renders them as being obsolete or a failing.This is simply part of a process of synergic constant learning and improvement, which reflects the changing landscape. However, having stated this a key challenge is whether an organization has a core unit of people and processes in place flexible and agile enough to cope with such change; and that this knowledge is retained within an organization, with carefully managed labour turnover. Networks and Channel partners The role of the consumer, shared power and decision-making, strategic alliances, and diversity of networks, are critical and becoming much more fluid. You dont know which way the market is going to shift in the future - and so too much protectionism, or a desire to control may well backfire.This is very much an open-source mindset of giving, and giving being defined in the widest sense; in the hope that you will receive. In doing so the horizon is extended towards a more long- tail economics approach. Multi-layered messaging This is the challenge of appealing to several target audiences and segments at the same time.The key question is whether this is achieved through one clear consistent and compelling message across all platforms, which end-users interpret differently, according to their own viewpoints and frames of reference; or instead through integrated marketing communications that uses different creatives for each platform. For example in some conservative societies what may work on a smartphone shopping App. for private viewing may not be well- received on a billboard campaign. However conversely, with social media connecting us all, if there is a perceived disconnect through too much localisation, then this may undermine the universal values and brand promises in the minds of consumers. 086 // AUG 2014 // THE-MARKETEERS.COM </li> </ul>