Global branding: definition, benefits and useful strategies

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Expanding to different international markets is a natural thing for rapidly growing companies that want to sell to customers globally. Building a global brand has many advantages, as it can help bring more revenue and build brand awareness for businesses. Learning about common obstacles and strategies for brand building can help you develop a better global strategy for a company. In this article, we discuss global branding, explore its benefits and explain common strategies for building global brands.

What is global branding?

Global branding is a strategy for consistently managing a brand in different regions of the world. The purpose of this process is to shape customers from different cultures and make it easier for them to recognise a particular brand. What's unique about global brands is that, in most cases, their marketing and messaging stays the same regardless of the country, except for minor language or cultural adjustments. This allows brands to share the same values all over the world, making their unique brand offer stronger internationally.

Related: What is employer branding and why is it important?

Benefits of global branding

Turning a company into a global brand is a great way for large businesses to reach more customers and gain visibility across the world. There are many advantages of branding a company globally, including:

More consistency

Global brands maintain highly consistent marketing strategies, which is beneficial for both consumers and brands. This consistency usually refers to every aspect of the business. For instance, it allows companies to offer customers the same quality of products regardless of customers' locations in the world.

Better customer awareness

By offering their products or services all over the world, companies can reach global audiences and make it possible for more people to become familiar with their offerings. As a result, it's sometimes possible for those companies to stop worrying about advertising their products to customers from specific locations. Instead, they can focus more on targeting specific age groups, interests or behaviours.

Smaller marketing costs

Maintaining brand consistency often allows companies to spend less on marketing when introducing their products to different markets, including globally. This usually happens because creating new marketing campaigns from scratch isn't necessary. Most commonly, it's enough that brands invest in high-quality translations and language or context localisation.

Related: Understanding a flexible budget (including an example)

Increase in brand value

When a brand becomes global, its value automatically increases. This happens because the international nature of the brand itself becomes its greatest asset. As a result, many customers from markets all over the world decide to purchase from that brand simply because they recognise the name and trust its expertise.

Achieving better ROIs

Return on investment (ROI) is one of the primary concerns for most for-profit companies. By branding their offerings globally, companies can achieve better ROIs because they can launch one campaign across all markets, which lowers their packaging and promotional costs. Through lowering costs of this type, brands create an opportunity for better marketing investments.

Possibility to overcome local competitors

By running a global brand, you can increase your chances of building a competitive advantage over local competitors in various markets. This is usually possible because, typically, consumers perceive international and global brands as something intriguing and generating more interest for them. This allows those companies to make more profit and stay ahead of local competition.

Related: What Is My Personal Brand? With 10 Personal Branding Tips

Obstacles in building a global brand

Expanding brands to reach global audiences is a rewarding process, which has its unique challenges. Here are some common obstacles that companies could encounter when building a global brand:

Local culture

One of the most important obstacles that brands can encounter when entering new markets is the differences between local cultures. For example, when a fast-food franchise is building its local brand, it may find it more challenging to build consumer trust within markets where customers mostly eat at home and are rather unsure about eating fast food. To market this brand's offerings to that kind of audience, it's necessary to present the benefits to them using their unique values, which can be more costly.

Local regulations

Any local rules and regulations that can change from one country to another need to be taken into consideration when building a global brand. These rules are often a result of local preferences, which may limit some businesses' growth. For example, the rise of short-term housing rentals caused some cities to introduce new regulations, which limit the possibilities for companies offering services of this type. To handle any local rules, it's important to do extensive research and prepare a risk management strategy that can help companies make a profit regardless of the limitations.

Local economy

Many customers from different countries prefer purchasing products and services from local suppliers. This is because they recognise the importance of investing in small businesses and entrepreneurs from their area. To improve their chances of success, global brands can invest in better understanding those customers' values and behaviour to better match their purchasing preferences.

Difference between international teams

Typically, the bigger the company, the more employees it has. This is also true for a global brand with offices in numerous countries. Although this is usually an advantage, it can also become an obstacle, as it can introduce some communication challenges. These challenges are usually a result of linguistic or behavioural differences between employees from different cultures. Another obstacle can be working in different time zones. To minimise the risk of this, it's important that brands introduce strict and coherent employment guidelines and offer employees support to help them adjust to the company's working conditions.

Bigger risks

Global expansion can be risky for companies. Usually, the bigger the goals companies set for themselves, the bigger the risks those goals can create. As a result, they can lose money or their customers' loyalty in certain markets. To prevent this, it's necessary that brands invest a lot of time into planning the best strategy that allows them to approach branding carefully and strategically.

Related: How to perform a risk analysis (with tips)

Common strategies for building a global brand

Approaching global brand building is a process that requires an organised approach. Here are some common strategies to consider for the process:

Invest in high-quality translations

Localisation is one of the most important elements of building global brands. Because global brand building allows companies to remain consistent with their campaigns, packaging and advertising, it's necessary that audiences from all markets understand their values. Investing in high-quality translations is essential to making sure customers clearly understand the context of promotional campaigns.

Related: How to become a brand strategist (with steps and duties)

Research global and local competitors

Researching global and local competitors can tell you a lot about useful strategies that work well within certain territories. If you're responsible for expanding a brand globally, research of this type can help you avoid making many mistakes. It also allows you to become more aware of the existing brands that global customers are aware of.

Expand your business offerings

Instead of trying to be a niche brand, you can also think of ways to reframe the company's branding to make it broader. You may want to release several products that cater to different parts of the market. For example, food brands tend to sell different variations of their products to meet the wants of different customers all over the world.

Research your customers' behaviours

Customers around the world are likely to react differently to the same product, which happens because of the differences in their upbringing, traditions or preferences. By getting to know those behaviours, you can make better branding decisions that make certain products more attractive to them. This is because it tells you which communication channels they're more likely to react to or what kind of messages can capture their attention.

Additional tips for global brands

Here are some useful tips to help you build a global brand:

  • Stay consistent: when promoting a product globally, keep the most important aspect of the brand across all regions. While making some slight changes is a good idea, it's necessary that your overall messaging conveys the same emotional appeal and value proposition.

  • Create branding guidelines: these guidelines can outline everything your brand is about. For example, you can explain the visual style, content style or vision statement in them.

  • Recruit locally: recruiting people within the different markets can help companies gain a better understanding of their culture. When opening a local office isn't possible, it's important to consider working with local consultants or outsourcing some promotional work to local agencies.

  • Find the right tools: remember to keep a company's marketing streamlined by using different online marketing tools. For example, using a platform that automatically launches campaigns and posts to social media can be helpful when you're working with different time zones.

After planning a product strategy and developing a risk management plan, it's important that you remember these additional things and consider them thoroughly in your global brand building.

Explore more articles