Strategies to bring a brand’s global message to any local market.

A recent CMO Club virtual roundtable brought together David Moreno, CMO at Virtualware (based in Spain), and Jeremy Schumann, Global Brand Strategy Lead at Instagram (based in California) in a lively discussion where they unpacked the realities companies encounter when trying to take a global corporate story and roll it out so that it authentically resonates in different local markets and contexts. 

Recognize the tensions you’ll encounter. 

  • In an ideal world, global and local marketing teams work together seamlessly in coordinated, efficient models.
  • More likely realities: global teams — charged with driving a quick, efficient, consistent roll-out — collide with local teams who push back on elements that don’t resonate locally.
  • Reporting structures of the teams involved might not be aligned, and that may introduce an additional layer of complexity.

Approach #1: The Mothership

  • Lead with a truly global insight that can scale into different cultures, contexts and markets.
  • Partner with local leaders, and if the global insight doesn’t ring true create the shared ground to reshape the message so that the global message can resonate within their markets.
  • Align on what is negotiable and what is not negotiable to ensure that core pieces translate. Corporate typically holds the pen on the brand strategy, brand role, brand POV, and global key message. 
  • Local leaders should provide the local context and local insights/tensions to help shape the local key message where needed. 
  • Trust the local leaders and recognize that the more local context is added the more powerful the campaign message will be.
  • Start early in the process and stay tight throughout execution. 

Bring both POVs and markets together on the journey of shaping a local message vs the command from above approach. Take input from local teams and work to stretch and shape the global message so that it can fit in local markets and contexts as it rolls out.
– Jeremy Schumann

Approach #2: Global Nimble – Creating Big Local Impact With a Small Local Footprint 

  • It is possible to create a big local impact even when you have a small footprint in the ground. 
  • Manage partners as if they were part of the team in order to think, plan, and execute fast.
  • Invest in building and reinforcing the connective tissue between headquarters and the local counterparts. Immerse them in the brand and the story with regular and close contact. 
  • Find trusted companies like you. Local experts with whom you are aligned can help you scale fast.

The key is to focus and prioritize the work. It’s not about too few resources, it’s about too many needs.
– David Moreno