Just last night, a somewhat "refreshed" creative director was lamenting to me the frustrations of working on international accounts. What on earth was so fabulous about award-winning ads that were only devised for the UK, he opined, in slightly more colloquial terms. You could feel his pain.
International brand-building is indeed a tricky business, and not just in the creative constraints it applies.
Rolling an ad campaign out across multiple territories takes planning, insight, co-ordination, creative dexterity and media-buying nous.
As companies seek to build world-class brands, or look to extend into profitable regions outside of the credit-crunched Western economies, so they need to juggle a myriad of complex issues.
Questions that need answering before even considering any international foray can appear simplistic, belying their multi-layered complexity. Not least among them: is there such a thing as a global consumer?
There are other quandaries, too. Should communications be streamed around religious maps more than regional ones, perhaps? What does it take to be a world-class brand these days? How should your advertising behave in front of a global audience? What are the necessary strategies to maintain your relevance and consistency across many and varied countries and cultures?
And it's not only outward-facing issues that impact when you tread across a national boundary. How do you ensure your internal teams have the right knowledge, culture mindset and inspiration to deliver across geographies?
We at Campaign won't pretend to be able to provide all the answers, but sometimes just asking the questions can be enough to provide the turnkey you are looking for (and we're good at that).
Welcome, then, to our inaugural Going Global supplement, in which a broad group of industry experts serves up a smorgasbord of potential answers to exactly the sort of questions we are all grappling with.
They span digital and creative agencies, a media owner and translation specialists, and include authors from across Europe, Asia and North America. Experienced in international branding, they provide, in the following pages, their own insights and conclusions on how best to tackle that path to global dominance.
We hope Going Global will prove a useful reference tool to which you will want to return again and again. Ideally, it will provide you with some brain food that will nourish, as well as whet your appetite for more.