The rich, of course, are different; they have more money.
International businessmen, on the other hand, are quite straightforward.
And they share a similar vision. Both attributes are rare, in global
marketing terms at least. Other brands might be selling to demographics
that appear to be at least as homogeneous - fmcg brands to housewives,
for instance - but actually they have to do so by making a virtue out of
Whether that means making the Gold Blend couple more physical for the
South American market, more mawkish for the US, or shooting a different
ad altogether, these are the sort of executions for which the most
overused phrase in global marketing, ’think global, act local’, was
’What cross-border marketers have to realise is that there are more
similarities than differences between the consumers of their brands. But
it is precisely those similarities that they should be looking to
leverage,’ the Ogilvy & Mather international planning director, Linda
Caller, points out.
These similarities are more apparent in some audience demographics than
others. And nowhere are they more so than in the category of
The mantra engraved on any would-be global marketer’s mind is that
businessmen in New York and Nanking have more in common than businessmen
working in the same cities and their non-professional peers.
There is one other marketing group that advertisers can talk to
effectively - the young. However, it is one thing selling trainers to
young people across the globe who have grown up listening to the same
music, watching the same programmes and cheering on the same teams, and
quite another selling to a sophisticated, discerning business audience
that is constantly on the move.
Selling yourself to that same market is harder still.
’I think media owners have struggled to identify their own brand
identity more than they ever worried about creating precise messages to
target businessmen on a geographical basis,’ Mark Proudfoot, who works
on the multinational Fortune and CNN business at MediaCom, explains.
’Businessmen these days are truly supra-national. We start from the
point of view that a fund manager in Tokyo has more in common with a
fund manager in Frankfurt than he does with an ordinary Japanese
It’s a point of view that has rapidly gained currency among the
international business media itself. The Economist’s distinctive red
branding spearheaded the drive towards cross-national uniformity, while
the International Herald Tribune’s yellow press work runs virtually
unchanged across all of its markets.
The Financial Times also identified the need for worldwide uniformity
when it embarked on a drive to achieve the status of a true
international daily. When it first briefed agencies at the tail end of
last year, it was looking for a pan-European agency, since more than 90
per cent of the title’s 450,000 worldwide circulation is concentrated in
the UK and mainland Europe.
Before the pitch process could be completed, though, the FT’s parent
company, Pearson, stepped in with a pounds 100 million five-year
investment plan designed to turn it into a truly international title and
the brief had subsequently been widened to include the US and Asia
Pacific regions. The company switched from using a variety of agencies
in these countries to consolidating all of its advertising spend into
Delaney Fletcher Bozell.
Michael Murphy, the FT’s UK director who helped co-ordinate the review,
says: ’Our aim is to have a consistent brand image for the FT around
The problem with that, for the FT as for all the international business
media, is that none of them have anything close to a consistent presence
around the world. The FT is committed to its tagline, ’No FT, no
comment’, devised by Mather & Crowther, but in some markets that is not
going to be effective enough. FT in France means France Telecom, in
Germany it suggests Frankfurter Trust to the average businessman and so
on. The solution has been always to spell out the full title as well,
and try to picture the paper itself, to make sure the message gets
The Wall Street Journal refers to the FT as ’the London Financial Times’
in some of its promotional and comparative advertising work, thereby
emphasising its perceived parochialism and the fact that while the FT
measures its US sale in tens of thousands, the Wall Street Journal
hovers around the two million mark.
This, in turn, means that some sort of fill-in marketing frequently has
to be done in local markets to supplement the consistent brand
’We basically run the same ads across all markets but we have to face
the fact that in some markets there are potential readers who aren’t
familiar with the product at all,’ says Delaney Fletcher’s deputy
managing director, Tom Knox, who heads the FT account at the agency. ’So
what we have done is produce different, tactical work for specific,
smaller scale campaigns: for example, to run a specific subscription
drive in the US, where we’ve had to explain in a lot more detail what
the FT is all about.’
The FT’s latest TV commercial includes an explanation of chaos theory,
where apparently unrelated events across the world can have an effect on
each other. It identifies a link between inflated property prices in
Thailand and the value of a fund management company on the other side of
the world decreasing by 50 per cent, and states that the FT covered both
stories. The ad highlights the fact that marketing newspapers and TV
networks in the future will have to take into account the global
’I think US companies are having the biggest problem making this
adjustment,’ Proudfoot concedes. ’Businessmen operate outside national
boundaries and therefore do not want their media coming to them through
the filter of any one particular country. If you ask businessmen outside
the US what they know about Fortune, the first thing they tend to
recollect is the Fortune 500 list of American companies. In the future,
it is highly likely they will think of the magazine in more rounded,