The concept of brand is a much broader than the concept of product. The essence of brand is seen only in the conditions of entering a particular market and refers not only to directly product features, but also to the trademark feature of a company, and therefore, is fully dependant on company’s brand marketing approach.
In the conditions of the globalizing market, many companies chose to output their brands to the international market, and thus, face the necessity of determining international marketing strategies. Releasing a “brand for the whole world”ť requires not only careful preparation and analysis of company’s capabilities and resources, but also a new level of awareness and understanding of company’s activities and brand specificities. Further in this paper, we will focus at standardization vs. adaptation challenges faced by marketers in creating and sustaining brands in the global market.
Local and global brands
Nowadays, the majority of brands can be assigned to either local or global. Local brands are designed for the operation and application only in the domestic market of a particular country, and hence, they are formed basing on the mentality of the local consumer (Doole and Lowe, 2008; Ghauri and Cateora, 2010). Global brands are the property of TNCs oriented at international market and affect the preferences of consumers from all over the world and, accordingly, on the competitiveness of multiple countries (Keegan and Green, 2008; Ghauri and Cateora, 2010).
In the most strict sense, a global brand is a brand sold all over the world while maintaining the integrity and unity of a brand, i.e. same brand positioning, same range of products, standardized communication and distribution systems are applied, at least at the level of compliance with the basic principles of each element (Doole and Lowe, 2008). In this case, the most important challenge for a company is the creation of a fundamental strategy for its brand, which operates in multiple countries and in many markets simultaneously. This also predetermines the task of obtaining maximum profit out of the very fact of standardization (Keegan and Green, 2008).
Thus, local or national marketing is aimed at maximizing adaptation, accounting for the differences, concentration, independence and separation of marketing activities according to national borders. Accordingly, local or national marketing strategy determines the need to consider local features in the company’s activity in a particular market. In its turn, global marketing strategy focuses on maximum standardization, concentration of marketing management, synchronization and integration of all marketing activities. In this regard, a global marketing strategy focuses on the universality of the marketing techniques used in different countries.
The main engines on the way to spreading brands around the world, as a rule, include such factors as reduction in expenditures, speed of new products’ entry into market, competition level, incorporating world-class quality, and possibilities of contemporary media coverage (Albaum and Duerr, 2011; Keegan and Green, 2008; Doole and Lowe, 2008). However, for the majority of multinational companies, worldwide expansion is a rather painful evolution. No matter how strong emphasis of global marketing on the unity of the strategy is, in the end, any company is forced to show flexibility and achieve certain balance between regional and international activities, which is discussed further.