13 Oct Global branding is now a war
Globalization is at a crossroads, and businesses are entering into a major war. We must take some very aggressive action because at this very second, we have already entered a new front line where there are brand-new rules for this brand-new world in this brand-new mega-search-engine-driven e-commerce marketplace.
E-commerce is causing a global turmoil in trade and competition. Those on the front lines know exactly who is winning and who is losing. Bill Gates told a University of California-Berkeley audience: “We have to go into the risky new areas. That’s what’s going to allow the United States to stay at the forefront.”
He added, “We’re at the start of a process where the whole world is getting into this virtuous cycle.”
Warfare related to both global marketing management of the supply chain and to strategies for managing global corporate branding and image are in a spin. Nationalistic brand posturing by corporations against other competing countries is setting a new stage for economic tussle.
Listen to the music?
Brilliant warriors of the entertainment industry were all fooled by not recognizing the phenomena of the upcoming technological revolution. Surprisingly, academia, along with the supporting professional services, was convinced that downloading was just for kids. Global denial and hypocrisy created this musical comedy.
Now this is a big lesson to other industries. If you are not aware of what is about to hit your industry today, it might already be too late. This is because those industries that are facing a meltdown in the delivery of goods and services have no other option but to go to war and fight to win. The older and more established the organizations, the more vulnerable they are. You should raise questions, because denials will not help. Take charge or take cover.
Outsource the thinking?
Goodness gracious, for only 10 cents an hour, should we let some guy in India do the hard thinking for us?
No, but it certainly feels that way, as if we all outsourced our thinking a long time ago. Why is it that we normally respond when we are hit head-on; otherwise we take everything for granted, ignoring the big signs on the highway? Ask directions? Heavens, no. Decades ago, it was clear that the days of the elephant rides in India would one day turn into sophisticated cyber-bazaars in cyber-jungles. Never mind the Forbidden City. China, too, will become a wide-open country.
Ignore them, deny them or join them. There are enormous opportunities in this free market, but only to those who can play the new global game. Reconfigure your entire marketing and corporate branding for this new marketplace. Find the answers quickly or outsource the thinking too.
Marketing 101 or 202
During my days as marketing consultant to the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympic Games, there were 117 countries that participated. In Athens in 2004, 202 countries participated. Most educated people simply can’t recite more than a few dozen of those countries’ names. Traditionally, in America, shipping product to Canada or Mexico makes a business international.
The problem is very obvious. If you do not try to go global on an organized basis, you will never be global and will simply be taken over. Marketing to a couple of hundred countries is so much fun. Ask executives from Japan, Hong Kong, China or India. This is how they have created a strong base and a global reach. Just create global thinking, global name brands and name identities. The rules of global corporate branding demand a deeper understanding of creating a friendly presence, which is more than just a name, a logo and a Web site.
Rediscover global marketing and regroup your teams. Go in any direction and be prepared to attack. Arm your organization with new marketing rules and strategies.
The new art of war gives you only three battle plans:
Plan One: Create a home-based security plan within your organization. Form a team of experts; seriously investigate the racial profiles of your corporate image, name brands, name identities and branding personalities of each and every product and service you’re pushing in each of your various markets. Figure out quickly if these name identities are widely acceptable, or if they could be rejected based on their alpha-structures, as they may emulate certain signals unintentionally or get locked into regional or certain nationalistic identities.
Transparent names are the best, as they work all over the globe. Check for hidden strengths, and push on positive messages associated with the name. If there is life and vigor, use it, if not, kill it, fast. Check on Google and try 10 other search engines to see if your names pop up.
Make a blueprint, a master game plan on how you will tackle your own battle, and aim for victory. It is always easy to hide in a comforting blanket of gigantic billboards, million-dollar Web sites or 24/7 zippy branding gimmicks. Only globally acceptable names and identities have a chance. There is now a new attitude, an “us-against-them” mentality is setting in. Global consumers are judging names emulating national pride and regional personality. Furthermore, all will fail if names are lost in search-engines or simply not visible on e-commerce.
Plan Two: Create a covert task force, with a tactical mission to project your image with force. Open a dialogue with all your suppliers of creative and advertising services, and make sure that they are with you.
Study and make sure that they clearly understand the current challenges of your image and can make your names visible. Very little from the branding glory days of the past is going to work. Ask serious questions and interrogate hard. Remember the torchbearers of the traditional big budget branding and advertising era wouldn’t even know how to spell the current laws of corporate nomenclature and global cyber-visibility.
This is now a highly sophisticated science and has nothing to do with expertise in logos, billboards or making TV commercials. Go deep into the subject; discover how your portals, Web sites and your entire corporate empire can unfold to millions of undiscovered customers worldwide. All will fail without a major change in attitude. Absolute and brand-new skills with a brand-new approach are mandatory. Be brave, stand up and fight for survival.
Plan Three: There is no plan three. Stay invisible and slowly vanish, or go ahead and declare a war.
Naseem Javed, author of Naming for Power and Domain Wars, is recognized as a world authority on global name identities and domain issues. Javed founded ABC Namebank International, a consultancy he established a quarter century ago, and conducts executive workshops on image and name identity issues. For comments reach Naseem at email@example.com.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.