How Can You Quickly Identify Potential Cultural Problems Facing Your Global Branding and Marketing Program?

It’s difficult just to create a strong brand within one culture, but understanding all the cultural dimensions needed for global branding and marketing can be an enormous task.

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a sales meeting and work with sales reps from around the world. During one of the presentations, I was particularly interested in how one group uses a tool for recognizing cultural differences when conducting sales calls.

The tool, known as the Holfstede dimensions, is based a study done in 2004 by Geert Hofstede . I think it’s easiest to understand by starting with the dimensions of your own culture, in my case, the United States of America. To get an idea how it works, take a look at each of the different dimensions and view how your own country compares with others.

Although this study was done 7 years ago, much of it still holds true today.  You may want to download the iPhone Culture Tool app that has GPS capability so that you can immediately compare the country you are visiting to your home country culture. 

Does your branding and marketing cross into several cultures? How will you use this marketing information to identify and address the cultural differences in your brand’s audience?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Wonderlane

Managing Expectations to Maintain Market Share

Did you hear today’s morning news about JPMorgan Chase buying Bears Stern for $2 a share in a hasty deal put together and finalized on a Sunday evening?

I think that this makes it tough for the other large financial institutions to maintain their market capitalization and maybe even their market share.

In the course of just minutes, I heard a lot of speculation:

“This is the beginning of the bottom, we’ll see things getting better.”

“This is the tip of the iceberg, we’ll see things getting much worse.”

How do you manage expectations with so much speculation? ‘

Today the fed is cutting interest rates again, the euro is at an all time high against the dollar. Yen fluctuations are confusing. The old tried and true, “Don’t sell during the panic… the only ones who lose are those who sell!” sounds good, until a large financial institution has to sell at the bottom to avoid bankruptcy. It’s not just companies that can face bankruptcy. If you find yourself in individual debt, the likelihood of you becoming bankrupt is very high. There are many lawyers who are available to help with bankruptcy case in Columbus or in your local area so you have the best chance at being able to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible. The same applies to businesses that find themselves with a similar problem.

So how do the marketing strategists grow business during this cycle? I guess JP Morgan Chase sees it as an opportunity to grow market share. Other financial institutions may focus on just maintaining market share.

Last Thursday the Bears Stern CEO was quoted as saying everything is stable. Even this morning, their website has this nice chart on the page under the widget link called “Safety of Customer Assets.”

The home page did announce that their earnings announcement scheduled for today will not occur.

So how do financial institutions get the trust back? How do you maintain brand equity in the face of such rapid change? What are the implications for the industry?

What’s My Line? Tag Lines that Work

Simple marketing tag lines/headlines stay with us. The longer and more complicated the message, the more difficult it is to communicate. I believe the longer they are, the less effective.

Some examples:

  • Got Milk?
  • Just do it.
  • The Real Thing.
  • Where’s the Beef?

Of course each of these tag lines had massive multi million dollar campaigns hammering them home. But there is something about simplicity.

What about other great tag lines that really haven’t had a ton of media put behind them:

  • When it rains, it pours.
  • I can’t think of another… can you??  (no that’s not a tag line, that’s a question to you!!)

Looking for some inspiration in your tag line? Check out AdAge’s best 100 tag lines of all time.

This is the stage of writing the post where I go out and reference other posts who have written about tag lines. Only 2 minutes and 4 blogs later, I realize that taglines is ONE WORD. And, I amazed to find that Marketing guru Drew McClelland also wrote about taglines this morning…

It must be a tag line morning…  I mean a tagline morning!

UK vs US Mobile Phone Branding Perceptions


“My mobile phone is like my keys and my wallet. When I have it with me I feel very safe.”

This is just one of the insights from today’s video blog posting on Mobile Phones: Tool or Lifestyle from London, UK Blog Til You Drop from Laurence-Hélène.

We had lunch about a month ago and talked about how the people in the US feel about their phones (more aligned with the plan — Verizon, Cingular, Sprint — than with the phone — Sony, Samsung, Nokia) compared with how the people in the UK feel about their phone.

Laurence-Hélène made this subject really come alive by interviewing one-on-one. It gives you almost a mini focus group feeling about the subject of phones with this individual. Go to her blog to see a 6 minute interview about mobile phone service and plans with one of her friends.

What do you think? Did I correctly represent how the US feels about their phones, or is it just an opinion of one individual?? Let me know.

Technorati Tags: Marketing, Branding, Mobile Phones

Relationship Marketing Builds Bridges


Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to London and Rotherham with Athena International’s board. What an inspirational trip on many so levels. Now that my jet lag has somewhat subsided, I wanted to share what I saw and learned.

1) Planting tiny seeds can produce outstanding unexpected results. The original connection between Rotherham chamber and the Athena organization started in Youngstown Ohio. This is a story that deserves it’s own blog post, so watch this space.

2) Going beyond the normal customer service amazes your clients. The photo above, taken in the morning light, shows Hellaby Hall Hotel managed by John Silker, president-elect of the Rotherham chamber. I can’t say enough about the warm welcome and the over-the-top service of John and his staff. Just lovely. I was so impressed by their great, world-class workout wellness center, as well as the great service in the restaurant and the meeting room facilities. Outstanding!

Previewing the website before the trip, I had expected my stay to be much more corporate and formal. However it was my experience that Hellaby Hall Hotel, although top-notch corporate, was also a wonderful mix of sincere warmth, hospitality and friendliness that really helped to establish a strong connection for me with Rotherham. It really felt more like being welcomed into someone’s home. Maybe that’s why it hosts so many area wedding receptions and events.

3) Relationship builders — people who have the knack for bringing people together — can accomplish so much to bridge the differences. Janet Lister, the event organizer, was awe-inspiring at bringing people together for a common goal and positive outcome. She headed a committee that got the chamber and the council to work together to honor 10 Athena honorees, 22 young Athenians and build some amazing connections.

Again, post worthy of additional blog entries!

You might think, what does this have to do with marketing? Recently I’ve posted about various regions marketing their talents and unique mix of offerings: State marketing vs Regional Marketing using Ohio’s marketing for example, Des Moines Iowa’s marketing efforts and Minneapolis & St. Paul’s marketing program.

Rotherham (population 253,000) has figured out how to:

  • encourage its youth
  • build relationships with those from all over the world
  • exhibit leadership
  • and enable all types of people to work together for a common goal

All these regions and states in the US could take a lesson from Rotherham.

  • What is your community doing to build future leaders? To develop strong customer relationships? To encourage collaboration? To market the region?

    More importantly, what are YOU doing?

    Informative Links to learn more:

  • Rotherham Chamber – named 2005 UK Chamber of the Year with 38% growth.
  • Rotherham Council – named most improved Council in the UK on March 20th by the Local Government Chronical
  • Athena International – A professional businesswomens’ organization dedicated to leadership initiatives.

    Technorati Tags: Marketing, Branding, England, Rotherham, Hellaby Hall, Customer Service

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