If you work in a global digital role, you’re responsible for efficiently and effectively distributing a broad spectrum of communications and assets to other parts of the company. Your audience may simultaneously be local markets and regional teams, retail locations, channel partners, vendors, employees, and teams across other parts of the company. For global brands looking to improve campaign sharing at scale, there is a four-part framework for approaching content at a global company that allows you to take stock and map out how information flows through your organization. Your brand can use this process for developing global campaigns and getting your content heard and shared across teams and regions.
From our experience working with global brands across different industries, we’ve seen two types of operational models within the marketing organization. In the Hub-and-Spoke model, or what we also call the “branded center” model, branded content from the corporate headquarters flows out to regional teams, providing them brand guidelines to execute on their local mandates.
In the more interdependent, “neural network” model, brand campaigns and content are shared between global HQ and regional brands as well as region-to-region, allowing for adaptive learning about what’s working and what isn’t. This cross-regional sharing enables faster change at the local level. For more sophisticated information sharing in an increasingly global marketplace, you can expect to see more brands adopt a neural network model in the future.
One of Percolate’s global CPG customers found that better reporting from and across markets helped them identify similarities in mobile consumer behavior between India and Indonesia. Spotting this trend, the brand’s global digital team connected the local teams in both markets, so each could share resources, creative assets, and best practices with one another. Using this insight, the brand started piloting smaller media buys and content tests in Indonesia, which, when successful, could then be localized and scaled up for Indian mobile users.
This enables distributed learnings, better cross team coordination, cost savings, and better transfer of knowledge.
To start, whiteboard your universe (and flow) of the following:
- Objectives and KPIs
- Brands, segments and product lines
- Teams, reporting and accountability
This exercise is critical to understand where there are process breakages caused by things like lengthy approvals processes or limited cross-team visibility. Order these breaking points by risk level to prioritize how you’re going to manage them.
Global brands will need to map this across markets, down to the KPI level for each region to truly understand the diversity of the challenges facing your organization.
Once you map out how information flows within your department, the next step is to start looking at your new set of processes as a system, where information flows in and out of a centralized hub. Having a central repository where you can store, share and distribute content from promotes transparency and re-use and also will help you scale towards a company-wide solution.
For a global manufacturer like GE with multiple lines of business and over 300,000 employees across 175 countries, managing their assets centrally was of utmost importance for ensuring proper usage. GE extended this global-to-local communication system to its digital asset management, removing the barriers to collaboration across all geographies and business lines.
“Having GE’s digital asset management integrated with marketing workflows has created a central resource for GE. Not only has it saved time and cut down inefficiencies in global processes, it’s enabled teams to collaborate across business lines, regions, and functions beyond what was possible before” — Rich Narasaki, Global Director of Brand and Design, General Electric
Take a templated approach to your communications from campaign development to information sharing. This will help you standardize across multiple teams, all while saving time and resources.
To make sure that new campaigns are getting to the right people, have a distribution plan in place. For instance, Mastercard’s payment solutions are used around the world, making it essential for the brand’s communications to be smart, fast, and personalized for the 210 different countries it reaches. At the same time, however, their communications need to be aligned and consistent with the Mastercard brand.
“Our team is aligned and executing against an omnichannel ‘one voice’ strategy in terms of both content planning and publishing, and visual identity.” — Jennifer Stalzer, VP Global Digital Communications, Mastercard
By distributing global brand assets out to their local markets, Mastercard ensures every local team can tell relevant, visual stories while making sure they stick to global brand guidelines.
Before tackling distribution itself, first appoint dedicated content owners, organizers and distributors within your organization. This way you have a clear picture of who will take on the last mile of distributing your message. Once you understand who is distributing your content, partner with them to set a communications cadence (a weekly newsletter, recurring knowledge sharing call, e-learning resources). You’ll start to see more engaged teams at the local level, and you might even be surprised at the local-to-global flow of learnings that will start to surface. As local teams can unlock more resources and have greater visibility into the brand as a global entity, they will be more empowered to make creative decisions better suited for their market.
Once you’ve operationalized this system, measure and learn from your results. Optimizations can continually be made to your process for sharing campaigns and communicating through your organization. Eventually, you’ll be able to understand how your system for campaign sharing is working across markets. As you scale your campaign sharing and communication process, you’ll see gains in global brand consistency, efficiency, and accountability.
For more insights, download our Definitive Guide to Global-to-Local Marketing.