4 Advice and recommendations.

My literature study and empirical research took off with the assignment of developing a corporate brand model. The reason for research was addressed to the strategy transition, from a local responsiveness strategy to a transnational strategy, which requires a healthy balance between the extent of integration and local responsiveness. Organizational age and the speed of business development distract young organizations often from the development of integrated strategic marketing and communication structures. A shortfall of brand integration and brand awareness is often the price to pay for short term success.

For that reason I would like to finalise my White Paper with advice and recommendations that could lead to improvement of corporate branding and an increase of the effectiveness and strength of corporate brand management.

Critical and fundamental brand criteria like brand architecture, research and development, monitoring of brand equity, brand positioning, and brand loyalty are serious lacking. The underlying and far-reaching threat is given by the fact that criteria like these fulfil a conditional step in brand development. Ultimately it will answer the primary identification question; who are you ?

Theory and best practises have proven that sustainable corporate branding needs to be built on well-defined organization structures, transparent processes and on a consistent culture. Global active organizations need to build a global brand equity model. The means by which brand equity is build may differ from time to time and from customer group/segmentation, whether this is based on geographic zone, business unit, country, product, or demographic culture is not relevant as long as the brand manager and marketers understand the relevance of each building block in relation to the target group.

To guide that process it is essential to rely on the ten commandments of global branding;

  1. Understand similarities and differences in the global branding landscape.
  2. Don’t take shortcuts in brand building.
  3. Establish marketing infrastructure.
  4. Embrace integrated marketing communication.
  5. Cultivate brand partnership.
  6. Balance standardization and customization.
  7. Balance global and local control
  8. Establish operable guidelines
  9. Implement a global brand equity measurement system.
  10. Leverage brand elements.

As a consequence of the above, any multinational would benefit from a well-defined corporate brand model. I shall emphasis my advice and recommendation on a structured brand model (the cause) as I prefer a sustainable strategic approach above a short term operational actions to build and maintain a well defined international brand reputation. For that reason I recommend multinationals to carry out the following strategic brand proposition;

  1. Implement a brand equity model.
  2. Set-up transparent brand architecture.
  3. Establish brand ownership and brand managers.
  4. Organize brand building programs

Having said that, brand managers and/or marketers should not withdraw themselves from their responsibilities and therefore I would also like to emphasize the need for short term operational brand support. Marketers should implement corporate branding from a field based brand management perspective. Objective of operational field support is to come to a common understanding of the business unit / satellite challenges and to address the most appropriate operational brand support. For that it is as well a top-down as a bottom-up process.