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I’m going to analyse some examples of  international branding using Oosthuizen’s “ The Core Value Model”.

An example of successful international branding is  McDonald’s and its “ Golden Arches”; one immediately pictures fast food and American culture.According to the psychologist Louis Cheskin, the round M represents a mother’s breasts.

Breasts can be seen as a symbol of nourishment  that connect the individual with his mother at an unconscious level.  According to Oosthuizen’s Core Value Model,  core values are composed by universal symbols that can be understood by everyone.

Those symbols represent innate values and one of them is the procreation factor. Virtually anywhere in the world an individual regardless of language, sex, age, culture, will be able to identify the female breasts as a source of food, universal belonging and family.

When it comes to the other levels of communication presented by Oosthuizen, McDonald’s demonstrates efficient marketing since it localizes its strategies respecting and answering to religious demands such as the vegetarian burgers in India, the non pork menu in the Middle East and offering espresso coffee in Argentina and Portugal.

 McDonald’s, built up a global message and it is being localizing it throughout the years.

Heineken is an example of international branding that failed one of its projects, due to lack of attention to learned values.  Heineken’s logos carry universal symbols such as the star and  the smile in its 3 Es and those can  communicate globally.

However, according to  Williamson ( 2013) it failed when trying to launch a featured bottle with the world cup finalists. Heineken designed featured bottles of beer containing the flags of the countries that were in the world cup .  Saudi Arabia was featured and the country’s flag contains a verse from the Koran.

After the bottles were released, not only Saudi Arabia but all the Arab world were outraged because  their religious verse was linked to alcohol. Long story short, Heineken had to recall all the bottles and create a new design.

Although Heineken was not trying to market alcohol to the Arab countries it created social commotion by not paying attention on local religious values.

In conclusion, it is fundamental to align universal elements that can effectively communicate a company’s brand and local adaptation of services and products.

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By A. Kaye – Contributor

References:

Zara, T. Cenedella P. (2013) ‘ Citizens all: the rules of corporate citizenship’ Interbrand: creating and managing brand value [Online] Available at : http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/2012/articles-and-interviews/citizens-all-the-new-rules-of-corporate-citizen.aspx ( Accessed: August 28 2013)

Williamson, A. (2013) ‘ Four international branding design failures’  Adhere  [online] Available at: http://blog.theadhereagency.com/2013/4-international-branding-design-failures/(Accessed: August 28 2013)

E3 Marketing Agency (2009) Defining Cross Cultural Marketing [Online] Available at: http://e3network.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/defining-cross-cultural-marketing/ (Accessed: August 27 2013)

Oosthuizen, T. (2004) ‘In marketing across cultures: are you enlightening the world or are you speaking in tongues?’, Design Issues, 20 (2), 61–72, MIT Press Journals [Online]..http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/login.aspx?direct=true&db=hlh&AN=13269965&site=ehost-live&scope=site (Accessed: 21 August 2013).

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