Global branding : positioning AND properties

Interesting to read about Akzo Nobel creating a visual brand property for it's 14 paint brands around the world. The brands have different names, such as Dulux in the UK and Coral in Brazil.

This approach allows each market to keep (for now) the local brand name that consumers know and trust. At the same time, it unifies the brands with a common brand identity and brand property – the colourful "swoosh" – intended to communicate inspiration to decorate the home. The global positioning is based on the strap line "Let's Colour".

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The main benefit of this approach is not so much economies of scale, as what we call "economies of ideas". By focusing people and budget on getting one output, in this case a brand property, the quality should be higher. In addition, it's much faster to then roll out any changes and improvements.

Unilever have successfully used a similar approach on several of their global brands. Having had a more localised culture historically compared to P&G, the company had a total mish-mash of brand names, designs and positionings. For their main laundry cleaning brands the "splat" icon was used to create some consistency in identity, even though the brand names were different. An example of this for two countries is shown below.

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Unilever's work on their global ice cream brand goes a step further, and is very smart. Again, each country had different names and identities for the main ice cream company brand: Walls in the UK and Algida in France for example. This local company brand was used to "endorse" product brands like Solero and Magnum and on merchandising including freezer cabinets.

The global team created what they the "heart brand" identity, bringing to life the joy and pleasure of ice cream. This was then rolled out and used in two ways

– On local point of sales and marketing, with the local company name

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And, the really clever bit

– On global brands like Magnum, with only the heart brand visual

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This means Magnum can now produce global packaging and communiction, getting economies of scale and being able to roll out new products much faster.

In conclusion, global branding is not only about positioning. It's also about creating powerful brand properties which can unify brands across markets , creating economies of scale and economies of ideas.