A few years ago, as mothers often do, I helped my son with a school project. This was no ordinary project. In our feeble attempts to give the teacher what she wanted, we spent the night scouring the web, reading scholarly reports, and scratching our heads.
Looking back, I’m not sure the teacher understood this was junior high, not a uni classroom. But that’s a discussion for another day.
So what was this ridiculous project?
A PowerPoint presentation on global branding and cultural diffusion. And after so much head-scratching, it got me thinking about brands in a whole new way.
I’m talking about brand appeal.
Brand appeal is the essence of your brand, that indefinable something that attracts your ideal customers like bees to the Autumn Sage that’s blooming in my backyard.
You do that by connecting with people on an emotional level. Creating a brand culture that your tribe can’t resist.
This is something that some brands never achieve. Many do, and they build a strong connection within their geo-area or region.
It takes a great brand to be able to connect with all people — even cross-culturally.
For example, Coca-Cola® represents happiness and optimism. That’s something every people group can understand. So the flavors and drink styles may change, depending on what that country likes, but the brand still connects.
Apple is similar. They have the coolness factor working for them. It’s not just technology; it’s fun. So wherever technology is sold, Apple’s going to win because people prefer a brand that has a fun personality.
What’s the bottom line? The idea behind a great brand must be universal.
So take a few minutes to think about your own brand:
- What’s the Big Idea behind your brand?
- Is that idea something that appeals to all people or only to people in one culture, geographic area or industry?
- Does that idea match the personality of your company and the products you sell?
- Is it something that could be dropped into another culture, tweaked just a little, and still be relevant?
People buy into brands because they’re relevant. And while the world has become more connected, people don’t always think globally. Selling occurs on a local level.
But here’s the thing: If your brand can feel local to any people group in any culture, you’ve got a winner.
Going global may or may not be your goal. But the more people you can connect with, the stronger your brand will be — which, of course, is going to translate into higher profits.