Monthly Archives: June 2013

Retail and consumer brands global yet local in fast growth markets

Are you looking to grow your business in international markets? The large brands / companies are doing it to grow the top line. They’re chosing to target emerging and frontier markets as they’re facing tough trading conditions in “developed” mature markets.

See below images for some of the consumer brands I’m referring to, the middle image is Virgin!

Emerging Markets

The images were snapped up by me In Qatar, Doha and UAE, Dubai. Both markets were recently upgraded from frontier, riskier markets than emerging, to emerging markets.

“Both are seeing capital flows coming into their countries in the form of tourism, trade and financial services. These are safe havens of the Middle East. In addition, there continues to be a substantial development spending,” according to CNN.

These markets  amongst others, such as the BRIC , offer profitable growth for companies in terms of consumers.

Emerging markets continue to lead growth though political and economic changes. Sadly and inevitably, Greece became the first  “developed market” to be downgraded to an emerging market. The world is all change most notably since the Financial Crisis.

Brand strategy and logos

As you can see these major brands have localized by translating their brand names, albeit keeping their successful global identities, so they are local, yet global, glocal brands!

Monsoon uses  its brands name in English and in local language, Arabic.

These brands are playing on the strength of their brand identities and loyalty and other factors that give them brand strength, yet being locally sensitive by using, at the simplest level of localization, local language.

We live in a global village, that’s nothing new, the internet and travel means that people are used to seeing familiar brands and logos  wherever they travel and through online advertising and social media sharing sites, they want the global experience but the local feel.

Some brands benefit from the “country of origin” effect, i.e. people in local markets are more willing to purchase them, sometimes for a premium price, as the brands are perceived      to be exclusive, and luxurious relative to local brands.

With the below example brands, there’s a fine balancing act between maintaining a global identity and being local, glocal! Whilst keeping a consistent look with the international brand, they respect the local language and therefore can build a connection with the local audience.

Whilst benefiting from the brand equity they are also being flexible.

Strap lines

I’ve also seen straplines localised, i.e. the message is created for the local market. This does not mean that straplines are simply translated; translation does not always work and straplines can lose meaning in local markets. Straplines are created with the local culture in mind although they do share the same positioning and messaging as their original straplines.


Further localization occurs within the marketing mix, or the 7 Ps.  FMCG brands do this really well.

I’ve noticed that a lot of global fashion retailers will localise their products and that I can purchase clothes in some countries localised to the local taste, products that aren’t available in their stores in American or European markets for example.

In the Middle East in some Gulf countries, the clothes are a little more “flamboyant,” inline with local taste, in comparison to some European markets like the UK, London, my home town.

Relatively recently, friends in Cairo, expressed their lack of enthusiasm for Marks and Spencer’s extremely formal range. I can’t advise how they are performing with regards to sales, however, when any brand enters a new markets it’s important that they spend time researching the local taste, tailoring and localizing some of the merchandise for  local markets and their target audience. See their Facebook page for Egypt, also not very localised, I wonder if it’s managed by a local community manager. They may be exploiting the country of origin effect, and many middle class citizens in Egypt will speak fluent English.

See McDonald’s Facebook page Egypt, in comparison, it is localized to an extent, however, the target audience here “fans” is a mass audience and McDonald’s also targets the lower-income demographic who may not speak fluent English.

It’s a small world after all

It’s becoming easier to grow sales in new markets as the world becomes a smaller place or a “global village”, some people argue that this is a bad things, others may perceive it to be a good thing depending on which country or market is benefiting most economically.

Also, with the internet and advancement in communications and travel, companies don’t necessarily need to be have a large brand  or company to be able to enter new markets today, however, research is a must and partnering with local marketing agencies and local businesses can reduce risk when physically entering new markets. Alternatively you may choose to export to partners or sell via e-commerce  websites or generate leads for B2b marketing via online marketing campaigns. China makes the world takes, it’s not just “developed” markets exporting.

Website localization:

Businesses may communicate to new markets with their websites by using multilingual sites, or by offering local sites which users can locate on a main website typically ending .com. Typically  the main website will have a “global gateway,” a  drop down menu which shows local websites for each country, see

Ikea has local stores in local markets, but a local store is not  prerequisite for trade for all retailer, businesses may be able to sell via online commerce, a consideration here and critical success factor is delivery, a leading example is Amazon.

Here’s a recent checklist I created for consideration when localizing aspects of marketing communications and the marketing mix.

Monsoon localisedVirgin localisedRed bull localised

Your thoughts? Have you come across any examples of localization during your business travels or holidays?

Categories: Emerging Markets, Global Marketing, Localisation | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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