It’s no secret that the internet has opened the world up to even the smallest of companies. Marketing can now be conducted on a truly global scale. And it’s something that’s available to everybody.
But all this, of course, means that the bar gets raised. Once everybody has access to the tools to create a global brand, it’s only the best that shine. Millions of companies just don’t “get it.” But many do. Here we’re going to look at some of the brands that implemented effective creative strategies and wound up dominating the market.
On the surface, Red Bull doesn’t seem to offer customers all that much. Here we have a canned drink product, containing prodigious quantities of caffeine. It’s not exactly something we haven’t seen before. But the Australian company knew this from the outset. And despite this, it’s managed to build a global brand that rivals incumbents like Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
Red Bull’s first tactic was to get behind some of the world’s most extreme sporting events. The brand turns up at Grand Prix, air races, and soapbox races. And this, in turn, takes it to multiple continents in the process. The company was a leading proponent of video production and content back in the 1990s. And since then, it’s been followed by some of the biggest names in business, like Dell and Marriott.
Red Bull also decided to do something rather different when it came to packaging. Red Bull don’t look like standard American fare. They’re slim, and they don’t have any traditional script lettering. In fact, the whole product looks rather European. And that, in turn, has aided it in its effort to become a truly global brand. Add to that the emblematic logo and consistent presentation, and the brand has gone global.
It’s hard to believe, but Airbnb was only founded back in 2008. Now it’s the quintessential unicorn startup shattering records. Current estimates value the company at a staggering $25 billion – although that’s probably already out of date. Since it started trading, Airbnb has grown to include over 1.5 million listings across 34,000 global locations.
It should come as no surprise that Airbnb has grown into a global brand. As a travel tool, the world “global” was baked into its DNA from the start. But how did a startup with such humble beginnings grow to become the success we see today? It seems strange to say it now, but back in 2008, social media was still new and funky. Twitter, Facebook, and others were still in their infancy. Despite that, Airbnb saw the global potential of these platforms and sought to leverage them.
By January 2015, Airbnb had a well-oiled social media marketing team. The company launched a campaign with the hashtag #OneLessStranger. The idea was to get the global community to come together and provide random acts of hospitality. People were to literally give up their homes for a weekend to a stranger and then post online about their experience.
The idea immediately took off. Within a month, over three million people had gotten involved with the scheme on social media in some way. Airbnb, in effect, created a movement which complemented their brand. They are all about bringing the cost of travel down. And here their customers were, doing it for them.
Dunkin Donuts is the American come global donut house for donut lovers everywhere. The company might come with a health warning, but since when did that matter for creating a global brand? Dunkin Donuts knew it had a battle on its hands if it was going to go global. It’s one thing for a drinks manufacturer to make inroads in the international market. It’s quite another for a junk-food seller to do the same. The problem is that food is at the center culture. It’s how we’re raised, and we’re all very particular about what we like and what we don’t.
Dunkin Donuts recognized this. But instead of trying to fight against it, they just went with the flow. In China, for instance, sweet and sticky donuts just aren’t their thing. Big American-style donuts don’t sit well with the traditional Chinese diet of rice and vegetables. Dunkin Donuts, therefore, decided to emulate the local cuisine. The Chinese would still get a donut. But instead of being dressed with icing sugar, they’d get dried pork and seaweed instead. Such a topping is unimaginable in the US. But it makes Dunkin Donuts a big hit in China, precisely because it complements local customs.
Now Dunkin Donuts has expanded to over 3,100 stores across 30 countries. And everywhere the brand goes, it celebrates the unique culture of the surrounding people.
Rezdy is a B2B company, so it’s not so focused on consumer appeal. Instead, it wants to be the go-to company for any business needing online reservation capabilities. Its product comes with a bunch of features and stuff that increases conversion. But that’s not what’s interesting about the company from a marketing perspective. What is interesting is how the company uses video production to reach a global audience.
To get international customers for its clients, Rezdy has to be fully internationalized. That means being able to accept international payments and communicate in multiple languages. Getting this message across to its business customers is its top priority. And so it does what many high-tech services do: create stunning videos. Rezdy’s product videos are short and to the point. They show, point-by-point, how customers can get the result that they want using their service.
The World Wildlife Fund
The World Wildlife Fund, like Rezdy and Airbnb, is intrinsically interested in global issues. Back in 2012, the organization launched one of it’s most successful marketing campaigns to date. As part of its Earth Hour Initiative, the group asked participants around the world to turn off their lights for an hour. The drive was designed to highlight the threat climate change poses to the environment and wildlife.
The WWF thought long and hard about the best place to launch their initiative. The ultimately settled on Norway, thanks to its extreme daylight hours. The WWF used a media marketing agency to promote their Blackout Campaign across the country. Links were sent out to all the top Norwegian sites. And when users clicked on the banner, their screens went black. Users could then swipe across the screen to reveal text relating to the WWF’s Earth Hour initiative.
The banners were wildly successful. Often only a few weeks, banners had attracted more than a million clicks. And the WWF went on to win a bunch of MMA Global Mobile Marketing Awards as a result.
Outlets like Domino’s and Dunkin Donuts are especially interesting to entrepreneurs. Every year, thousands of entrepreneurs try to make inroads into the restaurant space. And every year, thousands are disappointed. So when a brand like Domino’s Pizza comes along and succeeds on the international stage, they want to know how.
Domino’s has had success in much the same way as Dunkin Donuts. The combination of cheesy topping, tomato sauce, and doughy base works everywhere – except China. And the fact that pizzas are meant to have toppings means that the company has license to experiment. In Asia, Domino’s markets pizzas with seafood and fish toppings. In India, it incorporates more curry flavors. Just like Dunkin Donuts, it unashamedly caters for local tastes.
What’s cool about Domino’s drive is the research it puts into finding out more about local markets. It’s not happy with merely delivering the same product on a global basis. It’s actively interested in finding out what different regions want from their favorite pizza shop. This is essentially what has given Domino’s the ability to appeal to a global market.
Before Innocent Drinks came along with their smoothies, there wasn’t much in the way of healthy fast food. But since their entry onto the scene, investor interest in the area has exploded. Innocent began life in the UK, going around to festivals and making smoothies in a van. Now the company operates in 13 markets across the world and is still looking to expand.
The Innocent product is based on a deceptively simple idea: just blend up fruit and put it in a bottle. And so the brand had to develop some appeal beyond just the raw ingredients. The company decided that the best approach would be to double down on its “chatty” appearance. Innocent love to wax on about the quality of their products on their packaging. They give customers tidbits of science and information. And they reinforce the idea that customers are doing something that is actually good for them. Heck, even the Innocent logo is a fruity face, with a little halo above it.
Global expansions can usually dilute a company’s branding. But Innocent are staying on the straight and narrow. Despite the fact that the brand is now internationally recognized, it remains true to itself. Innocent smoothies are still just fruit and veg blended up into a bottle. And long may it stay that way.