Operate Globally, Brand Locally

Stickiness at the local level helps drive brand growth globally.

Global reach for many companies is an avenue for strategic growth. While pursuing that worldwide market expansion, however, brand building quickly must take a local and personal approach. Today companies and product management teams, even at small businesses, can overcome competition, push toward brand dominance, and develop customer loyalty by creating a local "stickiness" within clearly defined marketplaces.

Brand-building platforms for startups and lesser-known products on a global basis are more easily and quickly built than ever before. It's now all about universal availability of company and product information, which has greatly increased due to worldwide access.

However, with the plethora of information sources, can the end user find the information they want, when they want it? How do small businesses develop and consistently communicate their brand's uniqueness on a worldwide basis?

In conjunction with an effective long-term brand building effort, many companies are using "local" strategies, featuring tactical vehicles to create "stickiness" at the micro-market level. Clearly communicating a unique position to a targeted user group can rapidly elevate a company's product status. Messaging to micro-markets can be approached geographically (regionally, by metropolitan area, even by neighborhood), within interest groups (veterans, entrepreneurs, commuters, alumni, fantasy football participants, Dachshund owners), by product usage (gym members, South Carolina golfers, frequent flyers), intra-company groups, and so on.

More and more companies are attempting to drive their overall position via electronic media. The most noteworthy online driver today is social networking. And, within the most popular social networking sites, some companies have started targeting specific user groups. This approach is often one part of a Web optimization spider-web including social networks, blog publishing, electronic newsletters, e-billboard sales messaging, online video usage, digital messaging, online shopping mechanisms, Web landing pages with special messaging, and website rich content targeting these user groups.

Stickiness, or traction at the grassroots level, comes when user groups embrace a particular forum, and the user conversation transcends knowledge of a product, beyond brand loyalty, to a point of authored endorsement and "ownership." Beneficial propulsion of the brand, as well as managing any negative brand impact, can be attained quickly through active end-user participation. This is particularly true within electronic media.

Whether employing electronic media, neighborhood promotions, sponsored events, or other "grassroots" communication campaigns to create stickiness at the user level, brand management teams must consider both a high-growth response plan and, unfortunately, a crisis management plan for the particular brand and product line.

As technology advances, our world becomes smaller each day. Yet, building an enduring brand still remains rooted in filling a relevant marketplace need, communicating clearly, and executing sales and service flawlessly. Electronic media have certainly made gaining traction within each marketplace a faster process.

The keys to building an enduring brand still remain. Do your products match the needs of the marketplace? Is your product positioning easily understood to establish uniqueness without explanation? Is there an effective purchase cycle from channel consumption, through purchase experience, to service? Without seamless execution in these three areas, no company can build an enduring brand.

"Stickiness" is the result of effective tactical communication of your brand to a more-and-more sophisticated "localized" audience. Targeted and convincing communication that embraces and involves the customer will build a lasting community. So, be smart: Make your brand stick!

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About the Author: David Parker III, is director, A&D Trust, of AIM Mail Centers