How globalisation and multiple channels threaten branding
Brand beauty is only skin deep, it seems, with many companies reporting that they still find it difficult to provide a consistent customer experience and a unified brand image, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit report.
The 'Guarding the Brand' report (sponsored by information management firm SDL) found that many companies are fighting to present a unified brand due to the pressures of globalisation and multiple channels.
A perceived problem In fact, 45% of the 145 senior executives questioned agreed that delivering a consistent customer experience across both online and offline channels is difficult. By contrast, only one-third believed their company's brand was maintained consistently across all primary customer touch points.
Face-to-face customer contact was viewed as the biggest challenge to creating a consistent customer experience and upholding brand values according to 65% of respondents. Other channels that presented major difficulties were marketing materials such as brochures and direct mail (39%) and customer-facing physical presences (31%).
Territorial issues And while increasing numbers of companies are operating outside their home markets, almost half (49%) the respondents believed expanding into new territories made brand management all the more difficult. They cited cultural differences (63%) and language barriers and translations issues (44%) as the main barriers.
"Mobile phones, blogs and podcasts have emerged as new and exciting channels to market, while the move toward globalisation is opening up new territories," said James Watson, the report's editor. "However, businesses need to understand that a unified brand is about so much more than having a fancy logo or flashy advertising."
Seamless channels According to Dr Chris Boorman, CMO for report sponsor SDL International, companies wanting to develop and maintain their brand value must ensure they reach across all channels and present a consistent, positive customer experience regardless of their physical location.
The research also found that two-thirds of those questioned had already found that, by going the extra mile and adapting their messages and material to local markets or channels, they experienced a significant uplift in sales.
The report has been made available for download from SDL's web site - click here (156Kb PDF document, free registration required).