Successful purpose-led global marketing is informed by local insight, and driven by a carefully considered strategy. So, for this next chapter, we decided to sit down with Freedman’s very own Global Strategy Director, Matthias Gray. We discuss what the Cultural Reset means from a strategic point of view, and how global marketers can go beyond buzzwords to achieve truly authentic marketing everywhere.
Thinking about how people responded to the difficulties of 2020 around the globe, what does the ‘great cultural reset’ mean to you in terms of global marketing?
In 2020, the world turned upside down. What we once knew worked suddenly didn’t.
Moving forward, we should see this as an opportunity to imagine a better future. That’s why it’s important to pause for a moment, reflect on the parameters of the past, learn from the failings and start afresh by adjusting to the new reality.
For global marketing, this means leaving a world behind that was characterised by:
- The inside-out perspective – marketing organisations that put themselves and their ideas about the world centre-stage, instead of viewing it from the point of view of their consumers.
- Creative ideas that didn’t have the legs to reach down through an increasingly complex digital ecosystem to local consumers.
- Rigid, inflexible organisational structures and processes.
- Teams that lacked collaboration, especially across borders.
And, looking to the future, there are 3 imperatives for the post-reset world of global marketing:
- Refocusing on why your organisation exists and who it is built for. Finding a strong sense of purpose – built around the company’s values and, most importantly, your consumer – is more important than ever.
- Putting the human element back into global marketing. Fostering this human connection will build a bond between the brand and the consumer, helping you to understand them better and reach them with more meaningful local storytelling.
- Good consumer understanding is an essential ingredient for agility. Setting up journeys and ways of working that revolve around the consumer will make drawing the line from global to local a lot easier.
Brand authenticity is an overused buzzword, but it’s also something that audiences demand. How can brands go beyond the buzzword, and be truly relevant when it comes to purpose marketing?
Authenticity shouldn’t be a buzzword. I would prefer to see authenticity as an ethical standard for organisations, ensuring that they act faithfully towards themselves and towards their consumers.
3 things global marketers must do:
- Build out from the brand DNA; set a believable purpose and role which will lead to authentic communication.
- Walk the walk: use proof points to support any promise or claim from a consumer and brand perspective (e.g. features). Stay true to promises made. Drive change locally.
- Talk the talk: Take a stand. Don’t shy away from debate and make your point. Be open to feedback and/or discussion.
Does a brand’s global purpose always translate locally? How should brands approach purpose when thinking about in-market activations?
A brand’s global purpose should work locally. A solid brand purpose sets a global narrative. It is based on values and a mission that’s rooted in the brand’s DNA. It should resonate with everyone who connects with the brand, beyond borders.
Purpose-driven companies inherently understand what they stand for and who they are best built to serve, regardless of what they sell today. However, there is a risk of ‘purpose’ being seen as an abstract construct. This is because many brands fail to extend the narrative meaningfully to where people experience the brand: in their local markets, in their channels, in their language and through the lens of their culture.
So, it’s key to substantiate the brand’s purpose through on-the-ground initiatives. Brands must inject meaning into words by visible and honest activations that tell the purpose story through the local lens.
In your opinion, how can brands make sure they understand the different cultural viewpoints surrounding diversity?
A good starting point is to listen and establish the lay of the land. Each country is unique, from its heritage to culture. Down to the adversities people face, being born and growing up in a less-advantageous neighbourhood, etc.
Understanding those cultural nuances, the barriers that people face and the public discourse around the subject matter, will allow you to understand the whole situation.
In my experience, covering multiple territories with limited central research capabilities is a tough ask. At Freedman, we believe the key to understanding a different cultural viewpoint is having ears on the ground. Working with experts in-market that not only speak the language, but also have the ability to identify relevant aspects of the challenge and can interpret them accordingly.
Can you tell us about how Freedman helped a well-known recruitment company deliver a workplace belonging campaign to global audiences?
We are working with both the global marketing organisation and local teams, acting as the ‘glue’ that brings them together. We make sure information travels in both directions and to the right people.
This requires collaboration: putting the tracks down together to enable fast and efficient creative development, and to make the roll-out of the campaign across multiple local markets as seamless as possible.
Part of Freedman’s role includes the development of the global to local strategy. We’re building a framework that will allow the big global creative idea to shine and to set the scene. Following this, we’re making sure that individual stories in-market take into account local nuances.
To aid creative development, we provide the central and local creative teams with deep insights around the local labour force, creating springboards for locally relevant stories. This is all made possible thanks to our unique network of in-market strategists.
Last but not least, we’re helping with the localisation and transcreation of assets.
Find out more
If any of Matthias’s points struck a chord, or if you’d like to know more about how Freedman helps global brands deliver purpose-led messaging around the world, feel free to get in touch. Local creative strategy is our speciality, and we’re always here to help.
Or, if you’d like to know more about purpose driven marketing on a global scale, download our latest guide – Global Marketing Next: The Great Cultural Reset.