Why global campaigns fail and how to prevent this

When it comes to adapting your global campaign and delivering marketing messages to local audiences, we like to keep a piece of advice from the World Advertising Research Center front of mind: “Creativity is most effective when it is distinctive, emotional, novel, well-branded and has some longevity.”

We couldn’t agree more. And just as WARC provides marketers and strategists with essential insights, we’ve been helping brands reach audiences around the world for years. Here we take a look WARC’s words through a localisation lens.


Make it novel

You’ve spent considerable money and energy building a stellar global campaign. But now is not the time for complacency. All too often, a tagline is simply translated before rolling out creative to local markets and this approach simply isn’t good enough. In fact, it’s one of the most common pitfalls of global marketing. That’s why every global strategy must consider market specifics to come up with creative that’s consistent with the brand but customised to local audiences. 

In coming up with an effective localisation strategy, every element of your classic marketing mix will need reassessing: target audience, competition within the category, product offering and so on. And that’s not an easy task when dealing with multiple markets. Carrying out in-depth research – both qualitative and quantitive – will reassure you that your global strategy is suited to each local market’s reality. In addition, it will allow you to segment your target audience more precisely to deliver more targeted content. 

To deliver novel creative, be sure to rely as much as possible on in-market experts, as they will have insider knowledge. You can reach out to local marketing specialists within your company, as they will know your local audience and should have access to some of the data you need in terms of demographics or competition. In addition, consider investing in external local market research.


Make it emotional

You want your campaign to provoke an emotional response – such as fostering a sense of community, inspiring and motivating people, or providing comfort and reassurance. However, get the creative wrong in a local market and your campaign could provoke an entirely unplanned emotional response – like anger, offence or ridicule. That’s because words, imagery and sentiments are received differently depending on the cultural context. 

Cultural checks can prevent wasted time and money on last-minute amends and ensure a brand avoids risking reputational damage. When looking for ways to have an impact in local markets, be sure to gather insights and carry out creative adaptation at every stage of the process. And, once your global creative is finalised, ensure it adheres to local cultural codes and regulations by getting it validated by in-market experts.


Make it distinctive

A memorable marketing message is an effective marketing message – so long as it has an impact for all the right reasons. Part of your brand’s ability to stand out in a competitive environment will rely on what goes on behind the scenes. In other words, the effectiveness of its production processes and ability to optimise its creative resources. Whether your content creation is handled in-house, sits with a third-party agency or implementation partner, or is managed through a hybrid approach, a clear set of brand guidelines will ensure consistency. 

And when it comes to communication and collaboration, clear guidance around local

creative regulations and technical requirements will keep external and internal teams aligned. Otherwise, you may end up with a creative that misses the mark or doesn’t work with media placements. To prevent this pitfall, ensure that your media, production and creative teams are aligned at the very start of your campaign and agree on a list of deliverables based on local media plans.


Make it well-branded 

Every successful global brand has achieved the same marketing goal: their branding and messaging are recognised worldwide. And while we often talk about the importance of ensuring consistency through brand guardianship, in this context ‘consistency’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘the same’ – and that’s because cultural adaptation may be required. 

So while your message may slightly differ from one market to another, brand consistency ensures you have a unified voice and identity as a brand. In this way, you address your audience with a consistent impact across all target markets. Back to those all-important guidelines, which should be reviewed at the start of each campaign to ensure there’s room for creative solutions while staying within the parameters of the brand.

As your global brand guardian, we provide expert advice and worldwide brand governance to ensure that your purpose-driven campaigns are consistent and compliant. At the same time, our team of global creative production experts deliver powerful localised assets informed by genuine cultural insights.

Find out how we can prevent failure and ensure your global campaign succeeds in local markets by getting in touch.