Q: What approach should brands be taking in international markets and how should you organise agency relationships accordingly?
In my experience, consistency is best achieved when a global brand team works with a lead strategic agency to ensure the brand purpose and communications strategy, along with brand guidelines, are clearly understood by the local teams and agencies. Typically the lead agency would also create the assets to be used across multiple markets.
Q: Where does the responsibility lie in terms of ensuring global campaigns are effective – with the brand or agency?
It has to be both. Brand teams and agencies should be incentivised and rewarded based on global effectiveness.
Q: Do you think it’s better to have agency and/or brand teams in each market to implement campaigns locally?
Ideally local brand teams should be working with powerful global assets that have cross-market appeal. They’re then more likely to feel invested in activating the communications and make a more powerful impact at a local level. Of course working with the right local partners is key, as is having the right mind-set.
Q: Should brands be using insights from local markets they are targeting to inform campaigns?
Localised research is important, but ideally it shouldn’t cause the local team to stray too far from the global communications platform. Local teams will know how best to activate an idea, for example it’s pointless for a global team to suggest a Facebook-based campaign for China [as the social network is blocked there].
However, the local Chinese team should be able to adapt the key elements of the global campaign and execute on an appropriate channel like Sina Weibo, for example.