Read this interesting article on ChiefMarketer.com this morning about how to line up efforts around a global brand. I think it’s a very good overview and especially liked the linkages between the different elements that drive global brands. There is something in here for all of us, even if we have more modest aspirations than Dove’s “making women feel better about themselves!”
However, I do think that there are two critical aspects of building global marketing teams that are under represented in the article. And these are perhaps the most significant for global marketers who are not working for a big brand committed to transformation. They are the issues of goal alignment and funding.
Often new global marketing teams are brought together around an idea rather than an actual business reorganization. In these cases, the idea is that the team should collaborate and make the magic happen. This is especially true when we are talking about corporate marketing.
Unfortunately, since the team often reports individually to their region, rather than to a central marketing org, they are faced with conflicting masters. And when there is conflict, should they serve the best interests of their local market, or to serve this nebulous concept of a global team? Absent any concrete direction/incentive otherwise, most people will pay-lip service to the global effort, while managing to their local interests.
Where the investment for the programs is coming from has a major impact on its success. If the local is expected to contribute, but doesn’t see any local market relevance or utility, there will be conflict. If the center funds the local budget, but doesn’t put any more resources on the ground to execute, there will be conflict.
So as with any strategy these issues should be thought through and addresses before roll-out to ensure success. A few thoughts on how:
- Consider pulling the team “out” of the local and formally have them report to the global organization with a dotted line back to their local countries.
- Establish clear linkages between the goals of the program, the goals of the company and the goals of the local market.
- Listen to the local markets needs to be sure what is being delivered locally is truly relevant in that market. If it’s not, ask why you are doing it. If it is, and you still don’t have support, get new people.
- Do not create unfunded mandates. Clearly articulate where the funding is coming from and who will benefit. If people are going to have to stretch, make sure they are rewarded for it either in comp or responsibility or both.
- Make sure the full weight of the org is behind the strategy, and will stick with the plan even in difficult times. If the local is not hearing that the strategy is valued by the org, no amount of the above matters, it’s doomed to fail.
And lastly, make sure you have a strong leader who can work these conflicts, get buy in, secure (and maintain) funding, and inspire the team as the author pointed out . Unfortunately the mission is rarely about changing some aspect of the world. I applaud those whose brand promise affords them this opportunity, but it’s rare. Recognize and acknowledge this truth, but still capture the imagination of your team to show what is possible. Give them a mission and vision just as you give your brand a mission and a vision, and the brand promise will be delivered.