You've decided to grow your brand presence—either regionally or globally. By doing so you've added two critical activities to your to-do list. First, synchronizing your messaging across across geographies. And second, tracking the impact these messages. Here we look at what it takes to create a flexible brand voice to make the former easier to manage. For a breakdown of how to extract relevant data and gain competitive intel from it, read our benchmarking tip sheet, produced in collaboration with Ragan Communications.
Defining and documenting your brand voice is an important—although sometimes difficult—step toward creating a strong brand. The idea is that without your brand’s name attached to it, your content across channels will still come across as yours to your audience.
Take that idea and apply it to global brands, with localized content teams all working with their own external resources and freelancers, and you’ve got yourself a super-sized challenge.
Luckily, there are ways to ensure your brand voice is flexible to fit within each of your markets, without sacrificing your core brand identity and values.
Even when confined to the United States, a company would be hard-pressed to use identical language across states (or within some states) and find success. Billboards in San Francisco are splattered with colloquial lingo that would make SoCal audiences turn up their noses. And those cities are only a few hundred miles apart.
Communications become complicated on a much grander scale for global brands for a multitude of reasons:
For these reasons, global brands need a flexible brand voice framework that allows regional teams to craft messages for the right platforms for their audiences.
Companies of all sizes need to document their brand voice to ensure consistency in their communications. For global brands, there are a few additional steps, but it is worth the time investment.
These three steps are the base for building your brand voice:
Here’s what this looks like in practice:
Coca-Cola Great Britain:
As you create content in your company’s primary language, you can choose what pieces you feel are appropriate to distribute across regions. Have a brand voice document that is accessible for all content creators to easily localize your content. Depending on your internal resources, you may consider using global translation firms like WeLocalize or individual translators in your regions to give a local twist to your content.
Localization is key to keeping the balance between local relevance and a standard voice, but you must anticipate an extended timeline (and additional budget) for any content launches that require regional translations.
Ensure ongoing alignment with your hub and any local teams through regular meetings to discuss upcoming content and campaign ideas, and over time your team will grow in confidence with how to use your voice.
While the process of building a strong global brand voice is a significant initial time investment, the results are worth it. A unified global brand voice will give you greater brand recognition across all your audiences, cementing your position as a global leader.
Now that you’ve got your brand voice synched across regions and you’re ready to monitor your coverage globally and track your brand on social, learn how to gain business insights—including competitive—by reading our benchmarking tip sheet, produced in collaboration with Ragan Communications.