E.g., 03/29/2020
E.g., 03/29/2020

6 Rules to Launch a Successful Global Campaign

By: Chris Scott (Business Director) - Venga Global

21 June 2017

Putting together a global campaign can be daunting. Being responsible for an effective campaign for markets which may be outside of your expertise and experience puts real pressure on marketing teams and agency relationships. However, if you take smart steps and use specialists in the right areas and at the right times, backed up by expert project management, you can construct your campaign for success internationally.

This article will help you to identify common pitfalls that occur, and also highlight 6 rules to make sure your desired message reaches key audiences in key markets.

Global Campaign Headaches

I have lost count of the number of times I have spoken to senior marketers from global brands about the challenges of rolling out a campaign to several markets around the world. The same things come up again and again. For example:

  • I spend my time firefighting the logistics of campaigns, answering queries from the markets, stressing over whether launch dates will be met
  • I want to run a centralized campaign structure but the agencies I work with don’t seem to be able to create content which really resonates locally
  • I don’t know what the markets are doing and who they use to create campaigns. I can’t tell if they’re sticking to the global brand guidelines
  • We invest heavily in creating assets centrally, then the local markets say they’re not relevant and so they create their own
  • I need to justify my marketing budget in terms of ROI, but I can’t get the necessary data
  • The agencies I work with don’t seem to communicate well together, so we have missed deadlines

These worries are real, but they can be mitigated!

6 Rules for Success

Global marketing campaigns succeed when brands value the role of international adaptation.

From my 17 years’ experience in global campaign implementation and with a team of experts keeping up to date on the latest global marketing trends, we’ve put together 6 rules to help you avoid the many pitfalls of adapting campaigns globally:

1. Plan in Advance for the International Adaptation Phase

Too often marketers focus all their energies on the creative content in English for the US or UK market, without investing enough thought into the effectiveness of the campaign in other markets around the world. The cost and impact of re-working the campaign at the international adaptation phase can be significant and painful.

The solution is to involve global adaptation specialists during the master creative phase. They will be able to offer feedback on concepts which will ‘translate’ well internationally, including testing concepts in the local markets. The levels of customization for each international market can also be planned.

2. Customize and Personalize the Campaign for your International Market

We know that one size doesn’t fit all internationally. Use in-market creative specialists to create targeted content which will resonate with the social groups you are focusing on in the locations to which you are marketing. (For example: headlines, copy, taglines, images etc.)

3. Select the Best Independent Agencies Across All Disciplines of your Campaigns

The best in class marketing agencies know what they’re good at and will focus on that discipline, whether that is creation, transcreation, media buying, SEO, production etc. No one can be good at everything. If you select the right agencies to work with, they should be happy working together with other agencies specializing in different fields of expertise and fitting into each other’s and the client’s ecosystems. This way you the brand marketer get the best agencies working for you which fit your global needs.

4.  Project Management is Key

For your global campaign to be successful, it needs to be well planned, managed, and executed. This may seem obvious but is often under-estimated and can lead to unfulfilled global campaigns. I’ve seen campaigns fall apart due to poor time management and a lack of communication between all stakeholders.

If you as a global marketer are spending your time firefighting to get campaigns out on time, that will often prevent you from thinking strategically about your global marketing objectives.

Your adaptations agency should be able to project manage the global implementation of the campaign for you. Great project managers work back from a campaign deadline, will orchestrate a meeting at the start of the process with all of the relevant agencies in the ecosystem to ensure clear tasks and responsibilities. They will have the ability to effectively communicate with all of the involved parties throughout the lifecycle of the campaign preparation, to ensure their strands of the project are completed to a high quality and on time, which will all come together in time for the launch.

5. Don’t Translate your Campaign; Do Transcreate

This is a common pitfall in which a lot of brands are currently falling. More than ever before in today’s ever-changing world of digital and social media, brand messaging including taglines, headlines, and marketing copy needs to be adapted specifically for each market to make sure it’s culturally relevant to its intended audience.

Translating marketing and advertising copy can seriously damage the global brand, which will alienate the target audience and in some cases cause offence. For example, many social media campaigns translated from US English into Chinese have failed.

The most effective global campaigns involve using in-market content creation specialists who will do their research and create content specifically targeted to their audience in each market, or transcreation, where copy is culturally adapted from the master creative, to convey the same meaning in the local language and resonate with the local target audience. 

6. Be Clear on Marketing Budgets

If you are running a global campaign, being aware of where the budgets lie will have an impact on the campaign. If budgets are central, global teams will have more control, so it’s important to communicate effectively with the local markets so they don’t feel alienated.

You may want to include local marketing managers in an approval process whereby global brand guidelines need to be adhered to. If the budgets lie locally, the local markets will need to clearly see the benefits of centralized working and it needs to be clearly communicated whether they must use the central resource or if they have the autonomy to go it alone.

Going it alone can sometimes be successful of course, but you may want to think about using brand guardians who ensure the consistency of the brand messaging when a local resource is used. Your adaptations agency should be able to do this for you.

Chris Scott, Business Director at Venga Global, started his career managing global marketing & advertising campaigns for international brands and has held various technology, leadership and quality management roles in the industry. Chris's main area of focus is building global creative solutions & models with clients across various industries. Chris in an English speaking native and speaks French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish and German.