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Research finds brand beauty is only skin deep

SDL plc

Tuesday, 30 January, 2007

SDL sponsored report reveals companies struggle to provide a consistent customer experience

Maidenhead, United Kingdom -- Companies are fighting to present a unified brand as the pressures of globalization and multiple channels to market take hold. These are the findings of "Guarding the Brand", an Economist Intelligence Unit report, sponsored by SDL, the leading provider of Global Information Management (GIM) solutions.

45 per cent of the 145 senior executives questioned agreed delivering a consistent customer experience across both online and offline channels is difficult. And an average of just one third believed their company's brand was maintained consistently across all primary customer touch points.

Face-to-face customer contact was viewed as the biggest challenge to creating a consistent customer experience and upholding brand values according to 65 per cent of respondents. Other channels that presented major difficulties were marketing materials such as brochures and direct mail (39 per cent) and customer-facing physical presences (31 per cent).

Whilst increasing numbers of companies are operating outside their home markets, almost half (49 per cent) the respondents believed expanding into new territories made brand management all the more difficult. They cited cultural differences (63 per cent) and language barriers and translations issues (44 per cent) as the main barriers.

"Mobile phones, blogs and podcasts have become new and exciting channels to market whilst the move towards globalization is opening up new territories," said James Watson, the report's editor. "However, businesses need to understand that a unified brand is about so much more than having a fancy logo or flashy advertising."

"Companies wanting to develop and maintain their brand value must ensure they reach across all channels and present a consistent, positive customer experience regardless of their physical location," added Dr. Chris Boorman, chief marketing officer at SDL International. "This research shows that two-thirds of those questioned found that by going the extra mile and adapting messages and material to the local market or channel they experienced a significant uplift in sales as a direct result. Organizations from a variety of sectors such as Philips, Best Western and Deutsche Bank are setting the standards for best practice global information management by using technology to optimize localization resources and underpin all customer communications."

The "Guarding the Brand" report is now available.

About "Guarding the Brand"
Guarding the Brand is an Economist Intelligence Unit briefing paper, sponsored by SDL International. The research is based on a survey of 145 executives from across the globe, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit between March and April 2006, as well as in-depth interviews with senior brand executives at six firms worldwide.

About SDL International
SDL International (London Stock Exchange: "SDL") is the leader in global information management (GIM) solutions that empower organizations to accelerate the delivery of high-quality multilingual content to global markets. Its enterprise software and services integrate with existing business systems to manage global information from authoring to publication and throughout the distributed localisation supply chain.

Global industry leaders rely on SDL to provide enterprise software or hosted services for the GIM processes, including Audi, Bayer, Best Western, Bosch, Canon, Deutsche Bank, Kodak, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Reuters and SAP. SDL has implemented more than 150 enterprise GIM solutions, has deployed over 130,000 software licences across the GIM ecosystem and provides access to on-demand translation portals for 10 million customers per month. Over 1000 service professionals deliver consulting, implementation and language services through its global infrastructure of more than 50 offices in 30 countries. For more information, visit www.sdl.com.

All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

About the Economist Intelligence Unit
The Economist Intelligence Unit is the business information arm of The Ecomomist Group, publisher of The Economist. Through our global network of over 650 analysts, we continuously assess and forecast politcal, economic and business conditions in 200 countries. As the world's leading provider of country intelligence, we help executives make better business decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies.

For more information on SDL, please contact:
Dr. Chris Boorman
SDL International
[email protected]