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Summit Stories: Coordinating global marketing for one brand in 23 countries

by Nate Holmes, October 19, 2016

As a global brand, you don’t have one “global” audience. Your audience consists of multiple regional and local audiences. Within each of those audiences are specific stories to capture and tell. Those stories don’t just magically appear. There has to be an initiative to find, capture, and then share them. It takes communication and collaboration. When it happens, it’s a powerful tool to connecting your brand to your specific audiences.

How do you collaborate with teams spanning 23 countries, five core languages, and 15 time zones? This is a challenge for FINCA, an international 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation that offers microfinance operations. They are just one of many modern brands tasked with presenting a coherent, global brand. Seth Spiro, Director of Marketing at FINCA, shared how FINCA is approaching these challenges during the 2016 Widen Summit.

Building a coherent global brand

The reality with a 50-page brand guidelines document

Brand guidelines are important for maintaining a consistent brand. They give your teams insight into the who, what, why, and how of the brand. But a 50-page document of brand standards alone won’t grow a global brand. It’s just one piece that needs to be paired with client stories and the content to communicate them.
Seth and his team found that a big brand guidelines alone won’t engage teams around the world after releasing one. “It [a new brand guidelines doc] had all the rules and it looked really great.” The challenge they were facing, he says, was “the brand wasn’t really coming to life. And there was no real effort to share across these countries, the wonderful work that was happening.” Seth went on to say there was, “no real [use of] the brand in a way that was driving us forward.”

Have you invested a significant amount of time and money into a global brand initiative only to find your teams around the globe to be unresponsive?

A global brand has to market to local and regional audiences

Your target audience isn’t everyone. There isn’t one collective “global” audience that your team can focus on. Your audience consists of many local audiences. When you’re trying to market to everyone using the same exact language and photographs, you end up with cliche stock photography that no one relates to. 

Finding their headquarters’ new branding initiative lacking movement, Seth and his team set out to empower their marketing teams across the 23 countries to capture and share those individual stories. These stories would then become core to the FINCA brand.

Empower and trust your marketing teams to deliver local marketing campaigns

Your global story is made up of local stories

A global brand can’t be a one-way street out of the headquarters. Guidance and direction from headquarters is important, but your global strategy shouldn’t ignore the value of those closest to the audience the brand is speaking to. There needs to be an exchange of ideas and content between headquarters and the teams around the globe. This extends your brand’s reach and gives your global teams ownership of the brand.

FINCA’s story shines brightest when they highlight their client’s story, the individuals around the world using FINCA loans to advance their business and support their family. Julia Maria lxchop Us De Ventura bustles every day to make hot meals in her packed restaurant in the Boca Del Monte market in Guatemala City. With help from FINCA’s individual loans, she was able to pay for her stove and pans and for renovating the seating area of her restaurant. “FINCA trusted me,” she said. “Without FINCA, I wouldn’t have been able to upgrade my business. And I thank God for having so many customers.”

The story of Julia Maria lxchop Us De Ventura puts a face to the work of FINCA. FINCA’s story becomes more vivid when they get specific, local stories. “We needed a change from us pushing out materials and...[managing] the brand to allow creativity happening around the world to become part of the brand,” Seth said.

This kind of “allowing creativity” philosophy not only empowers local teams but provides quality stories and content for other regional teams and FINCA headquarters. With more ideas and content sharing, the more coherent and alive the brand becomes.

Connecting marketing teams across 23 countries

When working across 15 different time zones, FINCA couldn’t rely on calls to be their only means of communication, especially when dealing with developing countries’ infrastructure that can lead to frequently dropped calls. Deploying a self-service model enables teams to access what they need, when they need it.

Seth and his team set up a digital asset management (DAM) system for FINCA. The DAM system is an intuitive, accessible place where anyone can access or contribute content. It facilitates the sharing of stories and content. Creating value for these hard working marketers helped grow the system organically, where the standalone brand doc fell flat.

The DAM system functions as the central content hub for all of FINCA’s teams. It gives them the power to connect and monitor the content containing the stories they receive, and it easily gives transparency to what other teams are creating. Using a DAM system empowers headquarters, local teams, and others to collaborate — not just work individually.

How digital asset management connects 23 countries at FINCA

FINCA has a marketing director, Kenia, in Nicaragua. Kenia hires a local photographer to capture client stories, and those photographs and stories are used in local marketing campaigns. But it doesn’t stop there. The photographs are uploaded to their DAM system and reviewed for quality and assigned metadata. They’re then accessible to be used for other subsidiaries, third-party direct mail, and by headquarters for annual reports.
FINCA’s focus on empowering their local marketing teams has helped the spread of ideas, deploy marketing campaigns, and share success stories.

Read more customer stories to see how other companies are benefiting from digital asset management.

Topics: Marketing

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