12.6 Managing Key Strategic Brands

Companies must also think about how to globally manage and monitor key strategic brands to ensure that they build and retain their integrity, visibility, and value. This entails assigning brand custody or appointing a brand champion responsible for approving brand extensions and monitoring brand positioning.

One option is to negotiate the harmonization of specific brand positions between corporate headquarters and country managers. This is appropriate for firms with strong country management that operate in product markets where brands were historically tailored to local market characteristics.

A more proactive and increasingly popular solution is to appoint a brand champion responsible for building and managing a brand worldwide. This includes monitoring the consistency of the brand positioning in international markets as well as authorizing the use of the brand (brand extensions) on other products or other product businesses. The brand champion can be a senior manager at corporate headquarters, a country manager, or a product development group. It is critical that the brand champion report directly to top management and have clear authority to sanction or refuse brand extensions to other product lines and product businesses so as to maintain the integrity of the brand and avoid brand dilution.

A third option is to centralize control of brands within a global product division. This approach is likely to be most effective when the business is targeted to a specific global market segment, with new products or brands, when there is greater consistency in market characteristics across countries, and when the company’s administrative heritage has only a limited history of strong country management.

Benefits of Corporate Branding

Graphic showing the logos of all the examples of successful corporate brands: Microsoft, Intel, Singapore Airlines, Disney, CNN, Samsung, and Mercedes
Fig 12.2 “Effective Corporate Brands” by Alyssa Giles CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Corporations around the world are increasingly becoming aware of the enhanced value that corporate branding strategies can provide. A strong corporate branding strategy can add significant value in terms of helping the entire corporation and the management team with implementing its long-term vision, creating unique positions in the marketplace for the company and its brands, and signalling a commitment to a broader set of stakeholder issues. An effective corporate branding strategy, therefore, enables the company to leverage its tangible and nontangible assets and promote excellence throughout the corporation. To be effective and meet such objectives, corporate branding requires a high level of personal attention and commitment from the CEO and the senior management. Examples of effective corporate brands include Microsoft, Intel, Singapore Airlines, Disney, CNN, Samsung, and Mercedes. In recent years, the global financial powerhouses HSBC and Citibank have both acquired a vast number of companies across the globe and have fully adopted them under their international corporate brands with great success and within a relatively short time frame. All these companies understand that a well-executed corporate branding strategy can confer significant benefits.

Corporate Brand as the “Face of the Company”

A strong corporate brand acts as the face of the company, portraying what it wants to do and what it wants to be known for in the marketplace. In other words, the corporate brand is the umbrella for the corporation’s activities and encapsulates its vision, values, personality, positioning, and image, among many other dimensions. Think of HSBC. It employs the same slogan—“The world’s local bank”—around the world. This creative platform enables the corporation to portray itself as a bridge between cultures.

Cost Savings

A corporate branding strategy is often more cost-efficient than a multibrand architecture. Specifically, corporate branding produces efficiencies in terms of marketing and advertising spending as the corporate brand replaces budgets for individual product marketing efforts. Even a combined corporate and product branding strategy can often enable management to reduce costs and exploit synergies from a new and more focused brand architecture. The Apple brand has established a very strong position of being a design-driven and innovative company offering many types of products and services. Their corporate brand encapsulates the body and soul of the company, and the main messages from the company use the corporate Apple brand. Various sub-brands then help to identify the individual product lines.

Core Principles of International Marketing – Chapter 9.5 by Babu John Mariadoss is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


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Global Marketing In a Digital World Copyright © 2022 by Lina Manuel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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