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How Global Brad Compete

In: Business and Management

Submitted By ruby26601
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How Global Brands Compete
When a brand is marketed around the world, that fact alone gives it an aura of excellence-and a set of obligations.To maximize the value of global reach, companies must manage both.

68

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

by Douglas B. Holt, John A. Quelch, and Earl LTaylor

I

More than two decades ago, Harvard Business School professor
Theodore Levitt provocatively declared in a 1983 HBR article, "The Globalization of Markets" that a global market for uniform products and services had emerged.
He argued that corporations should exploit the "economics of simplicity" and grow by selling standardized products all over the world. Although Levitt did not explicitly discuss branding, managers interpreted his ideas to mean that transnational companies should standardize products, packaging, and communication to achieve a leastcommon denominator positioning that would be effective across cultures. From that commonsense standpoint, global branding was only about saving costs and ensuring consistent customer communication. The idea proved popular in the 1980s, when several countries opened up to foreign competition and American and Japanese corporations tried to penetrate those markets with global brands and marketing programs.
T'S TIME TO RETHINK GLOBAL BRANDING.

While the world economy continued to integrate, experiments with global branding soon slowed. Consumers

SEPTEMBER 2004

in most countries had trouble relating to the generic products and communications that resulted from companies' least-common-denominator thinking. Executives therefore rushed to fashion hybrid strategies. They strove for global scale on backstage activities such as technology, production, and organization but made sure product features, communications, distribution, and selling techniques were customized to local consumer tastes. Such...

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