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4 Keys To Successful Multi-Market Engagement

Posted By: SGK April 22, 2014

Technology, travel and lower trade barriers have made multi-market launches a reality for global brands – who are now challenged to live up to what it means to be “global.” And that’s where things get complicated, notes our Bryan Hara, Director, Global & US Accounts, Asia Pacific. 

The advantages of a broad deployment are obvious (such as the opportunity to leverage brand assets of all kinds, supply chain efficiencies, etc.), but the pitfalls aren’t always so clear. Sometimes brands realize them only when products reach the market and find that valuable brand assets haven’t been protected in the production stages – such as when the message on packaging has been diluted or there are troubling inconsistencies across regions. 

In other cases, the creation and selling stages aren’t handled ideally and shoppers react badly to package artwork and copy for cultural or political reasons.

But smart brands can overcome these challenges and avoid these pitfalls. Here’s how:

1. DON’T ASSUME YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT
It’s not uncommon for even the most sophisticated brand to discover distressing inconsistencies across markets – to discover, in other words, that their oversight isn’t as centralized as they thought. The logistics of systematically inspecting and comparing all manifestations of a brand across multiple markets are difficult. But it has to be done, whether it involves considerable travel, considerable shipping costs, specialized graphics management software or a combination these. Protecting a brand in this way is key to profitability in the long run.

2. MEET REGULATORY DEMANDS
Your brand absolutely has to be on top of legal, environmental, nutritional, dosage and “period-after-opening” requirements, to name just a few. These can vary in seemingly arbitrary ways across seemingly similar markets, so your brand needs to develop an airtight matrix of these requirements well before the design stage – to ensure accuracy and to best leverage asset synergies across markets.

Regulatory demands like these are doubly challenging because of their impact on creative: it’s tremendous. But the smartest brands are extremely forward-thinking about which core elements must remain on packages and how they can be deployed in desirable and profitable ways. And they do this thinking across packs, bottles, cans, wraps, etc., and across sizes and channels.

3. MEET MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES
Theoretically, every one of the challenges mentioned above can be conquered with foresight, planning, insight and communication. But what marketing challenge can’t? Where multi-market launches are concerned, there are special issues. 

Oversight is key here, but that can vary from brand to brand. If the packaging group coordinates the work of regional managers, the results tend to be better than when marketing is the keeper and project manager. This is not an indictment of marketers but a simple fact – that ensuring widespread consistency and effectiveness requires the pragmatic organizational approach that is innate with the packaging group.

4. GET OUTSIDE HELP
Fortunately, outside agencies now offer every kind of expertise mentioned above, and more. Employing them can result in significant net gains thanks to efficiency, consistency and error-free deployment across markets. SGK is just one example of partners who can offer services and technologies like these:

• Overall project management
• Vendor management, including the consolidation of design, premedia and print partners for efficiency and consistency
• Centralized brand governance across the entire creative and executional process
• Graphics artwork management technology, including asset library, collaborative proofing and workflow management
• Cloud-based print quality management services that collate all print-quality data in real time and encourage more intelligent launches and quicker learning curves in new markets
• Expertise on pertinent regulatory requirements
• Expertise on aesthetic and cultural considerations

Whether your brand handles these elements in-house or with partners, they are crucial for successful multi-market launches and continued growth. Multi-market ambitions require deep insights, strong logistics and planning, excellent communication and consistent processes.