When a brand goes through a period of rapid growth, taking it from a regionally established name to global status, it can be challenging for the marketing operational strategy to adapt and evolve with the speed required to support this newfound status as a global player.
Knowledge, experience, and expertise can be concentrated within the central resources that helped drive the expansive growth in the first place, but it can be challenging to relinquish that centralised control of marketing execution.
However, as central processes become bloated with the complexity that comes with doing everything all through one central organisational team, the potential ROI of supporting a devolved local model can become tantalising:
• The potential for improved speed to market via avoiding bottlenecks within a fully centralised process
• Simplify the average level of project complexity by allowing projects to focus on smaller clusters of markets, reducing the total amount of source inputs required
• The agility to respond to local market opportunities or needs without navigating the internal processes of a disconnected headquarters
• The opportunity to utilise local partners for local needs
• Potentially lower overall cost of internal resources to manage the delivery of assets
But brand decision makers understand that establishing local or regional teams to manage market activity is not risk-free. Brands may fear letting go of some of that control and experience to newly built teams geographically separate from their brand marketing.
If you are currently considering your own balance of central vs regional operational control, here are three tips to help maximise the chance for a successful change in control dynamic.
Establish, align, and maintain brand and packaging guidelines
Brand guidelines and packaging guidelines are no innovation, however, tightly defining brand and packaging components and aligning this with local stakeholders becomes critical when transitioning operational control away from central teams to regional and local hubs.
Guidelines created and updated by global brand marketing minimise brand risk and promote consistent ways of working, without the need for constant active communication on expectation of practices.
Not only do these materials support general process efficiencies regardless of organisational set-up, but they also become of even greater importance when handing responsibility for execution over to teams that are not deeply integrated within the brand decision makers.
Consider direct reporting lines back to central
A lack of deep integration with global brand marketing can present potential challenges. Organisations must know how to navigate establishing a local operational presence for the execution of marketing assets that ensures these new local teams are able to feel as an extension of the central team, with common objectives, responsibilities and a shared team culture.
When separate by time-zones and potentially sitting with totally distinct organisational groups, it can be easy for local teams to feel siloed from their central equivalents.
Ease these challenges by having a tightly designed organisation model, that has dotted line reporting (at the very least) back to global marketing operational leadership who can set the culture for all resource hubs. These operational leaders can in turn make their life easier by establishing clear data reporting to always have full transparency of global performance.
Establish consistent KPI reporting for all regional hubs
Operational KPIs remain a critical tool for leadership and key decision makers to have transparency of current state immediately. The challenge is that when working in a siloed fashion, what teams choose to report and how they choose to report can become misaligned and local teams may choose different reporting practices they feel suit their needs better.
This should be avoided where possible as it becomes significantly challenging to be able to evaluate continuous improvement opportunities when just establishing the clear and accurate picture of current performance is difficult.
Clearly understood and consistent KPIs such as project cycle time (time from initiation to completion) and Right The First Time (% of projects approved without an amendment loop) help drive transparency of operational effectiveness and can provide teams separated geographically with simple to comprehend common goals, an incentive to share best practices, and innovations to support improvement.
These tips do not guarantee that moving to more locally-driven brand execution is a success as it requires tailoring to the organisation in question, but they do provide practical support for any business considering their current model.
To learn more about how SGK Consulting can support your marketing operational resource design, please get in touch with our experts.
About Thomas Hopley
Tom graduated with a Master in Political Economy and is a Prosci Change Management and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt practitioner. At SGK he has worked on key Consultancy projects across CPG and Retail, spanning process improvement, financial analysis, cost reduction, KPI measurement and resource modelling. Tom has also been involved in managing the development and implementation of innovation products.