As consumers, media and even national economies become more similar, marketers themselves are giving local markets bigger roles as they-and their ad agencies-scour the world for ideas that will cross borders.
"Many more countries are now capable of developing brand viewpoints or positionings that can be applied on a worldwide basis," said John J. Dooner, Jr., chairman-CEO of McCann-Erickson Worldwide.
MARKETERS TAKING ADVANTAGE
Marketers are taking advantage of that. Colgate-Palmolive has set up centers of excellence around the world, clustering countries with geographic, linguistic or cultural affinity to use the same ad campaigns and marketing plans.
Unilever is extending the innovation centers it opened a few years ago for personal care products to its food businesses, starting with ice cream. In addition to innovation centers for oral care products in Milan and haircare in Paris, there are now similar centers for developing product ideas, research, technology and marketing expertise for ice cream products in Rome, Hamburg, London, Paris and Green Bay, Wis.; before yearend, Bangkok is to be added for the Asian market.
GLOBAL CATEGORY DIRECTORS
At London-based household products company Reckitt & Colman, a recent management reorganization created global category directors for the company's four core areas, based in Sydney, Paris, New York and London.
"The old global view was that a centrally developed brand idea could be made relevant in just about any market, depending on how it was adapted," Mr. Dooner said. "The reality of the new globalism is that a brand viewpoint that starts out being relevant in one market can become relevant in others, because of the nature of converging consumers. Creative ideas literally can come from anywhere, as long as there is the coordinated system for developing, recognizing and disseminating these ideas. Countries that once were thought of as only being on the receiving end of global ideas can now also be the creators and exporters of these ideas."
Countries have an edge if there is strong local development in a particular product category, such as haircare in France and Thailand, creating an abundance of research and development talent. Local management or brands with a history or sensitivity to the core competence also can help win an international role, Mr. Dooner said.
Or a local market just may come up with the most captivating creative idea. A Nescafe campaign now running in 10 countries for the Nestle brand originated at McCann in Chile. In one spot, a son initially disappoints his father by refusing to get up early to go fishing, then reconsiders and brings him a cup of coffee.
TEST MARKETING SPOTS
Some countries are carving out roles as test markets for potential international brands. Brazil is an active test market used by Procter & Gamble and Colgate before rollouts to the rest of Latin America. In Europe, P&G has picked Ireland as a bellwether for the region. Unilever tests in Thailand, the first market for its hair-root-nourishing Organics shampoo. Later, Unilever quickly rolled it out across Asia, Europe, and Latin America to challenge P&G's Pantene Pro-V brand.
Fiat chose Brazil this year as the Italian automaker's trial market for its new world car, the Palio (see story, page I-31).
`SEARCH AND RE-APPLY'
DDB Needham Worldwide uses U.S. research company Market Access, acquired earlier this year, for "search and re-apply" operations to keep clients informed about new ideas around the world, from half-frozen bottled mineral water in Korea to Argentine yogurt drinks containing cereal and fruit chunks.
In Asia, the hottest selling cosmetics are skin-bleaching products like Shiseido's uv White.
"Whiteness is the new standard of beauty [in Asia]," said Cleve Langton, DDB's worldwide new business director. "The question is with more and more people increasingly conscious of sun [damage], will that have any impact elsewhere?"
Another Japanese cosmetics marketer, SCJP, is selling anti-pollution skincare products under the brand name Awake, with current distribution in two Tokyo department stores, he said. A skincare analysis is required before Awake products, like cucumber-based Nanoessence, are recommended.
MASTER OF BRAND STRATEGY
Nestle is regarded as a master at brand strategy. The food group has designated 10 worldwide corporate brands and 45 worldwide strategic product brands. Corporate brands include Perrier, Nestle, Carnation, Nescafe, Maggi, Frisk-ies and Buitoni. Worldwide product brands are strongest in the confectionery area, such as KitKat, Polo, Smarties and After Eight.
Nestle manages its international brands through strategic business units, or SBUs, based at corporate headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland.
For example, the company has an SBU for confectionery pro-ducts and ice cream, one for coffee and beverages, another for milk and nutrition. Each brand has a framework that includes a planning policy document, minimum labeling standard, brand positioning statement, communications platform and packaging handbook, Nestle's CEO designate Peter Bra-beck told the McKinsey Quarterly.
Nestle is taking more control over branding by adding the Nestle name to products. For example, Chambourcy, a $1 billion European white refrigerated dairy products line, is being re-brandedMarketers find new
centers for creativity
BRANDS from Page I-21
with the Nestle name. The Nestle corporate brand has now been extended to products accounting for about 40% of sales.
Nestle also has about 140 regional brands like Stouffer's frozen foods, Alpo petfood and Vittel mineral water, as well as more than 7,000 local brands.
making health claims
Because many of Nestle's products can easily be imitated by competitors, the company invests heavily to come up with new product benefits. For instance, in markets where ads are allowed to make health claims, Nestle advertises that its LC1 yogurt contains a bacillus that strengthens the immune system. The company rolled LC1 out in Europe over the last year.
Nestle also is experimenting with combining brands through joint promotions and ad campaigns that link three or four Nestle products around a common theme, such as a nutritional breakfast. McCann, one of Nestle's five worldwide aligned agencies, works closely with Nestle on multibrand programs that have run in Mexico, Germany, Greece and Spain.
Achieving world brand status doesn't happen overnight. The Australian Tourist Commission is scrapping its regional approach in favor of what ATC Managing Director Jon Hutchison calls "the global marketing of Brand Australia."
DMB&B EMERGES AS VICTOR
Picking a global ad agency was the first step.
The ATC settled on D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, one of three incumbents, in July after what was called an excruciating six-month review involving 24 presentations in five countries by four shortlisted agencies.