Global Branding

When corporations market a product globally choosing a brand name is a major factor in the success of that product. Handi-Wrap is a very well known brand in the United States, but in other parts of the world like the United Kingdom and Australia, the brand\'s name is considered funny but still effective, but what about in other countries like: Germany, Sweden or Japan? The brand "Handi-Wrap" works in the United States because English is the official language of the nation; it works in the United Kingdom and Australia for the same reason, but does the brand name lose its effectiveness in nations where languages other than English are routinely spoken or does the brand remain effective even there? Should multinational corporations market a single brand internationally or change their brand names to the local cultures? Studies have shown that brands can be as effective internationally as they are in the US (Shoham and Kropp 114). Coca-Cola and Handi-Wrap are common brands in the US; people all over the world understand the name of Coke, but what of Bayer Aspirin or Ford Motor Company should multinational companys market their products as a nation-specific product, a single brand or choose a middle route?

There is an obvious advantage when using multiple names in different nations. Handi-Wrap may be a slang term in English; however, its meaning can be clear in all English-speaking nations. In China, or in other countries, its meaning could be considered vulgar or rude, if understandable at all. It can be advantageous to use names specific to chosen languages, and that has been the way that many have chosen in the past. Their marketing and advertising efforts have been targeted to a specific language, though the culture of the nation must also be taken into account. For example, like a play on words that works well in the United States may be completely worthless and meaningless in the United Kingdom. However, those brands using the same names for their products regardless of the nation or culture in which they are being marketed, still appear to have greater success today. For example the success of L\'Oreal cosmetics has been built on promoting different brands in different nations, choosing which to promote were based on views of the local cultures (Anonymous 24). For people interested in finding the most "American" product possible, the French company uses the name Maybelline. Those preferring the most French are given the L\'Oreal brand, there are even Italian brands for other preferences. All the different lines are sold in all of the markets, but only one is excessively promoted. The result of this is L\'Oreal has been able to maintain double-digit growth for more than a decade. "L\'Oreal\'s net profits rose 15% in 1998, to $768 million, while its stock has soared 900% in the late 90s. Whether it\'s selling Italian elegance, New York street smarts, or French beauty through its brands, L\'Oreal is expanding out globally to millions of people across a larger range of incomes and cultures. This is what sets L\'Oreal apart from one brand marketers such as Coca-Cola Co., which sells one brand globally to all cultures" (Anonymous 24).

Single brand corporations like “McDonalds” sell to all nations of the world, regardless of the language spoken in each their brand is recognized. The people in the local markets, in which McDonald’s burgers and fries are sold, understand just what to expect when ordering any number of choices available on their menu (Green 34). Similarly, Wal-Mart is understood in all nations containing a Wal-Mart store; whatever the words may or may not mean, the quality of the brand is known worldwide. Though the term "Wal-Mart" may have no meaning in the language of the country it is located in; the local people understand exactly what to expect from any store they enter seeing the "Wal-Mart" name and logo on the front of the store. One major advantage of using a single global brand name is that language is not so ignorant now. While it was not always possible to promote a successful single brand name in the past, it is common now to see articles written in a specific language referring to business enterprises that carry these names completely foreign to these