Your Branding Must Be Universal to Be Effective

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With the ubiquity of the Internet today your brand must be universal and resonate across all geographic and cultural boundaries. It makes no sense to devalue your brand by pigeon-holing yourself with a country-specific look and feel and/or key messaging.

For example, if you live in Spain and have your own rare-coin buying/selling business and website, it would make little sense to call yourself something like Spanish Coin Company. Although this is a very elementary example, it does demonstrate the potential to inadvertently narrow the perceived focus of your brand. As a customer, would you likely visit a website called SpainCoinCompany.com if you were looking for rare French coins? You most likely would not. However, the owner of the company may in fact sell coins from around the world, but you might never learn this because the brand itself might deter you right off the bat.

A brand, when built and leveraged successfully, can communicate a business’s value to customers across the world, therefore opening the business up to international markets. Conversely, when crafted and utilized unsuccessfully, a brand can relegate a business to a very narrow scope and limit its potential significantly.

There are several critical areas to consider when building an effective universal brand:

A. Logo – unless you intend to limit your scope geographically, stay away from logos that closely resemble one particular region (for example a logo with red, white and blue stripes)

B. Messaging – refrain from the use of words/messages that may resonate only with a specific group or region (for example refrain from phrases that use culture or region-specific slang or jargon)

C. Communication – the use of certain images or people in your outbound communication can incorrectly limit your brand’s ubiquity (such as pictures of individuals all from one nationality and/or race)

D. Actions – your actions as a company or organization can also impact your brand identity. All too often companies in a particular region of the world only have their customer support/call center taking live calls during local regular business hours. What about those customers that want support while you or your customer support representatives are not working? Should they simply leave a voicemail? A viable way around this for small businesses is to at the very least provide sufficient “self-help” FAQs and other mechanisms on your website so your customers can get the answers they need when they need them.

As a business owner it is important to look beyond the borders of your region, customers or ethnicity and consider your brand’s relevance to all potential customers regardless of their physical location or cultural makeup.