Advice and Examples to Inspire Global Success
In the digital age, your competitors are virtually endless. Through the power of the search engine, consumers have access to numerous similar products or services locally and worldwide. This is where the branding comes in. When your branding is solid, you set a high bar for your brand experience, bringing loyal customers to your company. Not only that, but consistent work with branding means a clear style guide and art direction that helps you stand out from the competition. Internally speaking, branding helps get your staff on the same page, aligning on a clear vision and direction for the company. Needless to say, good branding is where it all starts, and we’ve got the branding tips to help you get there.
What Global Branding Means
The process of branding globally can differ depending on such variables as products or services, objectives, and current standings of the company, and “there’s no one correct way or process of doing global branding,” says Yeryung Ko, Art Director at BorderX. The branding process in and of itself can be an extensive undertaking, but when your brand is going global, there are many more considerations at play. Although branding can feel messy and confusing, the key is to follow tried-and-true branding tips and to stay relevant for your local audience.
Brand design requires a clear strategy. The goal is to make your brand shine with some great design chops, putting visuals to your personality. It’s not just about following branding tips, however. Clear guidelines are an essential part of the branding process, including a set of rules that dictate how the brand should present itself in terms of color palette, typography, illustrations, photography, and more. These can be organized in the form of a PDF, book, or digital files available for iPads. Most recently, brands are making use of a digital brand guidelines platform called Frontify. Some brands, such as Audi, make their guideline available online for the general public to enjoy. Making sure this is crystal clear is key to creating a consistent visual identity. “Documenting…thorough brand mission and visions, values, typography, colors and grid systems across all media can help keep the visual identity cohesive and engaging,” says Ko.
The popularity of technology and digital tools in design have given birth to trends like 3D logos. “This kind of new wave of digital tools can spark creativity too,” says Ko. Using creative coding helps form new layers to the brand experience that are more interactive and immersive. Embracing this trend breathes new life into established visual identities, inspiring new feelings of curiosity and interest in the brand.
For Meta, its new identity was underlined beautifully with their 3D logo, alluding to the vast possibilities of the digital world. Even while dipping their toes into the futuristic and the imaginary, their use of blue was a nod to their starting point, Facebook.
For Spotify and Magic Leap, the intersection between functional technology and art served to bolster both company missions in an inventive way. In this new-world collaboration, music was made visually accessible throughout the user’s house, with the ability to pin specific music to specific areas. As Spotify aims to make music available “for every moment” and Magic Leap looks to “integrate the digital into the physical world,” the use of technology went beyond simple glitz and glam, highlighting the brand values of both companies in a fresh way.
When thinking about global brand impact, there’s few that could top Netflix. Netflix is so successful because of its thoughtful and holistic brand experience. Offering a user-friendly experience that is personalized and localized, the industry has opened up avenues for countries, filmmakers, and producers, both small and big. The impressive and exciting Netflix logo animation has grown to be universally recognized. Ko says, “Its confident all-caps wordmark with the cinema’s curtain-like details,” all centering around their signature red “N,” are all indicative of their vision and what they are bringing to the table. Even the “ta dum” accompanying the animation builds suspense for new adventures. The success of Netflix is clear as phrases like “Netflix and chill” and “Netflix binging” have been adopted into the modern-day lexicon.
The added challenge of branding globally is that you must consider the culture, language, and communities of the target country, beyond the local and the familiar. Take Starbucks, for example. Each component of their branding is extremely self-aware and thoughtful. In Korea, the architecture of many Starbucks branches, including Hwangudan, take inspiration from the historical palaces that fill the country, blending into the history and culture. Starbucks’ branding went so far as to create an exclusive coffee blend for its 22nd anniversary in Korea. Their “Byeol Dabang Blend” took from the playful Korean nickname for Starbucks (“byeol” meaning “star” and “dabang” meaning “cafe” in Korean), latching onto the local vocabulary. Not only that, but their packaging took inspiration from the architecture of Deoksugung Jeonggwanheon, resulting in a culturally relevant product that localized a global giant of a brand.
In the end, branding globally is an art form centered around communication. “Every country has their own culture. And the branding, both visually and verbally, has to blend well with the region’s culture to be able to engage with the local audience,” says Ko. That’s what makes the process equal parts exciting and challenging. Grasping a true understanding of the local audience takes time, effort, and a great deal of research. But when you follow these branding tips, you’ve got the makings of a brand that is memorable beyond borders and beyond its time.
Yeryung Ko is the Art Director at BorderX. Through her time at Pentagram, she discovered and developed her love for branding. While working with the most talented leading designers, she learned what it takes to support a brand in helping them achieve their goals through design.
If you’re looking for support with your global branding project, you can say hello here.