Stay local, stay relevant

Stay local, stay relevant

Local insights can help focus global marketing messages to make them more relevant, as these case studies show.

The challenge for global design and branding agency Hornall Anderson was to rebrand popular tortilla chip snack Doritos globally – harmonising two different global identities without losing its core ‘youth’ audience.

Instigated by the PepsiCo Global team, the project was necessary because the Doritos brand across the globe had become inconsistent from region to region.

“With such a well-known brand, we needed to activate the Doritos brand narrative in a highly customer-focused way,” says Nicola Thomson, account director at Hornall Anderson. “To produce a design which would work in so many different countries, we knew that we really needed to get under the skin of the target consumer, observing every element of their lives and applying the visual codes of their world to our design strategy.”

The team’s journey began with intensive customer immersion to ensure a “truly coherent design that worked across the globe”.

“We began with visits to several major cities across the world, from Istanbul to Mexico,” continues Thomson, “where we entrenched ourselves in our target consumers’ lives. We didn’t just look at what our audience was eating, we examined every aspect of their lives, from looking through their wardrobes and bathroom cabinets to see what brands they wore and what personal care products they used. We joined them in social activities and nights out to understand what motivated them and how they spent their spare time. We spoke to them to learn what brands they purchased and aspired to, as well as what the visual cues from these brands were, so we could draw insights from every aspect of their world.”

As Doritos is such a huge worldwide brand, it needed a strong global message, but local research helped to frame how that could work on a local level. “For example, cultural nuances showed us there was a lower level of literacy in South America. Therefore, it was important the design wasn’t reliant on copy – the brand needed to stand for itself and on shelf. However, in the process of our in-depth analysis, we were surprised by the consistency across markets, which was key in developing our creative brief.”

The team’s challenge was how to create consistency across the range in an exciting and emotionally relevant way, allowing some levels of flexibility that would fit with local market needs. Dealing with so many different stakeholders in diverse locations across the world was a challenge in itself, Thomson says.

“Our immersion with the consumer had uncovered key insights that could be shared across markets, and the use of our 'visual wardrobe' of the world of design meant we knew our design had all of the design cues we knew were relevant with our audience.” Thomson says. “This took the subjectivity out of the design treatments. The design sailed through PRS research and was the most successful rebrand in PepsiCo history.”

Keeping it local – two more case studies

Skøll Tuborg

With the latest location-based technology, thinking local can go further than national boundaries, focusing on particular regional nuances when implementing a coherent campaign for a global brand. Programmatic agency Infectious Media worked with Brasseries Kronenbourg, part of multinational brewing giant Carlsberg Group, on a campaign for new citrus and vodka-flavoured blonde beer Skøll Tuborg. As part of a digital branding campaign, it used insights about local weather to trigger targeted ads based on temperature data in real time, allowing advertising at the right time for its audience. The temperature ranges varied between regions, reflecting different climates and cultural perceptions of when was the ideal time to consume the product. 


Dunkin’ Donuts

The next time you pop into a branch of Dunkin’ Donuts, why not try something new – perhaps a doughnut topped with chilli oil, dried pork, or seaweed? If you’re visiting one of the doughnut chain’s new restaurants in Beijing, China, that could be on the menu. With branches in more than 36 countries, developing flavours to local tastes is one way of staying locally relevant, while retaining a global brand message and brand values familiar to any regular US dunker.

Phil Lattimore Journalist and Editor
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