I had a great time last week lecturing Masters students at University Ramon Lull (Blanquerna Media School) in Barcelona – Masters students are always very engaged, articulate and up for a debate – and this cohort was particularly good.
We were talking about the globalisation of campaigns and the pitfalls that you have to watch out for when taking a global theme and implementing it in local areas. We had covered all the usual obvious areas such as taking into consideration cultural, religious, and socio-political environments and local media analysis, when one of the students brought up branding. Why he asked, are some brands called different things in different countries? We then came up with all the brands we could think of that were the same product but called different things in different countries. As a light-hearted overnight assignment I asked them to do some research for discussion the following day. On my early morning run the following morning I spotted a bread van and snapped it for the discussion.
We all learned a lot from the discussion that followed, whilst laughing our socks off at the obvious ones such as Nestle’s ‘Bonka’ coffee brand and I found out the answer to a question that has long bothered me – why is the brand names for ‘Walls’ ice cream so different in Portuguese to Spanish? My students enlightened me but modesty prevents me from enlightening you.
There was a serious point to our discussions, which was to underline the importance of really understanding not only your brand but the environment in which you want it to travel. Mostly brands travel lightly, but those that don’t, can carry some heavy baggage indeed.
I’m not anticipating this being seen on the streets of the UK anytime soon…