Regionalized Centralization

We are moving towards regionalized centralization in the marketing communications industry. Global brands are centralizing their marketing operations from one head office in the region. Clustering together countries into a region and driving the brand message from there helps to synergize costs and also helps maintain a consistent brand image across a large geographic region.

But often a region is defined by geographical continuity based on supply chain synergies rather than similarities in culture of consumer mindsets. It would be bordering on stupidity to include Saudi Arabia and UAE within the same region and creating the same marketing content for them. Saudi Arab is hard core arab while UAE comprises of more than 70% expatriates and boasts more of a global culture.

Media productions and in some cases media planning is being done through the center only to be executed within the region. MNC’s like Unilever, Cartoon Network and Shell keep tight controls over what image is being projected of their brand. But this takes away one of the mojor roles of a brand manger from their job descriptions. Without having control over the content of the brand message, the responsibility shifts to the region to get it right. The brand manager only becomes the executioner of the ideas, coordinating with agencies on behalf of the head office in the center.

But luckily, brand managers have been able to find a loophole in the scenario. Rather than take face for the rather off-target campaign entrusted upon them from the region, the brand managers at the spokes come up with localized versions of the campaigns in the form of brand activation activities. The future of the personal growth for brand managers would only come if they can convince their bosses in the region to dish out budgets for localized activations. This can only happen when brand managers and activation agencies team up and come up with ideas that can convince the region of results. Only then will brand managers get the high of being real brand custodians. The ownership would only come when there are stakes attached to what a brand manager does.

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~ by illuxon on August 16, 2007.

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