I recently got back from a European vacation with my family, as some of my followers may have noticed by my month blogging hiatus. Although, unfortunately, sick for the majority of the vacation, I still took the time to venture out and learn what I could about European branding.
I learned what I thought I would – branding is the same everywhere except for one important factor: tourists rule the world. Every trip I went to I felt like there were more tourists than locals. Brands need to keep this in mind if planning on going international because they don’t only have to adhere to the locals’ wants and needs, but also to the tourists.
I would imagine this is extremely hard. These brands have to go above and beyond and meet the needs of everyone if they’re going to be successful. So, here are some things I think are crucial if a brand is going to meet the needs of locals and tourists:
- Trademarks are crucial in international brand recognition:Pringles were a god-send. As I mentioned before, I was sick the majority of the vacation. Unfortunately for me, the only food I could think about eating was the food I was familiar with (no extravagant dishes on this girl’s menu). My diet mainly consisted of Pringles (cleverly named Pringoooals in Rome to celebrate the Euro cup). Whether in line for the Colosseum or St. Peters Basilica, Pringles were always on hand. Why Pringles? It was the only brand I recognized at any food cart or grocery store, even though it was name Pringoooals the majority of the trip. This was because the logo and mustached character were the same and easily recognizable. Without the trademarks, I would have been doomed. Moral of the story: have a trademark.
- Consistency is key: Just like from store-to-store, or from restaurant-to-restaurant in the US, brands need to make sure they’re consistent internationally. Take Hard Rock Café for example. My family has made it a tradition to visit the Hard Rock Café on every vacation we go on, and so far, we’ve succeeded!! What we love about Hard Rock is that regardless of where we are in the world, the menu, the service, and the overall atmosphere are the same. This is not like the McDonald’s we visited (yes, sadly we visited a McDonald’s in Europe). When we walked through its doors we weren’t welcomed by the symbolic yellow arches, and instead of being able to order my beloved Rolo McFlurry, I was stuck with the sole option of Smarties! The experience we had in this McDonald’s was not consistent with the experiences we have had at them at home, and therefore, made for an unpleasant meal (All of my examples are of food, so sad).
What to gain from this? International branding is hard. Obviously brands want to succeed and make their consumers happy, but it’s difficult to do so when the consumer-base widens immensely due to tourism. I give kudos to the brands that were able to succeed so well – I was a picky tourist and, yet, some brands didn’t fail me.