The key to global brand success is to "find stories that are universal ideas", applicable across different geographies and demographics, according to Bruce McColl, CMO of Mars, in a recent interview in Marketing magazine.
His favourite example of such "big, portable narratives" is the Snickers "You're not you when you're hungry" campaign. And what a campaign this is. It is running in over 50 countries, and has built business in many of these, including reversing declining volume sales in the US and growing volume +8.0%, 2.4 x the category growth rate.
Click below on the blog to watch the UK and US ads in the campaign.
What can we learn about global branding from Snickers?
1. Economies of ideas, not economies of scale
The biggest benefit of the Snickers campaign was what we call "economies of ideas", quickly sharing bigger, better ideas, and not economies of scale from sharing production costs. This is why we recommend that global brand teams focus on creating big brand ideas that can travel, not being the "brand police" trying to enforce 100% consistency.
2. Search for a universal human truth
The Snickers team and their global agency, BBDO, carried out qual research to search for a human truth that worked across different markets. They discovered that guys seek mate acceptance and membership of the "male pack‟, and that when they're hungry, they’re not themselves and their place is the pack is threatened.
3. Match the human truth with a brand truth