Large networks can provide your customers with an overwhelming experience. Everywhere they go.
Large networks are difficult to handle. Wherever there are many persons with different opinions, there are many potential causes for friction. But a large network also presents you with exceptional opportunities for your international marketing. Feed your people strategic thought and give them operational freedom. The output will be overwhelming.
German Content is a partner for brand builders and brand custodians in European regional networks. Our experience in this field is based on more than ten years in similar roles in European and global networks of leading Internationals. We know how to develop strategic guidelines and content that enable network members to achieve their goals.
How to coordinate large European communications networks
1 Forming a team
Communications carried out through large networks require a well-balanced mix of strategic guidance from the center and sufficient maneuverability at the local level.
While you are close to decision makers, your local units are closer to your customers.
Your input needs to inspire them to localize it. It needs to empower them.
Likewise, you need bottom-up real-time information on local developments to stay ahead of the game.
The best strategy you can pursue is to show how everyone can win if they work together. Initially, you will want to create your own internal case studies by successfully planning and implementing projects together.
2 Brand guidance & brand support
Your brand is valuable and your task is to position the brand correctly in the market, with the support of your network members. Your local operations need to be authentic and trustworthy and deliver what your brand promises.
Make sure everyone in the network understands your brand and is familiar with its characteristics and narrative. Create a deep understanding of the ins and outs of your brand with effective storytelling that highlights its strengths. Consider hosting a podcast, in which you regularly release stories that make it easy for your local counterparts to visualize your brand. Likewise, best-practices directly from the markets can be shared easily and without the need for a complicated technical set-up.
You need to be the brand custodian, ensuring that no one damages it with rash decisions, based on a short-term focus on sales growth.
But you will also use the brand to support business objectives at the local level. Even if real brand power in a market needs to be built locally and is influenced by the power of local competitors, the energy and appeal of a global brand are helpful to achieve a higher impact of various local communications activities.
3 Organizing the flow
Set the goals for local deliverables and the limits for deviations from central messaging. But provide the flexibility required for localized communication approaches and content.
One of the most important elements of network control is to shape a framework for the effective exchange of information between the global and the local level.
And that means shaping a two-way communications flow. For you, who are located at the center, are the primary contact for local-level communications experts in your network. And you need to be a reliable partner.
You have quite a few options for knowledge-sharing. One of the most effective ones is podbite-learning. There are apps that enable easy production and structuring of short audio recordings (bites) (1-2 minutes). And they can be used for almost anything you want your team to share. Their big advantage: short audio messages are easy to understand and can be repeated easily to enhance the training effects.
When you are planning the regional launch of a new product, you can create structured libraries containing documents, visuals, and audio-instructions to inform your network members on the overall objectives and also on their individual tasks. This can even include instructions for local showroom/brand center employees.
App-based systems using audio-files are cost-effective and enable all network members to share knowledge and contribute their thoughts, without the requirement of real-time participation in meetings.
The market for podcast- and podbite-learning is still evolving, as many companies and industries are only just beginning to explore the potential. Thus, now could be the time for communications managers to create their own use cases and test available systems in their own networks.
4 Localize global campaigns
When you put your local colleagues in charge of leading the local elements of your global campaigns, you need to utilize the potentials of your global machine.
Provide them with the insights you gather globally. Likely, you will have more advanced tools at your disposal than your local team. This will include consumer research tools with predictive capabilities, such as Pythia’s AI-based research. The insights you gather on local demand peaks and consumer preferences will help you choose the right timing for the campaign and provide your team with a targeted messaging.
Five key success factors of network communications:
Analyze the potentials of your network
Use your brand as an asset for your local activities but protect it from local deviations
Define the amplifiers
Identify the brand builders in the network and equip them with the input they need
The best of both worlds
Combine global knowledge and local power through structures and tools for internal knowledge sharing
Give your local staff operational freedom