Adapt the global brief for local creative adaptation

I recently hosted a training session on the importance of creative briefing; in particularly the kind of briefing that is essential for multi-market, multi-channel work.

My focus, therefore, was not only on the typical brief that is created for one single market, but rather the brief that allows global ideas travel and being executed across different cultures.

It’s becoming a norm for global brands to hire multi-agencies on specific tasks, from creating the global platform to global centralisation, adaptation and implementation; from events and experiential, digital and social media, media planning and buying to retail activation and PR. The benefits are many and one of which is to let each agency to focus on what they do best; however, the danger often is there is a lack of co-ordination among the agencies and the 360 activation fail to embrace the umbrella platform.

It is absolutely essential to agree on a universal global brief that guide the tone and manner of everything around it. The master brief will most likely be coming out from the lead creative agency. It should focus on the bigger picture and the universal truth across all media.

What will then be important is for each specialist agency to build on the ‘master brief’ and extend it by applying the thinking that is relevant to the media they are responsible for.

The creative activation agency will also need to exercise their creative muscle and apply cultural insights to interpret it effectively for each local market. This also include unearthing any significant local market landscape and brand/ product lifecycle in each market; so that we are not simply standardising the solution but truly crafting out an execution that is true to the global platform while expressing in a unique voice in the local market.

Here are just a few examples:

Blackberry’s ‘Love what you do’ positioning is reinterpreted and manifested in India in a campaign entitled ‘Blackberry Boys’ featuring bright young things joining the well sited cool guys for an all star sing-along. The right tone, in the right place.

Holiday Inn Express hotels are positioned as the contemporary choice for value-oriented travellers in almost every parts of the world, but in China, the brand has a twist and emphasis is on the ‘smart choice’ of the guests. The tone and manner will need to be slightly adjusted in such markets.

The brief for the local market is no less important than the master brief, in fact in some circumstances it is even more complex since not only you need to maintain the integrity of the brand globally but creating an execution that let local consumers feel close to home.

The key is to identify a common language – the universal truth that is broad enough for local creative implementation.