Digital Trends for Global Brand Building

The rapid spread of the internet and internet-based technologies is reshaping how companies build and manage global brands. While specific platforms and technologies change rapidly, what does not change quickly are the underlying trends. An article written by Jan-Benedict Steenkamp in 2020 identifies the implications of five core underlying digital trends for global brand building and management.

Overview of the 5 Trends:

1. Rise of digital global sales channels

2. co-creation of global brand strategy

3. global transparency of brand activities

4. Global connectivity among the brand’s consumers

5. the Internet of Things

For each trend, the author discusses key changes taking place in the marketplace and directions for future research.

Each trend has significant influence on how consumers behave, what their expectations are from brands and the influence they have on your brand associations.

What do they mean?

Transparency

In the industrial era, products grew ever more complex, so much so that consumers had more difficulty assessing product quality and value. Information asymmetry was especially high for global brands, which were typically at the technological frontier. Brand managers could exploit the lack of crossborder flow of information among consumers to charge higher prices and offer varying quality or customer service to maximise profits. The digital age has minimised this information asymmetry. E-retailers and price comparison websites are improving consumer decision making. Transparency about the global brand’s activities, ranging from its supply chain to after-sales service, has become an important issue in the digital age. This requires brands to behave consistently across the globe.

Co-Creation

Firms increasingly realise that they can improve their performance by tapping into consumers’ knowledge. They are looking for ways to involve consumers in particular aspects of the global brand strategy, such as new product development (NPD), brand positioning, and advertising.

One survey (Hitachi 2017) found that 27.4% of major European organisations (including nonprofits) worked with customers on a collaborative project continuously in the preceding 12 months, while only 10.5% did not. The survey also found that 58% of businesses had piloted cocreation projects to help them innovate, 51% said that cocreation had improved their financial performance, and 54% reported that it had helped improve their social impact (Hitachi 2017).

Connected Consumers

With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WeChat, Weibo, and other social media, consumers can exchange brand information, opinions, and experiences with hundreds or thousands of people every day. Consumers communicate with others through social media, general review platforms (e.g., Yelp), specialized review platforms with a narrow focus on a particular product category (e.g., Movies.com, CarandDriver.com), e-commerce platforms (e.g., Amazon, eBay), and other platforms. The totality of these virtual communications is commonly called electronic word of mouth (eWOM)—internet-mediated written communications (e.g., reviews, tweets, blog posts, likes, pins, images, video testimonials) between current or potential consumers (Liu, Steenkamp, and Zhang 2018).

In today’s marketing environment, where traditional advertising has become less effective (Sethuraman, Tellis, and Briesch 2011; Van Heerde et al. 2013), eWOM has emerged as an increasingly important factor driving brand sales.

Internet of Things

Tangible goods are more easily copied than intangible services. Thus, many leading goods firms have added services to their existing products (Fang, Palmatier, and Steenkamp 2008). Augmenting the product with services makes the global brand’s value proposition more valuable to buyers (Zeithaml and Brown 2014). The digital era has taken these so-called servicetransition strategies to an entirely new level; the IoT is fast becoming a reality (Lee and Lee 2015). The IoT is changing the way people interact with each other and with the products they consume. It is resulting in smart devices (e.g., home appliances and cars) equipped with sensors, software, and connectivity that allow these devices to interact and exchange information with each other (Hoffman and Novak 2017). McKinsey estimates that IoT will create up to $1.1 trillion of economic value annually by 2025 for suppliers.

Read the Full article here.

Why is this important for Pharma?

We’re at a moment in history where inviting individuals to help design healthcare is critical, because of the great upheavals we’re seeing. Patients are more connected than ever, we must value patients opinions and we must not underestimate their power to influence each other. PatientMetRx® is a tool design to responds to these growing trends, one that provides Pharma with direct access to what their patients are saying online using social listening. You can implement co-creation by using the Patient Confidence Score in your brand planning making your brand strategy more patient-centred than ever. 

Get started today with a Discovery Session where we will generate our first report on your medicine brands to show you first hand what patients are saying. 

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References:

Steenkamp, (2020) 'Global Brand Building and Management in the Digital Age', Journal of International Marketing. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1069031X19894946 [Accessed 9 September 2021].

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