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How the world’s biggest brands create the “native brand experience”

The world’s biggest brands, such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Netflix, are investing heavily in creating the “native brand experience” for consumers in different global markets. They do it because it makes sound business sense.  

If you’ve ever opened a soft drink with your name printed on it, bought a pair of sneakers designed especially for your local market or watched a TV show by a streaming giant that’s purposely set in the environment you know best, you’ve probably just had a native brand experience.

In a recent eBook on multilingual content and strategy, the native brand experience was defined as “the enhanced set of connections consumers make with a brand which has culturally adapted its brand offering for use in that particular target market”.

But what does this mean in practice? And how exactly are Coca Cola, Nike and Netflix doing this? 

Let’s find out…

Native Big Brand Experience #1: Coca-Cola plays the name game

Remember the thrill of opening the drinks chiller in your local store and taking out a Coke with your name on it? Yeah, it’s like the Coca-Cola Company made that one drink especially for you. Are you ever going to buy supermarket brand cola again? 

And it should be noted that the Coca-Cola Company rolled out the ‘Names on Bottles’ marketing campaign worldwide. In Vietnam, Coke bottles were labelled with Vietnamese names such as ‘Oanh’, ‘Anh’ and ‘Tiên’.

The people of Vietnam knew that the drink they were enjoying was still Coke, that ideal of Western refreshment, but the company had, for an instant, bridged the cultural, political and historical gap between the two countries. In those few, thirst-quenching moments, Anh and Tiên were part of the Coca-Cola brand and everything it embodied. 

Simply and beautifully, Coca Cola illustrates why customers prefer a native brand experience: they make it personal. And they started by just calling their customer by their name. 

Native Big Brand Experience #2: Nike’s Houses of Innovation

Other big players have been hard at work too: Nike has embraced global internationalism, by making a major commitment on three continents.

The sports brand has (so far) opened three Houses of Innovation – in New York, Shanghai and Paris – which each promise their local customers ‘personalised and digitally connected shopping journeys’. 

For the Nike Shanghai House of Innovation, this translates as ‘hyper-local, exclusive products and gear … which shoppers will find at the first floor Shanghai Shop’[1].  

Native Big Brand Experience #3: Netflix sets the scene locally

 Streaming service Netflix has been devoting a large section of its slate to producing shows across Europe, Asia and Latin America for a number of years and is now looking to place an order for an original series from Africa in the coming year[2].

As a global concern, why wouldn’t a company like Netflix create bespoke entertainment for each major section of its audience worldwide? It makes business sense. 

Because however fantastic Breaking Bad still is when it’s translated into 10 languages, a south American audience is going to love Narcos Mexico just that little bit more because it’s a home-grown show using home-grown acting and production talent. 

Big brands, local experiences

You’re thinking that these companies are huge, they’re world-players to begin with so they can afford to zone in with local focus on the global stage. 

All true, except they didn’t begin as world-players – even they had to start in one country and then court other countries, cultures and regions. Clearly, taking time, money and effort to engineer a native brand experience is simply good business sense. 

If you’re placed somewhere at the less global end of the scale and are finding it difficult to be convinced by these arguments, take a look at these stats which have been put together following surveys for a variety of differently sized businesses[3]:

  • 89% of digital businesses are investing in localised web experiences
  • 80% of companies experience an uplift after implementing localisation across their digital platforms, marketing and advertising
  • 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer products or services which have been, in some way, tailored to fit the needs of each specific target market 

Again, the counter-argument hits back with time, effort and money, money, money, which smaller-sized businesses just don’t have. 

Investing in experience

Going back to Coca-Cola briefly: how did they come up with such a feat of brilliance? You can guarantee that they had to work long and hard to get there, but aside from that, and aside from the fact that they hired a top-notch advertising agency to do it all, that brilliant campaign’s journey simply started with a lot of market research. 

And, for this, all you need is a great localisation provider who has not only linguists on their staff, but also SME market researchers and marketing specialists

What native brand experience builds, even at a highly sophisticated and money-intensive level as illustrated by Nike, is that all-important relationship with your customer. To know them is to love them, and when they see how much you love them, then they’ll love you back. And that’s when they start spending money.