International Campaigns: Basic considerations
If we want to carry out a communication campaign in several countries we must take into account the peculiarities of the markets we are targeting, their languages and cultural nuances. Each campaign and market is unique.
When it comes to planning international campaigns, in-depth research on the market, the target, the media and also the legislation is essential, as they can be quite different depending on the country where we wish to communicate a particular message.
Some points to consider when launching an international campaign:
Target: in each market we need to define a homogeneous target, since the available sources do not measure targets with the same variables (social class can be measured by studies or income, age segments vary between countries).
Media consumption: each market has different media consumption habits (for example, in Italy, many watch a lot of TV while in France print media is very relevant).
Strategy: although we start with homogeneous objectives for the brand, we then set strategic guidelines per market to reach our potential target. We will not always have the same parameters: media, seasonality or advertising formats.
Creativity: creativity must adapt to each market: not only does a claim need to be translated, but it must also be nuanced to the specific culture. For example, if people appear in the ad, a consideration could be to include different ethnic groups, so that the consumer feels represented and as such feels closer to the product.
Negotiation: media costs vary greatly and when assigning budgets by market we have to know the conditions and costs of each media or support in order to assign the optimal budget (a campaign that in Spain would cost 100, in the UK would cost 180).
Legislation: the laws of each market are different and it is important to know the peculiarities of each country: not only the laws, but also the customs and practices (there are markets such as Finland where it is not considered ethical to advertise sweets in children’s programmes, nor to show children consuming the product)
Deadlines: purchase and delivery dates of materials differ between markets (from 2 months in advance for TV campaigns in Germany to 15 days in Portugal)
We should always pose a series of questions when designing international campaigns:
Does the brand have competition? Who?
How is the brand currently positioned in the market?
What is the advertising history so far?
Have there been any recent campaigns and what were the results?
What challenges does the brand face now or expect to face in the near future?
Why is this campaign being considered?
Target audience: as many details as possible about the demographic profile of the target audience or consumer of the product or service being advertised.
Commercial and marketing objective: What commercial or marketing need do you expect this campaign to meet?
Markets: What are the priority countries or regions (it is important to prioritise, as it will be very difficult to communicate efficiently in all external markets)?
Means to be used: are they determined by the client or is it possible to make recommendations according to the briefing and market?
Creativity: is it specifically designed for the market we are addressing? It is important that professionals who know the market in question validate that the creativity is appropriate (that it is understood, not offensive, etc.) to ensure that the advertising transmits exactly what we want and the desired objectives are achieved. Alignment between the country’s creative and media strategists is therefore critical.
Creative formats: what format or duration of the ad is available and is it appropriate for each country?
Campaign period: start date and expected duration of the campaign. Is the date flexible? It is important to have detailed knowledge of each countries specific calendar dates, as they vary from the brand’s country of origin (local holidays, vacation period, start of schools, etc.)
As a recommendation, whenever we have to carry out international campaigns it is necessary to work with expert consultants in international markets, who know not only the client and the brand to be advertised, but also the local market and the culture of each country in which the message will be communicated.