What are the most important elements when defining an international strategy? How do you select the appropriate countries? Should a brand have several positions in different markets or should it be consistent to its positioning in its home country? These are some of the questions tackled during the conference “Global Brand: challenges and opportunities in the globalisation process of a brand” organised by the Leading Brands of Spain Forum (FMRE) on 17 January at the IESE Business School campus in Barcelona. The conference, opened by the chairman of FMRE, José Luis Bonet, was attended by Gonzalo Brujó, CEO of Interbrand for Iberia and Latin America, Santiago Alfonso, marketing director for Cosentino, and Julian Villanueva, professor and director of the IESE Business Management Department, thereby providing the vision of one of the most prestigious consultancies worldwide in terms of global brand management, a highly international Spanish brand with global ambition, and a business school of international reference.
Gonzalo Brujó, from Interbrand, explained that “when venturing abroad, it is essential to have a good team, a business plan that addresses international strategy, good market research and the brand registered in the countries whose markets we want to enter”. Santiago Alfonso pointed out that “it is necessary to study the most suitable approach for each market; the ideal formula for one country is not necessarily valid in another. Furthermore, the Cosentino Marketing Director stressed the importance of the figure of the distributor: “If the distributor does not respect the brand, the relationship cannot end well, their role is critical, and therefore must be given the tools so that they feel that the brand is their own”. With a turnover of 385 million euros and presence in 67 countries (49 of which are through a distributor), Cosentino is the leading manufacturer of quartz surfaces worldwide.
The challenge for the majority of Spanish brands is making the leap to a truly global presence. Firstly, it is necessary to develop actual penetration and brand awareness in all the markets in which Spanish companies are present. Furthermore, although the international presence of Spanish companies is highly concentrated in Europe (especially through export) and in Latin America (direct investment), it is necessary to further strengthen the current trend of growth in the emerging markets of Asia and Africa as well as in North America. Having a growing number of global brands will be good for those companies, but also for the general interests of the country, given their contribution to increasing Spain’s prestige.
Aware of this challenge, representatives from brands like Roca, Aqualogy,Simon, Freixenet, Armand Basi, Pastas Gallo, La Caixa and Lladró participated during the conference held in Barcelona. In the exchange of experiences, Santiago Alfonso stressed the need to “develop both the corporate and the product brand, with a correct segmentation and positioning to be worked on over time.” Meanwhile, Gonzalo Brujó highlighted that “it is not possible to have more than four distinctive consistent and credible attributes of the brand”, while adding that “companies spend about 75% of their time thinking about internal proceedings in the company, about corporate policy, while more value would be generated by focusing more on the consumer or the customer. To conclude, Julian Villanueva summarised the key factors in the globalisation process of a brand, noting the importance of “always thinking in the medium and long term when addressing international expansion and being consistent over time.”
The conference held at IESE Business School is the fourth meeting of the cycle on ‘Internationalisation with branding’ implemented by the Leading Brands of Spain Forum in Barcelona, after those previously organised on the relationship between ‘Personal branding and trademarks’, ‘E-commerce as a platform for international expansion of a brand’ and ‘Neuromarketing: Innovation and relevance for the international management of the brand’.