Brand check is in order!

Valerie Berset-Price

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Dear Valérie,

My company is gearing up to tackle international markets. The board of directors and the executive directors will be meeting next month to look at the different ways internationalization will affect our marketing and branding. My colleagues and I have been going back and forth between calling our company global vs. international, but I fear that none of us truly understand the subtle differences between the two. Would you please tell us what the differences are and what other elements we should be aware of while re-branding our company to create a more international perception?

Thank you for your help!


Valérie Berset-Price

Dear Rob,

What an exciting time this is for you and your colleagues! Stepping into the international arena will color your professional life like no other exercise ever has!

Branding a company or a product to fit the international market place can be tricky, as the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. You might have heard of the baby product line Gerber, which transposed into French means “to puke;” or the need to modify an acronym, such as PPQ – a Japanese telecommunication company, which in Japanese reads without any problem but makes most English speakers giggle. A brand check is thus in order before choosing any name or acronym for international marketing.

As to the difference between an international and a global company, it is as follows: an international company is a company that sells its services or goods beyond its own border. A global company is a company that has a presence in different markets and is vertically integrated in each market. This means that each region is in charge of its own R&D as well as its own manufacturing, marketing and distribution. There is also the term “multinational,” which is the in-between: a company that has offices in different regions but still depends on the headquarters for manufacturing, marketing, etc.

As your company is starting out, I would recommend you add “International” after your name and omit “global” until you truly have developed a global presence.

I hope this helps!


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