Monday, October 27, 2008

Marketing with personality internationally

Personalizing brand is a well-beaten path in the West. Who can ignore the geico gecko? (I’m partial because he’s got a London accent). Not sure exactly the the geico cavemen are all about - oh I forgot, “So easy a caveman can do it.” Whatever your thoughts about these two geico creations, it’s not every day that Hollywood attempts to make a series about an advertising idea. (OK, it failed, but still, it’s pretty impressive to get that far.)

Whatever you think about the effectiveness of these brand personalities for improving geico’s sales, these figures have certainly created an impression. What happens though if geico tries to go international? WIll the geico gecko actually translate in London? How will Londoners perceive geico as a result? I guarantee our friend the gecko will not be in the same light as Americans. How will that affect the perception of the geico brand? Now let’s go one step further. How will it be perceived in a country where geckos are ubiquitous? Are geckos seen as pests? Are they seen as food? Are they seen as dirty? Do they have religious significance? What’s the image of a reptile talking to a man? Can a male gecko talk to a woman? Then let’s take the cavemen. Does the perception of a caveman look anything like the same in other cultures?

These are just a few of the questions that should be considered when developing an international personality for a brand. Is it too complex? Not really. Coca cola has successfully made its personality known around the world without even a creature to head it up!

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