Back to the future

Date of publication: June 15, 1990

Author: Jon Wilkinson


The paper discusses the issues involved in creating and managing brands internationally. The growth of strong brands in their home market has historically been a long-term process which requires not only consistent, creative management, but also a favourable environment. The evidence is that most such brands can be internationalized, giving the benefits of lower costs, synergy and time saving. On the other hand, the differences in national market structures, stages of development, competition and product roles, mean that international brand potentials are circumscribed by factors outside the brand owner's control. This implies tight realism in objective setting aided by dispassionate market and competitor assessment. Further, the time scales needed to build an international brand heritage require a consistent vision of core brand values and the management commitment to follow that strategy, often at the expense of the short- term profit. Research must provide global brand owners with the tools to assess opportunity and accurately predict potential, and to monitor brand equity internationally. Increasingly, it will need to address future strategic issues, rather than simply tackle tactical problems.

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