Globalization indicates success, but it carries particular communication challenges.
In the U.S., there is widespread acceptance and understanding that are critical for all communicators to translate the value of their work and find ways to sharpen their campaigns.
When teams are small, it’s easier to keep everyone in the loop on the key performance indicators (KPIs) vital to your success. Once your company has multiple regional communications teams engaging with multiple audiences, things become more difficult.
In some regions, standardized reporting and a focus on ROI is not the norm for communications teams, and an attempt to deploy a standardized dashboard can fall flat.
Aligning your teams and getting buy-in on globally standardized KPIs can highlight how each regional team’s activities affect the global brand sentiment. With this groundwork in place, comms professionals can amplify team efforts, more effectively deploy resources, and develop a more cohesive brand identity.
When companies expand globally, some groups might fly under the radar. Left unchecked, that means some locations may be underperforming or executing on ideas that work regionally but could damage your brand as a whole.
Localization is a necessary component of any successful global strategy, but each local team’s efforts is still a reflection of your brand. Your brand voice must be flexible yet maintain global consistency, as well as reflecting a shared understanding of overarching company success.
Start by briefing your regional teams on your global comms goals, and identify the unique opportunities for each region. KPIs will help explain what your company is prioritizing and keep your global team efforts focused, but don’t bundle everyone’s stats into one number.
Your global KPIs are a valuable pulse on your company’s overall efforts, but KPIs could vary significantly by region. However, these KPIs are essential to track on both a global and regional level to understand how regional activities are contributing—or detracting—from your goals:
- Share of voice: How often your company is mentioned compared against your competitors. Your competitive company list will vary by regions, so there should be companywide competitors, as well as region-specific rivals.
- Sentiment: The tone of the articles and/or social media activity regarding your company. By analyzing region-specific KPIs, your team can understand where a more hands-on media approach may be needed. Also, you may be able to proactively address a pending issue in one region before it spreads to other regions, helping to save potential global brand damage.
- Key message penetration: How often your company is mentioned alongside key themes. Your measurement will likely involve key message penetration, and your team must keep a global lens when picking topics of expertise. Trends may vary significantly by country, and certain words or phrases may not resonate in the same way in discrete cultures. Use regional comms leads as sounding boards on new ideas before developing a global campaign that may be offensive or carry a different meaning across borders.
Whichever KPIs you choose to track—and there are plenty to choose from, so take your time—you need a system to review the data. KPI dashboards can help you set up views that cover both regional and global stats.
Breaking down regional team silos requires active communication. Consider hosting monthly or quarterly meetings for all your regional comms leads to connect, as well as separate meetings with each team and their agencies or freelancers. Because time zones can become complicated, record your meetings and distribute notes and action items so anyone can access the material and stay focused between meetings.
Erika Heald is a marketing consultant and blogger. This piece originally appeared on the Meltwater blog.