Data-Driven Creative Helps Brands Go from Global to Local

By : Talia Wachtel


When a commercial for a fragrance plays on Instagram, there are layers of work that went into creating that exact ad experience. First, the global brand team created a campaign concept, shot footage, ensured raw assets met brand requirements, and shipped everything to a local team in a specific country. Next, that local team selected the assets that they thought would work best for their market, translated global copy to local language, selected audio that resonates best in their market, and applied other elements to the campaign before finally activating it.

This dance of applying strategic and creative expertise to local campaigns varies in complexity depending on the level of centralized control at the global level. Friction increases when global teams have specific requirements that they expect local markets to adopt which may be incongruent with local best practices. The global team has spent significant amounts of money and time developing their brand strategy, while local teams want to be able to shape a campaign that they know will work well in their market.With data-driven creative, both teams can move ahead with more confidence and work better together.

Using Creative Data to Create Relevant Global Concepts

Every local market has a story about receiving global creative assets and worrying that they will not be relevant to their audience. Perhaps a consumer packaged goods brand shot a commercial for sunscreen lotion, and a local team knows their market prefers aerosol application. Or, perhaps a global fashion house promoting its new line of office attire chose to shoot models in formal outfits, even though some of their local markets adopt a more casual approach to workwear. Even more concerning, there are plenty of cases where imagery might not translate, either through language or culturally. Some countries are more conservative than others. Some cultures have different ways of portraying a family, adventure or style. And, of course, humor is difficult to translate to different markets.

With creative data, brands can test individual campaign elements, from strategic expression such as brand identity and messaging, to creative approach including narrative arcs, story types and production level, all the way through to tactical creative components such as color, motion and copy. Global brands can leverage this data to generate definitive proof that certain creative drivers are appealing to a broad range of markets, increasing confidence in the assets shipped from global teams to their local counterparts.

Enabling Better Feedback from Local Markets

A global brand team pours millions of dollars into an ad concept. They ship hundreds of people to far-flung locations, hire big actors and license popular songs to create a memorable campaign that will be used for months around the world. Not surprisingly, the global creative teams can become resistant to critical feedback from local teams who may perceive these assets to be less appealing to their target audience.

With creative data, local teams can provide more specific and objective feedback and guidance. For example, creative data can show that a specific market does not react well to the audio provided, helping to inform the global team. Further, creative data can highlight whether such audio may have a material impact on ad performance, making it easier to negotiate with global to leverage a different audio track locally. Knowing which elements in each market actually drive performance can help the global team plan their approach differently. If they know that the campaign will perform better if each market can select their own audio, or if different markets need to see the product displayed differently, they can develop a broader range of assets that still meet brand requirements.

Delivering Compliant, Better Performing Experiences Everywhere

As much as local markets need to assemble an ad experience that’s relevant for their local market, they also need to ensure that the ad lives up to global brand standards. Global brands will often require specific strategic expression, creative approach and creative components are used. For instance, they might limit how branding such as logo and fonts are leveraged. Some ads require copy to be presented in a certain way due to legal requirements, while others might have contract requirements for a featured spokesperson. As each market takes the tool kit and interprets what they can do, there is potential room for the ad experience to not meet compliance standards. Leveraging creative scoring and creative analytics, global brands can monitor local ads, their compliance with global standards as well as their performance in driving campaign goals. For example, they can see if ads are using non-standard colors or audio that was not provided by the global team and determine if these issues contribute to a change in ad performance.

Creative teams globally and locally have a big job to do. They must deliver something new and memorable that works for millions, if not billions of people. What used to be a beautiful magazine spread has evolved into a six-second video on a social media platform. This adds complexity to the creative process, that instinct and talent alone will not suffice. Adopting an intelligent creative approach provides a foundation for brands to develop high-quality, data driven creative that will drive meaningful results locally.