How The World’s Biggest Brands Establish Themselves

how world's biggest brands establish company branding awareness

It seems the world’s biggest brands travels faster than the latest news. Iconic logos, famous faces and company catch phrases can be seen and heard in every corner of the world. This might leave you wondering, how on earth did they get there? 

If you think back several years ago, you might recall a documentary starring the not-so-unknown ex-England football star David Beckham. This show, The Unknown, followed Britain’s beloved Becks as he traveled around the world to see how his fame had spread (oh, and ‘find himself’ of course). Thanks to the global adoration of football, and the spread of information via the internet, Beckham had to travel into the depths of the Amazon rainforest before he could escape the pleas for selfies. 

With big brands expanding on a global scale, it’s not only famous faces that have outgrew their home country. BMW, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s are perfect examples of this. They are all household names and you would have to venture pretty far before you found someone who hadn’t heard of them. Let’s have a closer look at how these big names managed to expand around the globe, and how your business can follow them. 

Let’s Talk BMW 

The growth of this well-known car brand is admirable. In 2022, it achieved its highest ever annual sales with a total of 2,125,026 cars sold worldwide, a growth of 1.8%. The figures are impressive, but how did BMW achieve this worldwide accreditation? 

One method of expansion BMW has used is teaming up with other brands and manufacturing vehicles in different countries. For example, they joined forces with British car company Rover whose sales of Land Rovers have been on the rise globally. 

BMW ensure that their brand is easily relatable and clearly understood throughout the world. Their branding is simple yet effective, with a memorable logo, and concisely named car ranges such as, the BMW 3 series, the 5 series, the 7 series, the Z line. The simple, numeric name system can be understood globally. For example, “328” tells you the car is in the 3 series and the engine is 2.8 liters in size — easy! 

BMW has also made themselves popular amongst the masses through media platforms and cinemas. Think of a universally known film featuring a car chase— BMW has probably somehow been involved. Some of the most famous placements of BMW cars on the big screen include The World Is Not Enough (1999) which saw Piers Brosnan driving a 2000 BMW Z8, Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (2015) in which Tom Cruise was at the wheel of a BMW M3, and Fast & Furious 6 (2013) which showcased a fleet of 2010 BMW M5s. These blockbusters amongst others, have reached audiences around the world, which has done wonders for BMW’s global brand. 

As For Coca-Cola 

By combining promotional campaigns about happiness and using strategic product placements, Coca- Cola is by far one of the most recognizable brands in the world. It is estimated that Coca-Cola reaches daily servings of 1.9 billion globally, and many of its slogans such as “Open Happiness” are recognised around the globe. Recently, retro coke bottles were featured in the popular Netflix show Stranger Things 3 (2019) which was watched by at least 18.2 million viewers worldwide. Like BMW, Coca-Cola is using popular culture to its advantage. 

Coca-Cola has helped establish itself around the world through the Expedition 206 Project in 2010. The project starred three twenty-somethings, Tony Martin, from Washington, D.C.; Kelly Ferris from Brussels; and Antonio Santiago from Mexico City. The group set out on a quest to visit every Coca-Cola- selling country around the world to find out ‘what makes people happy’. The journey took the trio to 186 countries (just short of the 206 where Coca-Cola is sold), and they travelled 275,000 miles. If this doesn’t show Coca-Cola’s commitment to connect with their customers around the world then I don’t know what does! 

In addition to Coca-Cola’s success, they thoughtfully ensured they were involved in the most popular worldwide event: The Olympics. The 2010 Vancouver games featured the slogan “Open the Games. Open Happiness” and was broadcast around the world. 

Is There Anywhere McDonald’s Isn’t? 

First started in San Bernardino, California in 1940, McDonalds’ famous ‘Golden Arches’ is now recognizable throughout the world. As a result of their rapid expansion, McDonald’s is now one of the biggest brand leaders of the fast food industry and one of the largest employers around the world. McDonald’s serve at least 70 million customers every day — that’s more than the population of the UK! 

The two strategies, Standardization and Adaption, is what has largely contributed to the success of McDonald’s. 

Regardless if you’re eating in New York, London or Tokyo, using the standardization strategy means that some items McDonald’s serve will always be consistently the same. The Classic meals such as a Big Mac and fries can be found around the globe with perfect uniformity. Wherever you are, you know what you’re getting with McDonald’s. This strategy brings comfort and trust to its customers. 

Alternatively, using the Adaptation strategy, McDonald’s meals get a little bit mixed up. This is to ensure that the meals they serve match with the taste buds of people all around the world. Here are some of my favorites: 

• Japan: McChoco Potato (fries covered in chocolate sauce) 
• Canada: Poutine 
• Italy: Spinach and Parmesan Nuggets 
• India: McCurry Pan 
• Philippines: Chicken McDo with Spaghetti 
• China: Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese Toastie 

The Bottom Line On The Best Business Brands

However unusual the tactics these mega-brands have used, for example lookers with their BMW 3 series, have rocketed them to universal fame. Quirky marketing campaigns and creative thinking about the desires of customers everywhere could make the difference between staying local and conquering the worldwide market.

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