The challenge of brands taking truly global stands
Having spent much of my comms consulting career in Asia, I recently shared some perspectives in this new Japanese language article on the international cross-cultural dynamics of global brands taking stands in a world quickly polarizing into two geopolitical orbits (Chinese and Western).
These are the comments which I provided in my email interview with the journalist Tatsuya Mizuno:
Truly international brands must take truly international stands and realize that apologies cannot be confined within domestic or even regional boundaries. Increasingly — and this is alarming — the world is dividing into the bipolar pro-China and pro-Western camps and policy stances on controversial issues that protect business in one of these new geopolitical hemispheres will have the exact opposite effect in the other.
It is increasingly difficult for marketers to find middle ground. I recommend that brands try to be a bit like Singapore, conversant with both sides, independent in ideation, clear about its mission outside a geopolitical camp, and let both sides compete for positive attention.
Brands need to realize that China is now a world unto itself and radically different than the rest of the globe and may not fit into their outdated schema regarding what constitutes an international brand.
Times have changed and consumers all around the world are increasingly becoming global citizens who expect global companies to address global problems. A global consciousness is emerging, but refracted through Western and Chinese lenses where each side sees reality differently with no common truth.