CEOs and Brand Leadership

Larry Light and Joan Kiddon, Authors, New Brand Leadership: Managing at the Intersection of Globalization, Locatlization, and Personalization

CEOs and Brand Leadership

The world is becoming more global, more local, and more personal all at the same time. How business leaders manage global brands must now change to address the collision of these three forces.  Global marketing has evolved from central standardization (One-Box Model), to Think Global. Act Local. (Two-Box model or the hand off of global thinking to regions for implementation). It now needs to further evolve to a new Collaborative Three-Box Model. The Collaborative Three-Box Model is more than a change in how we market our brands. It is a culture change based on shared responsibility. It is a construct, a platform for strategies, metrics, and actions that address both global brand necessities and regional expressions that make the brand relevant at the regional, local, and personal levels.

How you manage your brand is how you manage your business. Brand is not a separate function or division. Whether consumer or business-to-business; whether product, service, or corporate brands, there is no shareholder value if there is no customer-perceived value. Brands can live forever if properly managed.

The Collaborative Three-Box Model defines how global and regional teams work together across functions and across geographies. Responsibilities and accountabilities vary depending on whether it is global or local. However, each step in the process is collaborative, not exclusive.

There are two big thoughts at the heart of the Three-Box Model. The first is that great ideas do not care where they come from. This means that global and regional teams across functions share knowledge, intelligence, and they support each other in creating great, innovative, relevant branded experiences.  The second is the concept of Freedom Within the Framework. For each brand there is a global set of guardrails. These guardrails are fixed. We call this the Brand Framework. However, to keep the brand locally relevant and personally differentiated, it is the responsibility of regional teams to be as creative as possible within the brand’s framework. This is Freedom within the Framework.

Box #1 defines a brand’s global vision. It describes what we believe the brand can and should be. Global brand leaders take the lead in Box #1. However, they work with the regional brand teams. Box #1 requires essential collaborative input from a cross-functional, cross-geographic team of global and regional leaders. The responsibility for Box #1 is 80% global and 20% local.

Box #2 defines the brand framework. Responsibility is shared 50%/50% between global and local, a true test for collaboration. Once the Framework is created, it is the responsibility of the global brand leader to maintain the Framework’s integrity around the world and across functions. This is the hardest part of the process. It requires working together in ways that are not in sync with silos, bureaucracy, and command-and-control behaviors.

Box # 3 details the local level decisions and actions that work within the global brand framework. Local plans, implementation of local plans and accountability for results are local responsibilities. Respecting local relevance and personal uniqueness are critical if businesses are to produce growing, enduring, and profitable local results. Box #3 responsibilities are weighted 80% local and 20% global. The global team provides support, thought leadership, and governance to assure alignment with the global brand vision and framework.

A truly collaborative three-box, shared responsibility model creates global brands that are great, locally relevant, and provide personally unique brand relationships with customers. The coordination, cooperation, and shared responsibility of the Collaborative Three-Box Model changes the way brand leaders think and work together. Collaboration trumps confrontation.

Global marketing has huge advantages. But there are huge advantages to localized marketing and personalized marketing as well. Shared responsibility works.  Our global world is fast becoming a whole of many parts. The opportunities for marketing are extraordinary. The Collaborative Three-Box Model is a better way to grow enduring profitable growth by ensuring that global brands are managed for success.

[Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at]

About the Author

Larry Light is the coauthor with Joan Kiddon of New Brand Leadership: Managing at the Intersection of Globalization, Locatlization, and Personalization. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Arcature LLC, consultants in brand management. Light was a senior executive and Board member at BBDO and President of the international division of Ted Bates. He was Global CMO of McDonald's from 2002 to 2005. More recently, Light was the Global Chief Brands Officer of IHG. Joan Kiddon is President and COO of Arcature LLC.