Branding Makes The Difference; Establishing Global Emotional Connections

Branding Makes The Difference; Establishing Global Emotional Connections

Ömer Şengüler, 17 February 2015

Thanks to a growing economy and increased political prestige in the last 10 years, Turkey ranks 19th among the 100 most valuable nation brands in the world. But Turkish brands having hardships becoming global brands so far, the target which the country has set for itself, is to be one of the world’s 10 biggest economies by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, looks like very challenging mission without global brands.

If we don’t become focused on branding, it’s very difficult for Turkey to attain the targets set for future. On the ranking prepared by Brand Finance -an international company specializing in brand valuation-, there are no Turkish brands among the world’s most valuable 500 brands and only a handful of Turkish brands were counted in the Forbes Global 2000 list. In terms of the economic value of country, Turkey surpasses countries such as Denmark, Taiwan and Belgium, but with regards to building brands, it has been not a success for Turkey. Branding, by hugely increases the value of a product and enormously contributes to the total welfare of a country. Turkey aims to increase its export figure, which now stands at more than $150 billion, to $500 billion by 2023, while the value of a single brand, Apple Inc, is as big as $700 billion.

Noting that the mere brand value of Apple stands at $104 billion, Branding is everything! If you are not a brand, then you are nothing. The only instrument available to you then is selling at a low price. Among the top world economies, Turkey comes right before countries such as the Netherlands and Sweden, but doesn’t have global brands as many as those countries already have. And it is the branding which makes all the difference. Although Turkey is the world’s 16th and Europe’s 6th largest economy, the brand value of the top 100 Turkish brands comes up to $33.2 billion, which is much less than half of Apple’s figure.

In recent years, Turkey has taken very important steps in the direction of branding. While many Turkish companies are established within Turkey and the wider region, when it comes to being known on a global scale, they need to focus on something else to do better globally. This is a big obstacle to overcome if Turkey is to become one of the top 10 economies in the world. Turkish brands like VESTEL and BEKO which are two of the top 10 home electronics manufacturers in the world. Turkish Banks, GARANTI and AKBANK have potential to be next HSBCs in few years.  TURKCELL can easily compete with Vodafone with its operational and technological strength.  So what’s holding back Turkish textile giants like KOTON from becoming the next Zara or Turkish Beer EFES next Heineken?

Although Turkish brands are top strong in the global construction, energy, retail, and home electronics industries, they often lag behind in establishing an emotional connection with international consumers. There’s a tendency to rely on reputations of usefulness. The challenge is to take Turkish brands from functional, commoditized products to those that fulfill the emotional dimension of people’s hearts and minds. By doing so, brands will deliver the long-term resonance they need to evolve with consumers across the world. Also Turkish brands do not have long term marketing and communication strategies to establish solid relationships with customers.  If we think of prominent super brand Apple, we see that it has surpassed being seen as purely functional. Through highly considered branding, it has succeeded in reaching people emotionally, resulting in customer loyalty in the long term. In many ways, Apple transcends cultural or societal affiliations and brings home a powerfully simple message while sustaining its position as a signifier of innovation.

Making the leap to being truly global does not mean that Turkish brands must completely shed their cultural characteristics. Actual it means they should stand upon already worldly-known signifiers of Turkish Culture. Turkey because of its historical significance and geographical position already have brand products and brand cities. Turkish hospitality, Turkish Coffee Culture, Turkish Delights, Turkish Cuisine; Kebabs Baklava, Rakı, Mediterranean costs and Anatolian civilizations are great unique brands which create experiences and loyalties shared by billions of people around the world . One company that heavily draws from local culture is Turkish Airlines, which has become one of the fastest-growing airlines in the history of commercial aviation. Turkish Airlines positions its brand to both reflect Turkish culture and enhance the prestige of Istanbul as a business and tourist hub between East and West.

In fact, it’s Turkish Airline’s ability to be both global and local that is the secret to its branding success. We, Global Magic Brands, are the one of the brand consultancy firms in Turkey. It’s something we reinforced in our communication strategy we developed for Turkish Airlines.  We examined the sales, marketing data and financial statements from the past three years and conducted an analysis on transit passenger traffic across Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East. After evaluating the findings of our qualitative and quantitative studies, we advised Turkish Airlines to take notice value of its national and cultural characteristics of brand. Turkish Airlines adopted the slogan of “Widen your World” thanks to the new global creative agency and went on to reshape its message in a manner more focused on communicating with international transit passengers, Turkish Airlines is able to advance into a Leading Global Brand.

Turkish brands are flourishing domestically, and some have experienced expansion internationally with minimal marketing, but what really marks a global super brand is the ability to make a long-term bond with consumers all over the world. National brands should look at good examples to learn how to enhance their inherent strengths and have to differentiate strategic marketing from advertising. Reputation management, brand architecture, sponsorships and being present every corner of the world even in duty shops and collaborative marketing are the tools and strategies should immediately be employed. After all, if Turkey is to fulfill as a growth expected economy, it needs to develop its global brands first.

“Be a global brand, I bet will worth it…”

Ömer ŞENGÜLER
Branding Specialist, February 2015, Istanbul

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  • The dimensions of culture , such as power distance, the context of the culture and the local work ethic is an area of marketing and social science that is closely related to Global marketing. The ability to discern cultural differences through initial assessment of another market is considered a critical enabler to progress in Global marketing.

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