What do great global brands have in common? They offer the same great user experience around the world. Starbucks, Apple or Zara offer the same user experience in every country, they keep a constant look & feel in their shops, their websites and their communications too. But everything is finely tuned to cater for the special needs of every market: from the pictures, to the payment and delivery options. And of course, the copy they use.
By localizing their offerings in every market, they compete on equal terms with the local players. The message has to be universal and make sense in every language at the same time. That's how you engage customers. And that's what successful global companies do so well even to the point of making people believe they are truly local. In order to do that, these companies are born global and grow with that global mindset.
And global brands need a constant message in every country since we consumers don't know any borders. We travel physically and digitally around the world. Customers experience your brand from different countries, so it's paramount that your key messages are always the same.
Keeping all collaterals constantly updated for every country from a central repository is also key. Local offices must be able to access the latest approved asset to use it in their campaigns, but you always want total control of anything related to your brand. From my experience, you don't want to give creative freedom to your local offices. The most valuable asset a global company has is its brand and you want to control every little detail.