Wavemaker’s Business Unit Director, Cheryl Dube, shares five tips on working with global brands, which include making the most of it, learning the landscape, communication and more.
1. Make the most of it
Sometimes when you start on an account, you are not fully familiar with the landscape you are stepping into. Make the most of it by immersing yourself in the brand and its culture as much as possible. My first global brand experience was on an automotive client. While I ended up enjoying every moment of learning about this new sector, it was a big change of pace from my first loves: retail and FMCG. As a young strategist, I am pleased that I took this in my stride.
2. Learn the landscape
This is so important because not all countries and consumers are the same. I have learnt that understanding the market landscape in a specific country helps to open my mind and expose me to different ways of working and communicating. Know your landscape and embrace it. Barriers around data availability and information also play a large role in this. Not every market you work in has access to the same tools; knowing what you have to work with is critical.
3. Communication is key
Working with colleagues and clients from different markets requires patience and understanding. Public holidays and time zones differ, ways of working differ and, most importantly, we do not always speak the same language. Working on global brands pushed me to start learning new languages. Fortunately, the modern world offers many learning tools to help and, while learning a new language is tough, it has definitely been a worthwhile experience.
4. Grow a thick skin
If language is a barrier then so too are the different personalities you will encounter. I have encountered some of my toughest clients and colleagues while working on global brands. While it has sometimes been difficult to navigate these experiences, they have also been character building, and they have taught me so much dealing with conflict and misalignment.
5. Start your own global career
‘I’ve always wanted to travel abroad and work in another country, and working with colleagues from around the world has been a great way of exposing me to different ways of working. While we all speak the media and marketing language, it has been fascinating to note the different approaches my international colleagues adopt, and has given me a better understanding of where I could fit in as a strategist in the future.