Collaboration ensures Danfoss’ success in Southeast Asia


How can CMOs create success for their company's brand in an increasingly complex world?

More assets. In more markets. Delivered faster. For less – the challenges of modern-day international CMOs will not be alleviated any time soon. While their global marketing strategies need to yield bottom-line results. consumers are proving to be distinctly uninterested and uninspired by campaigns that are copied and posted across different markets. Global strategies must be executed carefully to create relevance and local impact.

Of course, this is easier said than done. 

Our Network partner Worldwide Partners – one of the world's largest international networks of independent agencies – together with The CMO Council recently released a survey of 350 CMOs worldwide that sheds light on the challenges facing international marketers.

57% of respondents revealed that a lack of local insights has had a negative impact on their ability to run successful global campaigns.


The question remains, however, how do the most successful brands manage to unearth these insights?


From South Jutland to Southeast Asia

Danfoss is a global company with customers in more than 100 countries, headquartered in Nordborg, Denmark.

From this town of just 6,000 people, marketing strategies that are executed around the world are developed. Danfoss’ ability to accomplish this stems in part from a strong understanding of the fundamentals of global marketing.

"The essence of branding globally is a strong core story, and we have that", Danfoss' Head of Group Branding & Digital Communication, Mette Munk, explains.

This gives Danfoss a solid platform on which to communicate, with local insights providing the basis for variances across markets.

But when moving into new, unknown markets – such as when Danfoss wanted to boost awareness in Southeast Asia through a digital branding campaign – they looked for what Mette describes as “a partner who could deliver the necessary local knowledge".

As well as working for nearly half a century with global-operating Danish companies, Advance is one of the 70 agencies from 40 countries in the Worldwide Partners network.

Ann-Louise Rosen is partner and head of international network relations here at Advance. She explains that although our ‘core competency’ is to define a company's communication strategy by unearthing universal insights based on local data, when clients "do not have access to local insights because they do not have a local presence, we can gain the local perspective by drawing on our international network of specialists".

This is precisely what was required for the Danfoss South East Asia campaign.



Consumers don't care about your global strategy

Local insights are crucial to any successful campaign, believes John Harris, CEO of Worldwide Partners.

"Consumers are quite indifferent to a company's global brand strategy. The brand has to mean something to them – their culture, language and the country they live in. And consumers are quick to understand if companies are not adapting their messages to the context in which they are delivered."

We all know that communication needs to be truly personal if it is to be effective. However, many companies require some form of structural change for this to happen.

The Worldwide Partners study revealed that inconsistent inter-departmental KPIs are a huge problem when it comes to driving growth through marketing and developing local campaigns based on a global strategy.

As John makes clear – "if the departments do not cooperate and have the same
goals, silos are created" – this is not the way to succeed in international marketing.



Companies are looking for dialogue

Ann-Louise suggests that the only way to counterbalance the complexities of international marketing is through new models of collaboration.

"Companies are seeking close partners who know their business well and can
act quickly and efficiently to ensure market penetration".

However, she adds that "in the reality we operate in, there is no time or money
for agencies to spend months disappearing, doing strategy work and developing creative solutions which we then present to the client".

For Ann-Louise, the best solution is based on close cooperation and ensures
that the right skills are brought in at the right time from both sides. "We should
not sit in each other's laps, but it is in the dialogue that the best solutions are found."

CEO of Worldwide Partners, John Harris, on international challenges of today's CMOs


Scaling up

Advance took this approach with the Danfoss campaign by being the singular point of contact – developing the overall strategy, creative concept and campaign elements. These were all validated by a Malaysian Worldwide Partners agency which was responsible for the defining the local media plan, media buy, and optimisation in five separate markets.

Having a strong network not only allowed Advance to choose the best partner for the specific task, but also created a high degree of flexibility in the case that new requirements were added at the last minute.

This agility and reach is particularly important for a client such as Danfoss. as Mette Munk suggests. "We are a big player and a complex organisation, and we require a certain scale from our partners. They need to be ready when we press go".

But the most important element of any global campaign remains being able to understand users across borders. Mette comments that this "has worked well with Advance, who through their network can gain insights, and can also continuously test the effect of the content we run".

"That is exactly why this collaboration has been so effective".

Ann-Louise's advice for CMOs looking to develop strong global concepts that also work locally

  • 1. Clear direction -

    Prioritise getting a clear direction for your marketing based on a common core story that differentiates the brand across markets.

  • 2. Strong network -

    Choose a partner who is ‘well connected’ and enjoys collaborating and running processes in an international context.

  • 3. Flexibility -

    Create a flexible and transparent collaboration that incorporates the right (local) competencies at the right times in the process as well as the ability to scale up and down.

  • 4. Decision-making -

    Make sure you and other key stakeholders are available in the process and that they work closely together so that decisions can be made quickly and effectively. This is a key factor in developing effective campaigns in a short space of time.

  • 5. Manage expectations -

    Be honest regarding expectations, roles and areas of responsibility both internally and among your partner landscape.

  • To find out more about our international network...

    Contact Ann-Louise

    Ann-Louise Rosen

    Client Service Director, Partner

    30 30 29 73