This post is part of an assignment for my Global Branding course at WU.
It never occurred to me that businesses would have different brand names in different geographies until seeing TK Maxx on Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna, Austria. From there, I began noticing a few familiar brands with completely different names than the one I know back in the states.
- Aldi –> Hofer (Austria)
- Milky Way –> Mars (UK)
- 3 Musketeers –> Milky Way (UK)
- Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies –> Choco Krispies (Austria)
- Dannon –> Danone (Italy)
- Axe –> Lynx (UK)
- Dove –> Galaxy (UK)
- Diet Coke –> Coca Cola Light (Europe)
- Olay –> Olaz (German-speaking)
- Budweiser –> Bud (Europe)
- Burger King –> Hungry Jack’s (Australia)
- Dr. Oetker –> Cameo (Italy)
- KFC –> PFK (Quebec)
A variety of reasons exist for the difference in brand names, not all of them perfectly clear from a consumer standpoint (the Mars/Milky Way/3 Musketeers situation). In the case of Budweiser/Bud, legal issues, specifically copyright disputes require American Budweiser to market itself as Bud in most of Europe while Czech Budweiser to market itself as Czechvar in the U.S. Other times, the renaming of a brand is due to existing companies in the new market that have similar names. Burger King is Hungry Jack’s in Australia because another company already uses the name Burger King. As for Dannon, Dr. Oetker, and KFC, the name change was part of the company’s adaptation to the market. The names are different because they better cater to the language of that geography. Dannon sounds more American than Danone, the original name; Cameo is easier to pronounce for Italians, and PFK stands for Poulet Frit Kentucky, the French translation of Kentucky Fried Chicken, which adheres to Quebec’s strict usage of French in all brand names.
Brand names are extremely important because they are the identifying factor of a product or service in the consumers’ minds. We associate products with their brands and associate brands with various meanings, attributes, and experiences so the brand name is the element that ties the two together by giving consumers a tool to categorize the brand within their minds. Thus having a brand name that not only communicates the brand’s values and desired positioning but also caters to the consumer by being localized to their geography, demographics, psychographics, and behavior is paramount to achieving strong brand image.
In the cases of Dannon, Dr. Oetker, KFC, Olay, and Coca Cola Light, name differentiation resulted from desires to cater to each market’s language needs and preferences. This approach, though confusing for globetrotting individuals, is an effective way of adapting to consumers and increasing success on the global scale. Another perk is that consumers are more likely to purchase the product because it better reflects their country and appeals to their nationality and unique experiences.