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Global branding. Sounds like a “beast” to some, but it's the buzzword in e-marketing for the new millennium. Are you ready to tackle it, you wonder? Can you afford to do what it takes to get your brand established worldwide? Let me assure you that you can!

But first, a startling bit of news: Small businesses aren't interested in branding. Period. In fact, most don't even know what it means! Why? Probably because they have more important issues to worry about, like paying their bills and finding new customers. Besides, it costs too much. But doesn't branding help get you customers in the first place? Can it be done on a shoestring? Let's examine these issues and some others that are involved in the making of a global brand.

Get Out Your Compass

Knowing how huge the global market is going to become, we need to first develop a roadmap for bringing clear and focused global attention to your product or service offering right from the start. That's what brings in customers. At the very least, hasn't everyone already recognized that, merely by putting up a web site, you instantaneously enter the global arena? We are talking about reaching close to 6 billion people who surf the Net looking for the world's best products and services. Wouldn't you love to give your company a living presence on the Web? A presence that grows and changes organically along with your business? If you are prepared to adapt constantly to your customer's point of view and provide an integrated experience for them--offline as well as online--you are well on your way to developing a solid global brand.

Ask Yourself Three Questions

The task of developing a global brand begins with the selection of a good corporate name, logo, and marketing message, and the projection of a finely tuned image in all your communications. Start with these three questions: (1) What business are you in? (2) What sets your brand apart from competing brands? (3) What makes it the best in the world? In other words, ask yourself, “What are we all about?” and then move on from there. It boils down to knowing your business.

What's In a Name?

The name you select should look good. Can it readily morph into a work of art? Think Nike and their logo. Does it sound good? Think in terms of exposure via radio or personal recommendations. Try IBM. Lastly, does it translate well into other countries' alphabets and writing systems, such as ‘kanji' in Japan, or into their languages, such as Pepsi Cola, which is considered a lucky name in Chinese, meaning: “hundred happy things.” Famous brands like eBay and Amazon enjoy high levels of customer awareness, and serve as virtual homes-within-the-home for many of us. They attained their huge success by being first at the starting gate and playing important roles in the personal and professional lives of their users.

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Laurel Delaney ( is the founder of and the creator of "Borderbuster," an e-newsletter, and The Global Small Business Blog. She can be reached at