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Brand Beckham: Five Lessons on International Marketing From David and Victoria Beckham

by Gary Muddyman  |  
April 1, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • How to expand your brand internationally
  • A winning example of growing your brand without compromising its core appeal

Brand Beckham —the husband-and-wife partnership of former England soccer captain David Beckham and former Spice Girl Victoria, aka Posh Spice—is worth an estimated £145 million ($226 million).

How can this team of "formers" be more famous and worth so much years after their prime, you ask?

The answer, quite simply, is brilliant international marketing. The fame of "Posh and Becks" straddles five continents. Beckham is the second most-recognizable foreign word in Japan (Coca-Cola is first).

So what can David and Victoria Beckham teach us about international marketing?

1. Set up base abroad

It's not enough to regularly travel to a new market. If you want to really succeed in that market, somebody has to live there. You never really understand a culture until you've lived it. Someone in your company has to be living and breathing the culture, getting to know the people: how they speak, what they like, and how they respond to marketing.

David Beckham first left England to play for Real Madrid in 2003. He was already a well-known soccer player in Europe, but by no means the most popular European star.

Beckham's time at Real Madrid secured his popularity outside the UK and Europe, most notably in Asia. The Spice Girls had already had remarkable success in Asia and reasonable success in the US. The Beckhams knew, however, that they had to conquer the US, as a couple, if Brand Beckham was going to be around for the long haul. So, in 2007, Posh and Becks moved to the US, as David signed a contract playing for LA Galaxy—a team most of his fans had never even heard of.

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Gary Muddyman is CEO of Conversis, a UK-based translation, localization, and international-marketing services provider.

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