Given the amount of money that global brands spend creating their corporate imagery and individual color treatments for their brands and products, you would assume that they would be pretty hot on global consistency. Designers and typographers spend hours, days, and even weeks agonizing over the psychology and meaning of colors in different cultures and the significance of a serif on non-serif typefaces. Branding is a huge business.
While, to a greater extent, what you will see as you travel around means that the logos and names are uniform around the world, there are some notable exceptions. There are a variety of reasons for this.
Companies like McDonalds, Coke and Starbucks has consistent imagery around the world but has been known to play around with its advertising. Australians call McDonald’s Macca’s. When the company was celebrating 50 years in the country in 2021, it created an ad campaign where it changed the imagery to show its name as Macca’s and built a whole campaign around it. The idea of the campaign was to demonstrate how a global brand was embedded in the country’s culture. The tagline was “We arrived as McDonald’s; you made us Macca’s.”
Part of the enormous success of McDonald’s is that there are these nods to local culture. If you look carefully, you can see subtle variations in their menu. In some countries, it is not even subtle. For example, in India, where the cow is sacred, the focus of McDonald’s menu is not a beef patty but a whole variety of chicken dishes, including the Chicken Maharaja Mac. It features chicken patties, jalapenos, and habanero sauce and is loosely based on the popular Indian dish chicken maharaja.
Another reason that there may be variations in the appearance of a brand in different territories is to ensure that customers visit the right business. This is particularly the case when you are operating online. In the online casino world, regulation varies from country to country, and in the USA, from state to state. The 1961 Wire Act makes it illegal for anyone to gamble across state boundaries. The person gambling must be physically located in the state where the casino is operating. In order to avoid any confusion, online casinos may have different branding, names, and colorways.
The same principle applies from one country to the next. Customers participating in online gambling in Canada, for example, would need to be able to easily recognize a Canadian licensed operator as opposed to the American one. With little differentiation in language or currency (at first site), alternative branding can cut through any confusion.
Sometimes a brand is forced to change its name due to language variations. This can occur when a product has been developed for one market and then looks to expand to another market. For example, Dr. Oetker makes baking products and frozen pizzas for many European markets. It is a German brand. When it wanted to expand into Italy, the company knew that they needed to appear Italian. They did this to gain trust and to look authentic. So they chose the name Cammeo (later changed to Cameo). The German pizza producers Cameo brand is the frozen pizza with the highest sales figures in the Italian market.
Occasionally a brand is left with no choice other than to change its name for a number of reasons. It could be that the world is difficult to pronounce in the target market. This is the case for Sprite in China, where it is called Xeubi. This translates as blue-green snow, which is easy to remember as opposed to Sprite, which has no meaning to a Chinese speaker. Burger King had to call themselves Hungry Jack’s in Australia because someone else had already trademarked the name when they decided to enter the market there in the 1970s. Everything looks the same visually; it’s just the name that is different.