Brand Building

The New Lingua Franca: How Visual Storytelling Can Drive Global Brand Marketing

Local marketing managers want custom content that speaks to their customers and demonstrates a contextual understanding of their needs and aspirations. Brand directors want to amortize assets across their global portfolio. Oftentimes, these competing goals create a challenge for global brand teams that are trying to maintain local relevance, while also delivering cost-effective solutions.social_icons

Fortunately, as digital assets and common social platforms have spread around the world, the opportunity has been created for brands to develop a visual brand lexicon that can travel across borders with ease.


Visual storytelling elements have been with us since the beginning of time, and we have long been familiar with international traffic symbols and symbols of distress, as well as emoticons that are embedded into millions of instant messages each day.


In the last few years, as mobile digital solutions have proliferated, the opportunity has evolved for the creation of health- specific iconography.  For example, these symbols, developed by UCSF Fresno as part of the Hablamos Juntos project, comprise a medical way-finding lexicon that transcends language and can help to immediately orient patients as they navigate the healthcare system.

It’s also worth noting that creating a visual lexicon that works across borders is not always an easy task. As a case in point, this recent image from the restrooms at the Sochi Olympics went viral – but for all the wrong reasons!

In case you are wondering, this visual seems to prohibit: sochi_icons
* Peeing while standing up
* Fishing!
* Vomiting
* Sitting on top of the toilet
* And injecting heroin.

In spite of the challenges, clearly the role of visual storytelling is growing in impact and prevalence across a newly ascendant global digital platform. For brand marketers in the healthcare space, the opportunity is clear – how can you leverage visual storytelling to promote your brand story on a global scale?mm_question

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Nigel Downer

Nigel Downer

As “Client Advocate,” Nigel works with his clients on a day to day basis to ensure that the Cadient team has a deep understanding of the client’s long and short term goals. As part of that process he meets with clients to share best practices, emerging technologies, and relevant success stories, with the goal of identifying new opportunities for growth and matching those opportunities to potential solutions. Nigel is a graduate of Boston University and earned his MBA in Strategic Leadership from Pennsylvania State University. He currently serves as member of the Advisory Board for the Pan Asian Clinical Research Association.

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