Branding and advertising projects are always laced with variables including demographics, ownability, actual uses vs. aspirational uses, flexibility to grow and limitations to inhibit inconsistency —and this is all before you lay the first idea to paper. But one variable that can change all other variables is whether or not it’s an International brand, and where it will end up in the world.

Culturally speaking, colors are interpreted differently in different regions; what stands for luxury on one side of the world might be a color reserved for budget on the other. (For example: RED in western cultures evokes excitement and passion and, while in the Middle East it represents danger and caution.)

A brand-defining photo that is considered socially acceptable in one country, may be downright explicit in others.

In terms of copy… words, even fictional ones, often have different meanings and connotations in different countries (sometimes within the same region) and run the risk of being offensive, or just completely against your purpose altogether as illustrated here. And in turn, a clever tagline in one language might mean something terrible in others. Collateral pieces must be carefully considered beforehand to allow more space, or less space, to suit whichever languages they may be translated to.

Sometimes the differences are as subtle as knowing how certain regions refer to themselves, or how they dress, or how they refer to local things to ensure that you don’t make the mistake of being un-relatable. For example: If you were writing colloquial copy between friends in the UK, you wouldn’t say “Hey bro, I’m getting on the elevator” or a Mexican term of endearment wouldn’t be “Parce.” Similarly, if you’re doing a lifestyle photo shoot that will be featured in both the U.S. and India, you will most definitely need two wardrobes to accommodate.

The differences between local, national and international campaigns can be huge or subtle, but the results of a mistake will always be detrimental to the brand. That’s why the planning, managing, and executing of International campaigns are best left to the pros. You know, like Navigant Marketing. (I hear those guys are good.)