This book is a remarkable attempt to summarise how to build a global brand. What the author shows is that it's a tricky business, requiring sensitivity both to an organisation's internal culture and the very different external environments in which it operates.
Van Gelder builds a multi-layered analysis of the many factors that shape how a brand is perceived in different markets and cultures. It's an awesome act of scholarship that would please an academic, yet packed with enough practical examples that a marketing professional can see its relevance.
What becomes apparent from this global tour is the sheer number of factors that challenge the idea of a one-size-fits-all global strategy. Cultural conventions and market circumstances differ so much by country that great skill is needed to position a brand effectively in each.
The author's international experience and understanding of different cultures help to make this is an impressive read. Critics might complain that it largely sidesteps moral debates about global branding; but for those who are concerned with the practicalities of internationalising a brand, it makes an excellent - if somewhat intimidating - reference for the many pitfalls to avoid.
John Moore is founder and director of roundourhouse.com.