Global Brand Identity as a Network of Localized Meanings

Elizabeth Gunawan, P.J. van den Hoven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article, we develop a semiotic model to analyze advertisement localization. This model focuses on the mental representations that local audiences build of a “global” brand identity. We demonstrate how this model fills up gaps left by a popular marketing model for global advertising. We argue that the seemingly linear three step marketing model implies several reciprocal processes in which meaning is developed and determined. This semiotic reinterpretation of the marketing model explains how a global brand identity maintains a dynamic relation with the actual brand identity that local customers construe. To illustrate the dynamics of the semiotic model, we analyzed localizations in the Snickers campaign “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” Because the semiotic model elaborates the dynamics between the professionals’ discourse used in developing a campaign and the localized “global” brand identities brought about in receiving the campaign, the model helps to explain anthropological dynamics in designing campaigns, the arising of locally differentiated “global” brand identities that are the result of global campaigns and the dynamic development of global campaigns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-67
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Marketing Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • global brand
  • global campaign
  • globalization
  • rhetoric
  • semiotics


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