Maintaining a Solid Brand Identity Across International Markets – with Tabitha Aldrich-Smith and Fritz Quinn

Maintaining a Solid Brand Identity Across International Markets

In a recent conversation between Fritz Quinn, VP of International Communications at American Express, and Tabitha Aldrich-Smith, VP of Marketing Communications at Eutelsat OneWeb, tml Partners discussed the opportunities and challenges of maintaining a solid brand identity when operating in various international markets.

Fritz Quinn – VP International Communications, American Express

Tabitha Aldrich-Smith – VP Marketing Communications, Eutelsat OneWeb


tml Partners support global communications teams with global remits to find the right global corporate affairs talent, putting us at the epicentre of these conversations.

Here are some of the key findings, with 5 considerations when maintaining a solid brand identity internationally:

The Importance of a Clear Company Mission

Communications leaders and the wider business leadership team need to have a clear and easy-to-understand company mission, and this starts with the CEO. This is vital so that everyone understands why they show up to work every day and what the business is trying to accomplish.

“At American Express, we have a very strong brand. Our company is 173 years old. There’s a lot of investment in time and energy that goes into building that. We’re very clear about what our company’s mission is from the top down.” commented Fritz.

“The mission for our business is to be the most trusted satellite communications provider for our partners. Part of that is ensuring our partners and suppliers are all behind the mission and understand why we’re doing that, whether they’re internal or external. They understand that we want to connect the unconnected and to connect people who are the hardest to reach to the Internet.” added Tabitha.

Alignment Within Departments

When teams across the company work in sync, they can make sure the brand looks and feels the same everywhere. It’s like telling the same great story that everyone around the world can understand and connect with. Having a clear company mission is great, but it needs to be communicated and put into context for each team across the business, laddering up to the company mission.

“As a leadership team and as a broader team, we do spend time talking about how we want to work with each other. It’s making sure that there’s clear alignment with your own leaders and departments” commented Fritz.

Inclusion and Ownership

To ensure alignment and employee buy-in, it’s important to give people ownership across the business. When you have listened to their needs and how you can improve communication, people will feel “a greater sense of pride in what they’re doing and to go ahead and execute against the broader mission for the company” , commented Fritz. 

Brand Monitoring and Asset Management

It’s important to ensure you are monitoring how your brand is used internally and externally. One easy win is to build a DAM (Digital and Asset Management) system. This enables people to download verified brand assets they can use, making it easier for them to access logos, branding guidelines, press releases, and even guidance on tone-of-voice.

“All of our partners, suppliers, and journalists, wherever they are, can download some verified assets which helps to make it easy. It’s a simple thing, but it matters, especially when you’re coming into new markets, and you want them to get the right assets” commented Tabitha.

Adaptation and Cultural Sensitivity

There should be a willingness to adapt strategies without compromising the essence of the brand when operating internationally. This might involve adjusting certain wording, visuals, or even product features while retaining the brand’s fundamental identity and core purpose. This also welcomes the opportunity to ensure you are understanding and respecting the cultural nuances of different markets. Through research and communication, brands can localise their efforts to ensure they resonate with the target audience without causing inadvertent offence.

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