Bruno Herrmann likes to deliver a simple message: “Digital is global in nature, but not by default.”
As director of globalization for The Nielsen Company, Herrmann is responsible for global content operations across six regions. With a focus on global content design and management as well as on international customer experience, he's passionate about getting companies to view themselves as global entities.
There's no great local experience without global excellence, he said, explaining, "In the digital globalization age, inclusion, integration, and collaboration are paramount to delivering on global and holistic experiences."
Herrmann joined The Nielsen Company in 2003 to manage international content and digital marketing programs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa before leading digital content deployment globally. Before that, he managed online globalization programs at HP and content management initiatives in addition to web localization at Compaq.
Earlier in his career, he worked in the marketing communications and localization industries, taking part in major international projects for high-profile technology clients.
With such an extensive understanding of globalization, Herrmann is in an excellent position to acknowledge several truths. For one, in the digital age, marketing and communications leaders cannot escape challenges put out by customers who are more diverse and demanding than ever.
But they must also recognize that a global footprint is no longer an achievement but an expectation. What sets companies apart is their global excellence, he explained. "This is translated into efficiency and effectiveness across geographies from a strategic perspective," he said.
Herrmann will share more insights about capitalizing on the global power of digital customer experience at CMSWire's DX Summit this Nov. 14 through 16 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago.
We chatted with him recently to learn more about his commitment to globalization in the age of the customer.
Managing Worldwide Experiences
Walter: What’s the thrust of the message you plan to deliver at the DX Summit?
Herrmann: You have to avoid the pitfalls of digital globalization. In normal life the world isn't flat. I would like to explain and show how issues can be avoided, and what should be done up front, all along the content value chain. What's the difference between normal experiences and digital experiences? Today in the digital, global age, it’s not effective to target one normalized experience around the world. You must do it in a very customer-centric way. It sounds easy to do, but it’s an issue and concern for multinational, global organizations.
Walter: How does this philosophy work for companies that don’t see themselves doing business outside the US?
Herrmann: That’s another important point. Local, or so-called local or regional companies, should really think about going global up front. One of my mantras is that digital is global in nature but by not by default. So every time you go digital you are going to go global by nature. You have to do something and make sure when you go digital, you go global at the same time. That’s the difference between going global and going digital. Many people believe it’s just good enough to go digital to go global. Maybe they’ll have a global footprint but it's not enough. You have to make your footprint work.
Walter: What are some examples of this?
Herrmann: Dropbox, LinkedIn ... they were global because their web sites were accepted globally. They were global from day one, but they also put a lot of effort and invested quite a lot into making the their digital properties and presence truly engaging. It’s not enough just to say that you’re global, you have to meet the customer online.
Walter: This sounds like a major focus of your work.
Herrmann: Global leadership, global product management, that’s where my passion is. I’m really excited in managing and leading global. If you ask a company like LinkedIn, HP, Google or PepsiCo, they will tell you they embrace digital globalization as a concept. But not all companies do what it takes to manage their global presence effectively, and I'll be discussing that at the DX Summit.
Social media has been the real accelerator. It’s also something that is global by nature but not by default. You have to make it work internationally. It has to be immediately usable or actionable. It’s been a great accelerator of global digitization.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
Herrmann: I’m all about traveling and playing squash as well as doing some charity work and being involved with other types of non-government organizations.