In today’s global economy, many brands have a presence around the world, with customers from Milwaukee to Milan and beyond. With that comes vendor partnerships in Asia, Europe, South America and elsewhere. This extensive reach lends a strategic advantage for distributing a customer’s brand on every corner of the Earth, but it also comes with inherent challenges.

For packaging, two rise to the top: brand integrity and operations. Brand integrity, a crucial element for sales, is at risk when production is happening at different locations that require navigation of time zones, languages and other factors. Operations can quickly get out of hand, making quality and consistency from concept to shipment difficult to maintain. To uphold both of these important aspects of the packaging process requires scale, flexibility and efficiency.

How can brands accomplish this? Here are three crucial actions companies can take to protect and grow their businesses on a global scale.

Tackle International Communication Issues

Modern technologies and adaptive packaging solutions are crucial, but have the potential to become liabilities if clear communication about goals and expectations is compromised at any level. To avoid predicaments resulting from misunderstandings due to language barriers, time zone complications, and limitations in travel and on-site presence, companies must maintain direct communication with their manufacturing partners.

For example, QuadPackaging, a leading global provider of print and marketing services, addresses these challenges for clients by collaborating closely with a localized team of brand experts. This team guides brands through the process and helps to protect brand consistency by identifying specific pain points within the supply chain that could affect the packaging’s look and feel, such as reproduction inconsistencies or functional issues on the retail shelf.

Maintain Production Quality Standards

In addition to clear, ongoing communication with all brand partners, it is important to ensure that the brand standards being used to produce packaging are the same at every production site. Brands must work closely with new product development teams to maintain brand standards, and finding quality partners is critical to maintaining consistent brand quality.

When a brand establishes open communication with new partners at the beginning of a project, it allows quality standards to be discussed early and often. This familiarity with standards is key for managing brand consistency across locations, packaging types and materials used to produce that packaging, as well as varying print methods.

As a best practice, brands can create a set of global brand standards to be shared across the supply chain. For the best results, make sure these standards are attainable across all packaging types and locations. Too often, brands establish their standards in a bubble, then share across the supply chain and simply hope those standards can be maintained across all materials. This is where a team of production experts can offer great value to guide the process, offering deep knowledge of the packaging process to guide standards that are sure to be as practical as they are eye-catching.

Once this brand standard is determined, both online systems and physical quality retains can be established that will ensure the brand is protected and consistent across all packaging, on a global scale.

As an extra measure, document a set of best practices and standard operating procedures for use as a training reference. This improves adaptation of the standards across the entire packaging conversion process.

Utilize Third-Party Brand Management

Using an enhanced service platform to manage the production process allows brands to take advantage of innovating packaging design opportunities, and still maintain brand consistency. An enhanced service platform can also increase speed to market, while simultaneously reducing overall costs.

QuadPackaging has developed a program called GlobalPassport  to deliver these benefits for brands.  GlobalPassport offers centralized pre-production, rigorous quality assurance systems, and regional expert support. Together, these features deliver consistently high-quality packaging for products, and get them on store shelves faster.

By working with a partner who provides an enhanced service platform, brands gain the support of a  system that manages their packaging and supply chain management from a single, streamlined source. The brand representative is then able to remain focused on growing the business rather than getting weighed down in managing production logistics.

A Model for Global Brand Consistency

In today’s world, brands with a global reach face a number of challenges in maintaining brand consistency while operating around the globe. It is common for these brands to work with any number of vendor partners in different locations. This holds a number of advantages, and also unique challenges – particularly when it comes to protecting brand consistency.

The packaging production process can be especially challenging, as each production site and material creates a new opportunity for inconsistencies to emerge. But with scale, flexibility and efficiency, this process can be simplified.

Brands can be proactive to uphold brand consistency across all packaging by taking a few key actions to maintain its end-to-end management of the packaging production process. These steps include tackling international communication issues up front; maintaining consistent production quality standards for the brand; and utilizing a third-party brand management partner.

A product’s packaging plays an influential role in how customers engage it on the shelf, as well as the brand itself. By following these steps, brands can protect their consistency across the entire globe, ensuring the customer experience is just as intended.