“Think globally.” The phrase has become a banner headline for marketers in the information age. But before you launch your brand internationally there are some key issues to consider. Here we’ll review some of the essentials to remember when taking your brand to the next level.
1. Do Your Homework
When considering potential markets, don’t limit yourself. Finding the most receptive market for your brand means doing your homework. The region with the largest population may also have the largest number of competitors. And by extension, an underserved area with fewer people may be ripe for expansion. Fortunately there exist an abundance of surveys and consultants to help you gather the information you need for your brand’s international launch. Look at the market trends, the competition, and what will set your brand above the rest.
2. Position Yourself for Success
Once you’ve chosen the most appropriate market for your international expansion, get to know something about your potential customer. That means researching not only their buying habits, but also their language, customs, routines, recreational activities, and topics of interest. Which influencers hold greatest sway over their choices? What media outlets are most used and trusted—and by which segments of the community? These are all questions to ask when formulating your brand’s position in the marketplace. You’ll also need to create an international voice for your brand. That voice will need to be identifiable with your brand yet adaptable enough to be adjusted to other markets as well.
3. Be Sensitive to Other Cultures
Every culture has its own particular customs, taboos, and hot button issues. The last thing you want to do is to offend your potential customer. So a little planning can go a long way here. You may want to begin with a global brand assessment study to see how your logo will be received in the new market. Are your logo’s colors, shapes, and symbols effective proponents for your brand, or do they have negative connotations? Remember that what is snarky and clever in the United States might be rude and offensive elsewhere.
4. Stay on Message
Since clarity and adaptability are essential to the success of your message, keep it simple. Avoid euphemisms, idioms, and catch phrases that might muddy your message or risk misinterpretation. Be sure that your content is grammatically correct, professional, and on message. If you can say something with visuals rather than words, do so. If you have international representatives, be sure they are well versed not only in your brand’s message but in the preferences of their potential customers. Creating a new brand manual for international operations can go a long way to preserving the integrity of your brand’s message in international markets.
5. Provide Exemplary Customer Service
How will you be interacting with customers in your new marketplace? Will you be answering queries through your website, through social media, or through company representatives? How and where will your brand appear in web searches? Will you customize your site for mobile users? All these considerations must be addressed if you want to ensure customer satisfaction and repeat business. Social media can keep you connected with consumers and can provide an important forum for dialogue. The more responsive your brand to consumer preferences and inquiries, the better the chance you will build positive associations and relationships in your expanding marketplace.
Hopefully with these tips in mind, your international launch will surpass all expectations!