Going Global: International Branding Strategies

June 7, 2018 Raul Harman

A lot of people make a mistake of misinterpreting what the term going global actually means. For instance, they assume that all you’re actually doing is opening an identical store or expanding your service to a new region in hopes of reaching greater numbers, which is definitely not the case. What you’re doing is diversifying your company, adding more variables to the otherwise already complex calculation.

Sure, the prospects of profit are great, however, proportionally to how much effort you have to invest in order to make it happen, this is not so much of a win-win scenario as some would like to believe. With this in mind, here are several branding strategies you’ll have to consider when going global.

Understand the major cultural differences

Some people believe that in order to explore a target culture, you have to start learning bottom up, but this isn’t necessarily the case. International organizations, the internet and similar trends and phenomena are more than a clear indicator that our cultures aren’t nearly as different as some people may assume. After all, interests, motivation and financial responsibility are commercial factors that are true all over the world, regardless of the language one uses, or the circumstances they live in. In other words, you aren’t supposed to start learning about marketing from square one when all you have to do is explore a few major cultural differences in order to ensure you don’t offend anyone.

Look for local partners

Most Australian entrepreneurs have a similar problem. They aren’t really familiar with foreign markets, and all the knowledge that they do possess about them is strictly theoretical. With online payment gateways, platforms, and communication channels you can easily negotiate with people halfway across the globe, still, this is all but reliable. In order to truly make an impact, you need to look for local partners at your target destination, which is an idea that brings numerous benefits to the table.

By joining your forces with a local brand you first get the benefit of using their network of contacts to your advantage. Second, you get a unique opportunity to market yourself as a local brand, which is bound to make your job a lot easier. Most importantly, you get someone you can rely on to do all the heavy lifting for you, which means that you get an incredible ROI out of this partnership. This is not due to the fact that they are more capable of running a business than you are, but due to the fact that you get to invest a lot less effort.

Hiring professional marketers

The next thing you need to understand is that, as a business owner, you might have grown a tad too accustomed to the local culture. As such, you might need an outsider’s perspective, especially if we’re talking about the outsider with a lot of previous experience on the topic. You see, marketing is the most widely spoken international language in 2018, which means that your local branding agency from Melbourne may be perfectly capable of kick-starting an international marketing campaign.

Of course, we already stated that getting a local partner might help, but if you’re starting an office in China, and another one in South Africa, where do you look for digital marketers? The most obvious solution is probably the best one – back home.

Check for the brand name availability

Another story that comes to mind when it comes to planning a grand entry in a different market is to check whether your company’s name is already used at your target destination. For instance, American fast food conglomerate Wendy’s was prohibited from working in Europe under that same name due to the fact that there’s already a snack bar named this way in the Netherlands.

A similar thing happened to Burger King in Australia, which, for that very reason goes under the name of Hungry Jack’s in this continent-country. Overall, this isn’t just a minor issue, seeing as how a change in the name might mandate you to reinvent your entire marketing strategy. It affects all your business cards, product packages and requires you to make a local website (even if you haven’t intended to do so initially).

Conclusion

As the end of the day, going global with your brand may pose a bit greater difficulty than you’ve initially expected. Still, if your brand keeps growing, it’s an inevitability. After all, no matter how lucrative a certain market is, there’s only so much that one can expand in it. Eventually, you’ll tap out the market, or at least reach your maximum potential within its borders. When that time comes, the above-listed five tips will become very useful.

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Raul Harman

Raul Harman

Raul is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he's not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com