A couple of decades ago exporting internationally was not in the radar of companies and only a few big corporations held a position in more than one market. Companies like Adidas, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, IBM, and Microsoft are well recognised international brands.
Today, with the help of the Internet, reduced travel costs and a globalizing economy, anyone can tap into a new foreign market. In fact, 6 out of 10 UK SMEs will be trading internationally in 2016. The projection is that more and more companies will look into building international relationships, research and building a sustainable international brand.
Building a global brand requires time and planning and is certainly not just about launching a website in a different language (even though that could be one of the first things to implement when going international).
1. Know your audience
First step, make sure you actually have a market and there’s a demand for your product or service. Buying preferences and culture play a big role here. Trading successfully in one country doesn’t necessarily mean your approach will work in the new targeted market.
For example when Tesco was at their peak the company decided to go the USA. What they overlooked was the customer profile and buying behaviour, needless to say they failed to achieve success losing over £186m in 2011.
2. Review your company and product names
Before you position your brand you need to research how it will fit into the mix and how people will perceive it. Translation blunders can damage your brand. It can even develop a long-lasting bad reputation. The most basic thing is know what your products or services' names translate into.
For example, when Mitsubishi decided to get into the Spanish market, their Pajero model was met with mockery. Only because the word “Pajero” in Spanish meant something completely different. We’ll leave that for you to find out.
3. Communicate in the right manner
Delivering your brand messages using appropriate channels is essential to reaching your audience. Effective marketing channels differ from country to country. For example, USA, Canada and the UK have the most e-commerce shoppers, whereas Portugal, Hungary and Greece are still falling behind.
Good brand positioning includes understanding your competition. When entering any market, especially when going global, your company needs to have a competitive advantage. Knowing who provides similar product or services and understanding their brand position is important.
4. Intellectual property considerations
Preserving trademarks and patents when entering a foreign market is something not to be overlooked. Find solicitors who can help you protect your intellectual property abroad. Finding someone local would be the best as they would already be familiar with the local law and regulations.
Building a brand is all about recognition, trust and reputation. Consistent brand experience would ensure that your audience understands your brand. Being able to practise consistent experience is essential and practising tight control over product lines is what will drive international success.
By knowing your audience and market and by ensuring positive experiences with your product or services, you can achieve very positive results. In branding “one bad customer experience resonates longer than one good experience”.
Developing brand guidelines and training staff adds up to one uniform brand which drives consistency. Make sure you maintain tight control over your brand even when you go global with it.
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