Brands Going Global: Top 5 Considerations
Taking your brand global is one of the best ways to expand your market presence and bolster your revenue. However, forging blindly ahead without a plan is a recipe for failure. By researching emerging markets, identifying barriers to entry, and practicing cultural sensitivity, you will establish a solid foundation for success as you introduce your brand overseas. Below are five key considerations that can help you succeed as you take your brand global.
1) Research Market Trends in Your Industry
The path to a successful global transition begins with research. Carving out time to analyze the demand for your product or service is vital to your success. Additionally, you should assess the current level of saturation within a market to determine whether your potential for success is strong. Here are three questions you should consider as you conduct your research:
- Is there a strong need for your product within a particular market?
- Is the market already saturated with competing products?
- Is the market expanding or declining in terms of buying power?
2) Identify Barriers to Entry
Identifying barriers to entry can help you narrow your focus and concentrate your efforts on countries and regions that make it easy for you to import your products or launch your services. For example, if you sell used or refurbished laptops, you would want to eliminate countries such as Brazil, China, and South Africa that have restrictions on the importation of used goods. You would be better off focusing your efforts on countries that have no restrictions on the importation of used products.
3) Establish Distribution Networks
Setting up local distributors can be a difference-maker for business owners seeking to expand globally. Savvy international customers will want to know how you will support your products from an overseas location. The presence of a local distributor can help alleviate any concerns that buyers will be left in a bind if a product fails.
As you consider setting up distribution networks overseas, remember to select distributors whose goals and business practices are a good fit with yours. After all, your distributors will be representing your brand in their local markets and maintaining brand consistency is important for sustained growth. You should also plan to have regular meetings to assess progress toward shared goals.
4) Practice Cultural Sensitivity
Using a cookie-cutter approach with employees and consumers from other cultures will hinder your ability to thrive in emerging markets. Make sure you take the time to research the cultural norms and practices of your overseas target markets. Peter Gasca, Lecturer at Coastal Carolina University, outlines a few ways that business owners can become more culturally sensitive:
- Learn a new language
- Be respectful of the cultural traditions practiced by people from other countries and backgrounds
- Learn how people in other countries perceive time and respond to deadlines
5) Translate Your Website and Marketing Content
Findings obtained by “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: 2014” indicate that consumers will increase their purchases by 56% if they are able to review product details in their native language. By translating your website and marketing materials to the primary language in your target market, you will help your company appear in online searches and earn the attention of more buyers within that market. Before you forge ahead with translations, take a few minutes to research the primary language in the market you are targeting.
The Bottom Line
Global expansion can prove to be exciting and fruitful for your business. However, taking your brand global requires careful planning and a methodical approach on your part. By following the five steps above, you can help ensure that your efforts to expand internationally are successful.