3 Crucial Strategies to Build A Successful Global Brand

Globalization allows the Amazons and Apples of the world to reach a large customer base, achieve a competitive edge in multiple markets, and increase their sales footprint. As your organization grows and evolves, you may plan to take your brand global. The good news is that you can build an international brand by leveraging the power of increasing digitization, expanding supply chains, and lowering barriers to international trade. That said, you still need to be mindful of some crucial strategies as you embark on your globalization journey. Such mindfulness will enable your brand to successfully transition from local to global.

Start with a Goal

Your company name, website, logo, and marketing collateral are all part of your brand. However, these elements alone do not constitute your brand. If anything, your brand is how your customers perceive your company, how these elements make them feel, and what value they believe you can bring to their lives. That’s why they say that a brand lives in the “minds” of everyone who experiences it – whether it’s your customers, investors, employees, and even competitors. To build a global brand, you need to create space in the minds of all these stakeholders. And this takes time, effort, and recognition of your own goals.
So, what is your goal for going global? What exactly are you hoping to achieve with globalization?

  • Gain a first-mover advantage in a new market?
  • Diversify your brand’s presence to mitigate demand or sales fluctuations in your local market?
  • Get access to new talent pools and technology?
  • Lower production costs while enhancing business performance?
  • Capitalize on new opportunities for mergers, acquisitions, or joint ventures?
  • Respond to demand and eventually scale up if the response is favorable?

Understanding your goals will help you build a strong foundation to expand your brand globally. It will provide a starting point to understand consumer behaviors in new markets, analyze the competition, and finalize your globalization strategy. Finally, articulating your goals will enable you to create a workable action plan that incorporates localization and cultural requirements, and effectively addresses demand in new markets.

Research the Market and Customers

Once you know your globalization goals, research your target market, customers, demand forecasts, and competitors. This information will help you project the profitability of globalizing and entering a new market. Ask yourself:

  • Does a market exist for your product?
  • If it doesn’t, can you create one by creating demand?
  • And if it does, is another brand already fulfilling the needs of customers? How will you create a niche for your brand and position it as “different” from the rest?
  • What are the buying preferences or habits of the customers in this new market?
  • How do they shop? Where? How frequently?
  • Does demand fluctuate at certain periods? Why?

It’s vital to understand all these facts because success in your current market doesn’t automatically mean success in a new market. Assuming otherwise can be very costly for your organization – as Walmart discovered in Japan.

Walmart’s “Everyday Low Prices” mantra has succeeded in many countries, including its home country of the United States. However, this same mantra has failed in Japan, where consumers often associate low prices with cheap quality. Moreover, Japan’s retail market was already saturated when Walmart entered it more than a decade ago. If Walmart had researched the Japanese market and consumers, it might have discovered these facts early, and achieved greater success in Japan. 

Don’t Get Lost in Translation

A number of brands have failed in their attempts to go global because they didn’t make an effort to first go local. Language, cultural norms, religious beliefs – all of these can be critical drivers of a brand’s success (or failure) in a new market. For example, Mercedes Benz entered the Chinese market with the brand name “Bensi.”
The problem?
If translated in Chinese, “Bensi” means “rush to die.” Similarly, Coors Beer translated its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, where the term means diarrhea. Even a huge company like Ford blundered when marketing its Pinto car in Brazil – a country where Pinto means tiny male genitals.
On the other hand, some companies have successfully transitioned to new countries by understanding and adapting to local cultural norms and beliefs. For example, McDonald’s. The fast-food chain’s signature item, the Big Mac, is available in almost every country around the world except India. The reason? The Big Mac consists of patties made from beef, which most Hindus – who are the largest population group in India – don’t eat for religious reasons. So, instead of the Big Mac, McDonald’s sells the Maharaja Mac in India, which is made from chicken instead of beef. McDonald’s also sells vegetarian burgers to serve India’s vegetarian population, which happens to be the world’s largest

To avoid failures like Mercedes, Coors or Ford, take a leaf out of McDonald’s book. Be aware of linguistic or religious differences in different countries. Accordingly, choose a culturally-sensitive name for your offerings, as well as culturally-sensitive brand elements like colors, music, taglines, symbols, logos, marketing messages, etc.

Conclusion

By getting the above three strategies right, you will be well-placed to build a successful global brand. In addition, make sure to set up a reliable supply chain, understand packaging requirements, protect your intellectual property, and register all trademarks, and domain names in these new markets.

It can also be useful to work with a reliable local partner. A local e-tailer partner like us, Ergode, can help you better understand a foreign market before you invest resources and funds into your brand’s entrance. With a global footprint and understanding of many local markets, we can help your brand build a presence in 41 unique marketplaces. With our eCommerce stack solution, cutting-edge technology, and automation platforms, we can help you achieve your globalization goals cost-effectively and seamlessly. To know more about our offerings, contact us.

 

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