No man is an island, and the same can be said of businesses too. Those that seek success will surely recognize what they need to do to get ahead of the competition. It isn’t enough to corner a local market. You need to stand out in the global market too. International marketing strategies need to be developed and deployed.
While businesses can certainly find success within a single region or even a single nation, it’s only when companies expand internationally that they truly find their wings. And, thanks to that they can transition from a successful company into a thriving company.
But doing so is not a particularly easy task. So, here are some strategies that will help you to really stand out in the global market.
Find Your Universal Brand Values
Just like people, brands also have their own personalities. At the beginning of your brand identity journey, ask yourself: What does your brand stand for? Why does it exist, and who does it aim to help? What problems does it solve, and ultimately, which emotions would you like associated with your brand?
The most powerful brands are the ones that inspire with a message that people can get behind. Something that aligns with consumers’ own values.
Let’s look at two examples:
- A veteran in global branding, Coca-Cola has introduced a “think local, act local” marketing approach at the beginning of the millennium. However, their universal values such as sharing, happiness, and active lifestyles have been key to strengthening the expansion of the brand.
- The same goes for brands such as Zara or Ikea, committed to adjusting to a broad spectrum of consumers, making fashion and interior design affordable all under the values of functionality, sustainability, and beauty.
What you need to do is to imagine a brand values pyramid. The brand’s baseline requirements or the functional benefits delivered are the foundation. Then, the emotional benefits, meaning how your product/services make the consumer feel. At the top, the self-expressive benefits – where a brand is able to reflect its customer’s self-concept.
A key to successful branding is to make self-expressive benefits part of the brand value proposition. It adds richness and depth to the brand and the experience while using it. That can be crucial in helping you stand out in the global market.
Focus On The Uniqueness Of Your Products And Services
It’s likely that many of your prospective customers have difficulty deciding. Deciding which option in your industry is the one that deserves their time, money, and trust. That’s why it is your job to assist them by making your unique selling proposition. It needs to be obvious, different, and memorable enough. They have to be able to see exactly what your business has to offer that the other guys do not.
All strong global brands have a degree of differentiation. To be noticed, you need to be unique.
- Adobe is the perfect example of product-led brand growth. Throughout the years, Adobe has reinvented itself over and over . And it is continuing to innovate, keeping creativity as the core and stable value of their solutions. From their transition to a SaaS model in 2013 through a recent rebranding, Adobe’s journey is unique.
Having a unique selling point is a competitive advantage that allows you to avoid the trap of trying to please everyone. Even if it ostracizes some prospective customers (and that is bound to happen).
What you need to do is develop a unique facet of your business. Then, leverage it in your favor, be it with stellar customer service or a higher-quality product. And make sure consumers are well aware of this.
Do Your Research About Global Market
As soon as your company decides to extend your marketing worldwide, you have to understand the context of where you will be working. Every region has various behaviors and norms as it deals with marketing messages; how people would like to be contacted; and what is appropriate for that place, and the like. You have to make sure that you research how the market will respond to the marketing strategy you have.
Make sure you investigate the markets you’ll be expanding into, and get an understanding of how your products will fit in.
You must also pay attention to the recruitment laws, tax regulations, or HR practices. As you enter new countries, you need to fully understand all the subtle intricacies each one brings.
Failing to know the specific tax, currency, and employment laws of the country you’re operating in can lead to serious compliance issues. Before entering a new market, make sure you’ve carried out extensive research so you can work effectively and compliantly.
Bonus tip: Get a good idea of how your nation is perceived abroad and work out how this may impact any strategy you develop.
Tailor Fit Your Approach To Stand Out in Global Market
You may have a product that can easily cross borders but your marketing strategy will have to be adapted. Local values, customs, language, and currencies will all impact your marketing plan. Look at your unique selling points and your branding. Are they right for the new markets you are targeting?
Keep in mind that what may have worked for your local audience may not translate as well to your foreign audience. Try to adapt your initiatives to your audience, giving them a tailor-fit experience. Definitely, what works for one country may not work for another.
To ensure your brand is associated with a positive experience in any part of the world, you need to take into account the culture and characteristics of each of your local audiences. For global companies competing amidst different cultures, the challenge here is to make their brands culturally relevant while also delivering economies of scale, efficiency, and shareholder returns.
- Microsoft is an excellent example of a brand that travels across borders and cultures. Targeting over 86 countries and 22 languages, they intuitively adapt their marketing strategies and processes to accelerate time to market for global campaigns and localized content.
- In a completely different segment, Red Bull also stands out with global and local marketing strategies, perfectly aligned with their target customers around the world. They often reach out to their audience with extreme sporting events and focus on digital marketing such as blogs, viral advertisements, and social media.
Knowing how to adapt your approach is key. Different cultures, countries, infrastructures, and languages require thoughtfulness and research (and a team of experts). While your values and overall message should remain consistent, the language and visuals should be adapted for each individual market in which you do business. Localizing your message is vital.
Develop Global And Local Partnerships
When Studio Ghibli first tried to gain access to American markets they did so through American production companies. Most notably the Disney Company. They would handle translation, localization, and distribution, usually under strict agreements with Studio Ghibli in order to preserve the creative integrity of the product. This exposed American audiences to high-quality Japanese animation and provided Studio Ghibli access to a very rich and valuable market.
So what have we learned from an anime studio that is now famous among Western audiences?
Finding the right partners who embrace the essence of your brand is key for international growth. With local partners who know the market, you can adapt your offerings to the respective cultures and requirements, without becoming detached from your global business strategy and quality standards.
Seek out and partner with organizations who share your values or who can augment your business to better serve your customers, globally or locally. Oftentimes partners can open doors more quickly and credibly, helping you accelerate growth in key markets. This is an important step if you want to stand out in the global market.
If you want to stand out in the global market you need to find out what customers in different communities have in common. And, how to localize your product for these different markets. Do your research. Focus on your brand. Make it strong, make it consistent.
Start small, then work your way up as your business grows. Study the strategies of the ones who already made it. But keep in mind, these things don’t happen overnight. Being patient is crucial.