It takes much more than a well-designed, accessible website to develop a global brand. Since it can be easy to make a mistake, many entrepreneurs retain the services of an international business consultant before they take their companies global. The international experts at Illumination Consulting suggest several strategies for avoiding common errors when building a global brand.
Entrepreneurs should take time to learn and understand the behavior of customers in different cultures. Something as simple as store locations can present an issue in certain cultures. Walmart learned this when it constructed its Chinese stores near industrial parks. Chinese customers prefer to shop close to home rather than near their places of employment. Where a company expands may also determine the products that it should offer. Regional market demands may dictate new offerings or even a change in company name such as that undertaken by Boston Chicken when it became Boston Market.
Positioning a brand correctly requires an understanding of the competition and the competitive advantage that the business holds. The companies providing similar products or services in one country may not be the same as the competition in another country. By properly positioning itself, a company increases brand exposure with the correct target audience.
In addition to understanding how consumers shop and how the brand fits into their habits, business leaders should understand how the brand translates into another language. What may be a clever name in the native language may translate into something undesirable in the targeted country. Marketers should also identify color preferences of different countries and use these in packaging and marketing. For example, yellow and red hues are popular in some countries in Latin America so they may be familiar and attractive to consumers within those regions.
There are no second chances when expanding on a global scale so the process should be slow and deliberate. Taking time to conduct research before entering a market prevents many mistakes. Making a good first impression opens the door to additional opportunities within the country and may develop connections with countries that are considered allies.
Global expansion requires excellent partnerships including an attorney, trade representative, and international business consultant. If the name of the product or service will be licensed to an overseas manufacturer or provider, the business owner must exert tight control over its use. A brand name must feature a consistent experience so consumers associate the name with the values of the brand.