6 Tips For Taking Your Brand Global (Part 1of 2)

Image courtesy of sophiesjapanblog.com
Image courtesy of sophiesjapanblog.com

The international market is very appealing to many brands who are seeing success domestically. International expansion seems like a viable goal for many companies with the assistance of the Internet creating a globalized marketplace. But, before anyone dives head first into International waters, there are certain aspects of international branding that need to be considered.

When venturing into the unknown, it is best to learn from other’s mistakes, rather than making them yourself. Outlined below are the first three of six total tips for successfully taking your brand international. In tomorrow’s blog, we will discuss the next three tips.

1. Adapt to the local markets.
It may seem obvious, but many companies do not do their research before branching into new international markets. It is important to be relevant to the market that you are entering into. For example, KFC offers rice buckets in Singapore and McDonald’s offers pasta dishes in Italy. McDonald’s also plans to open approximately 500 meat-free restaurants in India, complete with McVeggie sandwiches and BigSpicy Paneer wraps. To ensure international success, your brand needs to take inter consideration the local cultures, values, and religious beliefs.

2. Avoid being lost in translation.
Brand names are constantly being scrutinized for meaning and context by the public. Avoid being the butt of the joke, and do your due diligence when translating your brand name for other markets. A Japanese sports drink called Pocari Sweat fell victim to the scrutiny of western markets, for obvious reasons (care for a can of sweat?). But it’s not just small brands that are making this mistake; large brands have learned the same lesson. Microsoft’s Vista operating system failed to translate in Latvia where vista means “hen” or, even better, a “dowdy woman.” By consulting with native-speaking locals of the potential new market, you can avoid these embarrassing brand name snafus.

3. Research your keywords.
Everyone knows that appropriate keyword usage on your website will increase your SEO benefits. But, when entering into markets where the language is different than your brand’s native language, keyword meaning will vary dramatically. Online digital translators (i.e. Google Translate) won’t not work when translating your keywords, you need to know the context of the keywords. The meanings of words vary dramatically from region to region. For example, Tropicana marketed their “jugo de china” orange juice in Puerto Rico and to Cubans in Florida, with dramatically differing success. While “jugo de china” did not work for Cubans in Florida, where it translated to juice from china, the campaign did translate for the Puerto Rican market, where china is translated to orange. Again, consulting with local native-speakers will help you to avoid these translation issues.

It may seem like common sense to familiarize yourself with an unknown market before venturing into a costly marketing campaign; but companies, time and time again, have made the same mistake of not doing enough research. It is important to do your homework and actively communicate with people from the market you will be entering.

In our next blog on May 22, we will dive deeper into mistakes to avoid when taking your brand international.

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