This article was contributed by Richard Barker.
Every business owner would be lying if they said their brand ambitions go no further than a local or regional reach.
Most in fact have grander plans in mind and with the internet making the world a much smaller place, accessing new markets a little further afield is now possible. Whilst the biggest brands make translating products or services globally look easy, bridging the gap in regards to culture and language is difficult.
It’s no secret that a well-defined and regularly reviewed marketing strategy is the key to developing lasting brand power and the same theory applies when aiming to reach out to audiences in Europe and internationally.
Here we explore how small business brands can make it big and take their company to new heights by adapting their brand identity and associated strategy.
1. Living, not just delivering, your promise
The value of a brand promise is particularly high when launching your products or services locally or on the global stage. The brand promise sees the vital factors of brand development and customer service come together to ensure consumers that are new to your company and those that have used your business before are drawn in and, more importantly, keep coming back.
Using social media to expand cross-market reach
Thanks to the growth of social media, it is now possible to deliver and live by a simplified brand promise, which is an excellent way to attract attention from consumers from different countries and even those who speak entirely different languages.
But how can you simplify for your local and global audience? And how can you actually make customers aware of this poignant message?
The big brand examples that help
Looking at bigger brands as inspiration, the simplest brand promises are instantly recognisable, for instance, Coors Light’s “The World’s Most Refreshing Beer”, Coca-Cola’s “To inspire moments of optimism and uplift”, BMW’s “The Ultimate Driving Machine” and Nike’s “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” all tend to stick in the mind of the average consumer, and state a simplified yet strong message with confidence and clarity.
For the brave, you can even go as back to basics as Harley Davidson, who after numerous evolutions has now opted for the promise “We are Harley Davidson”, after all, whichever part of the world you are in, their brand requires little explanation.
Writing a killer promise for your target audiences is all about articulating with emotion and building a relationship with those who matter the most to your business, and the simpler it is, the easier it will be to represent your brand consistently and translate it globally.
2. Going local, globally
Despite opting for an easy to translate promise, it is important not to go for a ‘one size fits all’ approach with your strategy. Local management is vital for ensuring success across multiple markets, and local, consumer focused and brand specific plans must be executed to market your business correctly.
Utilising market division to connect with audiences
Dividing your market into different tiers is a great place to begin for any business and can help identify the territories you are looking to connect with as well as determine which may garner the highest return on investment so you can divide resources more effectively.
Markets in your top tier should be able to access larger budgets and may benefit from a locally managed strategy as part of your globally driven campaign.
Strategies for businesses new to the global market
Whilst larger corporations make global brand management look so simple, many businesses new to the global marketplace often confuse their success with having one all-encompassing strategy that is used across multiple countries, but instead time has been spent understanding local needs, from getting to grips with a country’s culture to defining the strategies that satisfy customer requirements and complement their unique behaviours.
3. Socialise your strategy early
In addition to researching your chosen markets and building relationships with the international teams that have first-hand experience of working with local users and abiding by local customs to develop an initial marketing strategy, socialising this plan as early as possible is vital to breaking into markets successfully and within budget.
Seeking feedback for your marketing campaign
Socialising essentially means seeking feedback regarding your marketing campaign, and to do this early could save you time and money as well as identify opportunities that may not have been apparent before.
As well as seeking feedback from international teams that you can trust, particularly when considering the legalities that may stop even the greatest marketing plan in its tracks, the same proactive approach can give you the information you need to revise plans for better effectiveness, improved efficiency and bigger brand power.
Managing your brand internationally
The management of international teams is notoriously difficult, after all you may not be able to develop the same rapport that you have with employees that work geographically closer, however seeking feedback is an ideal way to encourage buy-in, which is integral to success as your global marketing plans will rest on their shoulders.
4. Fine tune your campaign operationally
There are numerous factors that every business looking to launch their brand in markets outside their country of origin must consider during the project planning process.
The advantages of employing a global brand manager
Understanding the benefits of appointing a global brand manager is vital, with failure to do so resulting in the savviest of organisations missing out on prime opportunities.
Creating that lasting impression in the most competitive marketplaces is possible with the employment of an experienced brand manager and whilst it is far from a ‘cheap’ option, their presence can be invaluable when launching your products or services globally, and attract the consumer attention you need to improve sales from the off and slice out an enviable market share.
Overcoming international challenges during the brand development process
Due to the constraints of operating in a marketplace and communicating with an audience that you may not have been familiar with, ruthless planning is a necessity, and is the way to keep the international teams you are working with on track and take an active role in the development of your brand overseas.
In addition to defining the responsibilities and deliverables that will make your campaign happen, deadlines must be set and stuck to by all parties. Time zones must also be taken into account and regular communication upheld to ensure your global campaign unfolds as it should do.
Richard Barker is the Founder of Leeds Web Design Company, Harrison Mann. He delivers a range of services to a multitude of organizations. Richard is a specialist in content marketing, pay-per-click, WordPress and Shopify web design, social media marketing and digital support. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.