Brand internationalization strategy for small and medium-sized companies
I know I shouldn't, but I'm going to. Because I'm a rebel. If you follow the literature on social media, you will see that most experts recommend starting online articles with a personal story. But I'm not going to.
To be honest, I racked my brains over a personal story about brand internationalization and ended the day with a blank page. Amazing, right? So, I thought to myself, "Why don't you just fabricate a story?" And I did. Boy, that sounded insincere. Instead, I'm going to approach the topic of brand internationalization from the perspectives that I'm most comfortable with: fairy tales and sociology.
Long ago in a kingdom far, far away...
Once upon a time there was a sociologist Emile Durkheim, who coined the term "collective consciousness". Without bombarding you with technical nonsense (mumbo jumbo, the technical term for boring filler), I'll get down to business.
Emile Durkheim suggested that societies are bound by shared beliefs, values, and attitudes. This was typical for groups of people living within limited proximity. When he coined the term at the end of the 19th century, Durkheim was mainly looking at the beginnings of an industrial society, far removed from the social arrangements of the 2000s.
The Hen That Laid the Global Egg
The Internet has blurred boundaries, both physical and cultural. We live in a global society, but because of the spread of information, Durkheim's point of view still rings true. There are some basic ideas and settings that are universal. These universals have become central to the internationalization of the brand.
Come in, Big Brand Wolf
Small and medium-sized organizations that have not taken steps to internationalize their brand are actually able to do so more effectively than organizations that have already built a specific brand image. You have the luxury of foresight.
Let me explain. When it comes to internationalizing your brand, there are two main points of view. You can:
a) Rebranding in every market you enter
b) You can choose a universal appeal (remember the global collective consciousness?) and make small changes to each locale.
Option (B) is cost-effective and effective for creating a recognizable brand, but it requires thinking ahead. Before you debut on the international stage, you must decide on the universal value or attitude that your brand will be based on.
Seven Dwarfs of International Branding
After researching your marketing demographics and finding your target market, you should think a little about what makes them tick on a personal level, but think in general. Do they value family? Friendship? To save money? These are your universals. Your long-term branding strategy should be based on this. The Seven Dwarfs will help you make your brand attractive to the local population.
Meet the seven gnomes of brand internationalization:
Language is a given, all marketing materials must be distributed in the language of the target market. 'enough.
Culture - Get a consultant! Some cultures consider certain topics taboo, prefer a certain sales medium, or don't buy what you sell (think winter hats in Morocco).
Graphics - Use local flair, use colors that represent your message (they change by region), and make sure the translated text matches your logo.
Idioms. For international communication, stay away from English idioms. They don't translate well.
The content flow is an often forgotten gnome. The layout of your text should conform to local customs.
Software/website. You need to localize the software and website. This means changing date/time/currency formats/measurements, lengths of text fields for phone numbers and addresses, and everything else that has been mentioned.
Regulations - Please consult with a specialist for local regulations. Do they require a specific format on your product labels? Do they have different language and accessibility laws? All your work will be in vain if you do not comply with local laws.
These points are critical to reaching your target market. You can use a generic marketing message, but then you won't be using your communications.
Live long and happy
Here are the highlights:
• Think globally and choose a universally appealing brand value or attitude.
• Customize your message according to cultural nuances and standards.
• Avoid generic marketing messages when going international.
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