Expanding your business abroad is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding efforts a business owner may ever do. It takes a lot of time, money and planning to fit into different markets and become a global success. A company looking to expand across different countries must learn to adapt to different marketplaces, cultures and rules to efficiently present their brand message abroad.

In this article, I’ll discuss five points to consider to effectively communicate your brand to overseas markets.

1. A Strong Team

Before expanding to new places, people and markets, start at home. By this I mean review your company’s foundations of your existing structure and more importantly team. Ensure your workforce are a solid unity, understanding and sharing your vision. A strong team will work together to secure the company structural formation as well as aim to accomplish your business goal for expansion, sharing the same aspirational entrepreneurial perspective as you, the business-owner. As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work.

2. Build a Local Network

A great way to build a reputation, gain insight and expert knowledge in a new location is by building a local network. Now has never been easier to gain new connections with the likes of social media channels such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Reach out to your existing connections as well as research into businesses in your chosen location to start placing your brand out there, get people talking about you and introduce yourself to experts in the marketplace. This will hugely aid you in preparation and the strategy of your expansion as well as easily and effectively communicating and sharing information about your company.

3. Local Laws

When communicating your brand, this needs to be a positive portrayal, therefore it’s important to review the different laws and regulations of your overseas countries. From different taxes to trading laws, make sure you build your new business structure to pass these. Not only will it become a challenge and a legal battle for you if your company doesn’t abide, but it can severely harm your brand reputation not only abroad, but in your home country too. This is something that is easily avoided by research and planning your brand expansion.

4. Localisation

Although the idea may be to go global, overseas success often stems from localising your business message. It is vital that you go back to basics by clearly defining a new customer profile and what impact your product or service will have in their market. This is also known as ‘brand localisation’ and helps to reshape your company to excel when entering new markets.

Adapting your key messages and visions and aesthetic is necessary to tackle any language and cultural barriers. Of course, it’s important for a company to have one goal, one message and one aesthetic – for example big brands such as Nike or Apple portray one set of core values worldwide, but they do adopt a ‘localisation strategy’. This is so that when they break into new markets they understand what their brand will bring distinctively to that chosen location and in turn what effect that culture can bring to them, to make messaging clear and effective.

5. Cultural Differences

To follow on from the previous point, it is essential to understand cultural differences when it comes to your products or services. Often brands believe that their products are used in the same manner or seen in the same perspective all over the world, but this is rarely the case.

For example, the University of Gothenburg completed a study suggesting that there were very different perspectives of the brand Volvo between US customers and Chinese customers. In America, Volvo’s were deemed as a family car but in China they were viewed as an expensive and attractive brand.

This is extremely important to take into consideration when communicating your services overseas. Research beforehand on your industry in other locations and understand their target consumers and brand perspectives. Adapt how you advertise your brand and what messaging you place in front of your new audience.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that expanding your brand overseas is no easy task. Starting from the very beginning your work team must be strong and share your vision to support you as a business-owner as well as the structure of the company itself. Researching is essential for following local laws, building new audience profiles and targeting your adverts and brand messages effectively, leading to success in your breakthrough to new markets abroad.

For more information with branding overseas, contact Identity today on 01323 469111 or email at letstalk@identitygroup.co.uk

Michael Gietzen
Michael is Identity’s Managing Director, a role he earned due to his exceptional leadership skills and keen attention to detail.