Brand Internationalization Strategy for Small and Mid-sized Companies

Taken from:
http://ezinearticles.com/?Brand-Internationalization-Strategy-for-Small-and-Mid-Sized-Companies&id=7269280

I know I shouldn’t, but I’m going to. After all, I’m a rebel. If you follow the literature on social media, you’ll see that most experts recommend starting online articles with a personal story. But I’m not going to. To be honest, I wracked my brain for a personal story on brand internationalization and finished the day with a blank page. Surprising, right? So, I thought to myself, “Why don’t you just fabricate a story?” And I did. Boy, did it sound disingenuous. Instead, I’m going to approach the subject of brand internationalization from the orientations that I feel most comfortable with, fairy tales and sociology.

A Long, Long Time Ago in a Kingdom, Far, Far Away…

There lived a sociologist, Emile Durkheim, who coined the term “collective consciousness”. Without bombarding you with technical mumbo-jumbo (mumbo-jumbo, being the technical term for boring filler), I’ll skip to the point.

Emile Durkheim suggested that societies are bound together by shared beliefs, values, and attitudes. This was characteristic of groups of people living within a limited proximity. When he coined the term at the end of the 19th century, Durkheim was mainly looking at the beginnings of industrial society, a far cry from the social arrangements that characterize the 2000s.

The Goose That Laid the Global Egg

The internet has blurred borders, both physical and cultural. We live in a global society but because of the spread of information, Durkheim’s perspective still rings true. There are some basic ideas and attitudes that are universal. These universals have become central in brand internationalization.

Enter, the Big Brand Wolf

big brand wolf
He’ll Huff and He’ll Puff and He’ll GROOOOOW Your Brand

Small and mid-sized organizations that haven’t taken steps to internationalize their brand are actually in a position to do so in a more effective way than organizations that have already built up a concrete brand image. You have the luxury of forethought.

Let me explain. There are two major schools of thought when it comes to internationalizing your brand. You can:

a) Re-brand in every market you enter

b) You can choose a universal appeal (remember the global collective conscious?) and make small tweaks in each locale.

Option (B) is cost-effective and efficient at creating a recognizable brand but it involves thinking ahead. You have to decide on a universal value or attitude on which to base your brand before you make your debut on the international stage.

The Seven Dwarves of International Branding

After reviewing your marketing demographics and finding your target market, you’ve got to think a little bit about what makes them tick on a personal level but think big picture. Do they value family? Friendship? Saving money? These are your universals. Your long-term branding strategy should be based on this. The seven dwarves will help you make the brand locally appealing.

Meet the seven dwarves of brand internationalization:

Disney got here first
…Disney got here before you did

Language – this is a given, all marketing material must be distributed in the language of the target market. ’nuff said.

Culture – Get a consultant! Some cultures consider some topics taboo, favor a particular selling environment, or aren’t buying what you’re selling (think winter hats in Morocco)

Graphics – feature local talent, use colors that represent your message (these change by region), and ensure translated text will fit in your logo.

Idioms – For an international message, stay away from English idioms. They don’t translate well.

Content flow – The often forgotten Dwarf. Your text layout should follow local customs.

Software/website – You need to localize your software and website. This means changing the date/time/currency formats/measurements, text field lengths for phone numbers and addresses, as well as everything else that has been mentioned.

Regulations – consult an expert on local regulations. Do they require a specific format on your product labels? Do they have different language and accessibility laws in place? All your work will be for not if you don’t meet local laws.

These points are critical in reaching your target market. You can use a generic marketing message but then you won’t be leveraging your communications.

Live Happily Ever After

Here are the takeaway points:

• Think globally and pick a universally appealing brand value or attitude

• Tweak your message according to cultural nuances and standards

• Avoid generic marketing messages when going international

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7269280

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