Many businesses fail to do enough planning before launching their brand outside of their home base. The reach of the internet is so pervasive these days that a false sense of confidence can be engendered when queries or even orders for international customers trickle in before a decision to market a product overseas has actually been made. Some of the ways you could improve your chances of boosting your brand overseas are described below.

International brand

Where would your product sell?

Just because you have built up a reasonable market at home doesn’t necessarily mean you can repeat the same exercise everywhere else in the world. You need to do some initial research to narrow down the list of countries where your product has the best chance of being sold. Once you have a list of say ten countries, narrow it down further by taking into account what you would need to do to build your brand in each country. How far away is the country? What are the likely freight costs and potential import taxes? What language barriers are there? What is the potential maximum size of the available market? What about locally base or international competitors? Once you have gone through these points you may be able to use the best combination to select one pilot market.

How can you communicate your brand to this potential market?

Once you have chosen a potential new international market you will need to work out how best to market your product and brand to potential customers. It might not be identical to the way you do it in your home market. The first item on the agenda will be a potential language barrier. This is not such a barrier if you intend only to market your product in a country where everyone speaks the same language as you do in your home base. Even with this seemingly simple hurdle, note that there may still be linguistic and cultural differences between your home market and the new market. Spelling may be different, idioms, colloquialisms, and sayings are often different enough to turn off potential customers who sense that your unedited marketing messages are not in tune with their own way of life. This is when you need to use professional localization services to help you rebrand your product to suit the target market you have identified. Localization is the method used to adapt language so that it resonates better with those who read it.

Localization and translation services often go together

Localization is not just confined to situations in which a product is destined for a country where everyone speaks the same language. It is even more important when people speak a different language in the new market. You will no doubt be factoring in the need for translators. Localization services are often combined with professional translation services so that marketing messages are not just translated into the local language of the target market, but also adapted so that they take into account cultural norms and sensitivities, local variations in dialect, or idiomatic use. Localization is in fact particularly important in brand marketing as it is often very idiomatic anyway. Slogans, catchy tunes, and songs, even the brand name itself are often unconsciously culture-specific. Even major brands have come unstuck by failing to take into account effective localization before launching their brands and familiar messaging into new markets.

Use trade shows where possible

Too much reliance on internet marketing may not give you the visibility you need for your sales to take off. If you can get your product displayed locally in the new market, then this will help. There are a variety of different ways to do this, e.g. using trade shows. The pandemic has made this sort of on-the-spot marketing more difficult as international travel has been curtailed, but you may be able to use local marketing companies to help boost your product without having to physically send salespeople there.