5 Strategies to Build a Global Brand Online
Building a global brand isn’t as simple has just having an Internet presence. However you can take these marketing themes and apply them to your online presence. So much goes into successfully creating this status, and there are many mistakes you need to be aware of along the way. If you’re an entrepreneur with the goal of launching a global brand, consider some strategies that have proven successful in the past. Here are 5 strong strategies for global brand-building.
Differences in Customer Behavior
Simply put, buying preferences aren’t going to be the same across all cultures. Of course, some trends prove to be universal, but don’t take it for granted that your product is one of those trends. There’s no solid metric for predicting whether your concept will directly translate, so your best bet is to try anticipating what you can do to make it more relevant to a different culture.
An example of such poor strategic planning happened with Walmart, when they chose to build near industrial parks in China. The company completely failed to study Chinese buying habits; if they had, they would have discovered that they prefer shopping closer to home as opposed to nearer to work. Make sure your logistical set-up is reflected in your usability and design online space. Don’t create a site that falls short simply because you don’t understand how consumers shop.
Proper Brand Positioning
Designer: Caleb Royce Lummer
In order to position yourself correctly in the market, you have to truly understand your competition in relation to your competitive advantages. Who else provides similar products or services to you? They may not even be U.S. interests. Consider how and where athletic clothing sells, just as a prime example of this dynamic.
People may be buying them from online retailers or specialty stores. If your brand is high-end and you want to move into a market that buys from discount retailers you will have to adjust your strategy. You will have to rethink how your brand fits into a completely different mix; this could even involve designing a new highly recognizable logo that will have consistent meaning in many different places.
Does Your Brand Translate?
Remember the Chevy Nova? When it was marketed it South America no one was interested in a car that wouldn’t go — “No va” in Spanish translated into “no go.” Needless to say, this was not a good brand name for a car. And it isn’t just how the name translates.
Colors and numbers have different associations in different cultures. When designing and scheming for your online brand make sure to take things like color and number meanings into account. In the U.S., we like blues and greens, but in Latin America it’s reds and yellows. In Chinese, the number 4 sounds similar to the word for death. Just from these limited examples, you can probably see how a misstep here could “kill” your brand awareness. Or possibly just as bad, your brand could unintentionally become popular for the wrong reasons.
Broaden Your Horizons
Over time, your company may need to expand to meet market demands, which will result in your offering new or different products. Your brand name will need to be broad enough that it continues to apply as your company grows. When “Boston Chicken” expanded and began to offer different foods, for example, they had to change their name to “Boston Market” to accommodate the new products. Similarly, your online presence will surely alter as well. Updates on this front are crucial in order to stay relevant on a global scale.
When you expand overseas, you’ll need to protect your intellectual property and will need an attorney you can trust to file the right patent and trademark protections domestically and abroad. Look for recommendations from colleagues to find the best trade representatives. Or you could ask for help in federal or state offices since chances are greater their advice will be reputable.
There are many pitfalls to be careful of as you seek to make your brand a global interest. Sometimes experience will teach you, but that can be a harsh way to learn. Seek out the best ideas you can find, but think about how they could possibly be perceived if and when you decide to go global.
When establishing a global presence, your online presence is of course a top priority. All of these 5 strategies should coincide with your online game plan. These are important, fundamental lessons to grow your business so make sure to keep them in mind when developing your brand’s .com strategy.