Top 5 International Branding Strategies to Find New Customers in Emerging Markets
A few decades ago, only a handful of brands were recognized internationally — think Coca-Cola, Nike, and IBM. But for today’s brands, reaching emerging overseas markets has never been easier, thanks to the internet and online marketing.
Building a global brand is now affordable and attainable for businesses of all sizes and industries. With the right suite of digital marketing strategies and tools, you too can build a global brand.
Global branding: A benchmark for modern businesses
In the last ten years, having a global brand has become a benchmark for how you do business in the digital era. With increasing internet and smartphone use, nowadays, once your brand is online, it’s accessible anywhere in the world.
So in a sense, having a global brand is a happy accident for many business owners. Where people get tripped up is that they aren’t strategic about building a global brand with staying power.
To take full advantage of the reach the internet has to offer, and its ability to attract global customers, takes strategic thinking and effort. But without a strategy, many things can go wrong for your brand and its image and reputation with customers overseas.
To take full advantage of the reach the internet has to offer, and its ability to attract global customers, takes strategic thinking and effort.
Why you should build a global brand strategically.
There are many reasons to build an international brand. For one thing, breaking out into new and emerging markets will increase your bottom line.
Secondly, having an international brand will also help you improve your standing in current customers' eyes and overseas markets.
- Customers will more easily recognize your brand
- People typically associate global brands with higher quality
- You may be able to command a premium if you’ve got a global brand
- Strategic branding builds credibility
- Global branding generates more business
Additionally, having an internationally recognized brand can help you attract talent and high-quality candidates to your payroll. Overall though, building an international business builds brand awareness.
Brand awareness: Critical for your company’s longevity and bottom line
First, let’s clear up any misconceptions between brand recognition and brand awareness.
Having an iconic logo or eye-catching visuals that people easily recognize is called brand recognition. However, brand awareness goes several steps further than that.
When people recognize your brand and know what products or services you offer, your price range, values, and the purchasing experience you provide, then you’re dealing with brand awareness.
Building an international brand goes far beyond cool logos and unique fonts or the products you sell. It’s more about the experience you provide and the values you hold, and how much they’re aligned with your customer’s values.
So, what philosophy do you embrace, and what company culture do you foster?
Because when you get down to brass tacks, brands are feelings — feelings your customers have when they interact with your business.
Branding, in essence, is how you play up and communicate your strengths and what makes your business unique.
Branding overseas: Market localization
When it comes to international branding, what you need is a localization strategy. A localization strategy considers how your company will address your target customers' unique buying habits, behaviors, and cultural differences in other countries.
When your business attempts branding in international markets, it can be difficult to deliver the same customer experience to foreign buyers that you offer customers in your country of origin. And remember, the purchasing experience is critical to building brand awareness. So, you want to employ strategies that will help you get this right.
Creating a localization strategy for specific overseas markets will help you provide a replicable, cross-border purchasing experience that’s the same for international and local customers.
Top International Branding Strategies
So, what all goes into building a successful purchasing experience for global customers? First, let’s break down the top global branding strategies you’ll want to use for maximum ROI (Return of Investment).
#1. Website marketing
Your website is your digital real estate that you own outright. All (marketing) roads should lead back to Rome — that is, your company website. For international branding, you’ll want to ensure that your web development strategy is aligned with how people search in different local markets.
For example, in some markets, people would rather browse on mobile as opposed to desktop. That means that you want to ensure high-quality content translation and local SEO reviews to ensure high engagement with customers overseas.
Domain structure consistency is necessary for maintaining a strong global brand and a consistent, positive purchasing experience.
Brand awareness boils down to eliciting positive feelings in customers as they interact with your business. With that in mind, you’ll want to be especially mindful of cultural norms and differences.
In some instances, how you address customers may be important. Some cultures expect certain honorifics when they interact with a business.
For example, interacting with Japanese customers may require adding the gender-neutral suffix sama to your messages. You might need to include additional textboxes or spaces for reading aids or several middle names in web forms.
#3. Buying preferences
Purchasing experiences must be localized for every country you target. You’ll need to consider unique payment options and the correct local currencies for different markets.
For example, customers in countries like Germany and Japan don’t heavily rely on credit cards as a buying option. So, you’ll need to provide alternative payment methods. Also, you might need to consider offering multiple currency payment options, depending on the market.
Planning and keeping track of the different buying options and preferences for overseas markets can be challenging. So, we recommend consulting a localization strategy specialist for cross-border marketing management.
#4. Partnerships with local businesses
Another effective strategy for building a brand overseas is to partner with a local business in the area you’re targeting. Forming a strategic partner is an excellent way to quickly improve your standing in the community and increase trust in the local market. Co-sponsoring a local event or donating to a local charity are a few ways you can get started.
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to find a local business that meets the criteria. Check out government institutions like embassies, export councils, and government portals such as:
- FIEO GlobalLinker
- International Trade Administration
These platforms can help you connect with local overseas businesses.
#5. Social media
More than 3.8 billion people use social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, YouTube, WeChat, and LinkedIn. So, where are your target customers hanging out? You’ll want to target those social media platforms for building a global brand.
Targeting a specific social media platform or two is better than approaching all of them with a scattershot approach. Being strategic with social media is vital for getting the max ROI and protecting your bottom line.
Here’s how to do just that:
- Paid ads — Paid advertising such as on Google Display and Facebook can get you noticed more quickly and widely than if you were to rely solely on organic posting. Hire this out since it can be complicated and waste ad spend if you trial-and-error paid ads.
- Consistent posting — Consistent posting helps build trust and awareness with people on social media. Regular posting schedules that ask questions and get a conversation started are an excellent way to increase engagement.
We recommend using slightly different content tailored for the platform. For example, Twitter and Facebook users are comfortable with more casual tones, while LinkedIn users expect something more serious.
- Hashtags — Hashtags help you get noticed and make your posts searchable. Always use hashtags in your posts.
- Tagging — Tag others in your posts where applicable. This strategy can kick start a conversation and get your posts more widely shared.
- Influencers — Reach out to micro-influencers. These individuals are typically closer to their audiences and are less expensive to partner with than mega influencers. Target people who have similar audiences to yours and whose followers can benefit and enjoy your offerings.
- Avoid aggressive sales tactics — People go on social media to be, well, social. They want thought-provoking, entertaining content. Focusing your content solely on driving revenue will turn people off.
- Be mindful of content bans — Different countries have different restrictions on content and what justifies a ban. For example, China does not allow Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube. But it does allow Weibo, and this platform is incredibly popular with Chinese consumers.
Using social media strategically is an excellent way to build buzz around your brand and increase your customer base in overseas markets.
Get started today with Lingble.
With the internet and increasing access to it worldwide, building a global brand has never been more attainable for businesses of all sizes and niches.
If you’re ready to strategically take your offerings to customers overseas, reach out to us today for a marketing plan tailored to your unique business and customers.