Thanks to developing technology, faster and more efficient means of communication, and international business travel, the world is rapidly shrinking, calling more and more companies onto a global stage if they hope to succeed against their biggest competitors. It’s no longer enough for market leaders to become a success in their home country, and increasing numbers of companies are looking to appeal to an international market. In order to succeed in international business though, companies must be aware of how their products or services as well as branding can transcend cultural and language barriers, and they must also be prepared to make the changes that advertising a company in a foreign market will require.
Marketing a company: home versus away
There are numerous methods that companies will use to raise awareness of their products and services, including television and radio campaigns, social media marketing, print advertising campaigns, and web-based pop-ups. However, the ways in which marketing messages are carried at home may not be appropriate for a foreign market or be understood by an audience that speaks a different language. Humour, for example, won’t always transcend cultural and language barriers, while factors such as colour, consumer habits, and regional values must also be considered.
Companies will need to consider their target audiences on a global scale in order to appropriately target marketing, as well as look very carefully at how colours, images, andbranding will be received by cultures outside of their own. All too often, companies will fail to understand or pay attention to international data, adapt their sales and marketing channels to accommodate an entirely different audience, and won’t think their campaigns through properly. Attempting to conquer a foreign market requires companies to effectively start again with their advertising campaigns, following new sets of market research, and getting to know an entirely different type of consumer. Certain companies may even identify a need to alter the ways in which their products are used and perceived. Advertising must reflect the needs of foreign consumers and allow marketers to appeal to a new set of requirements. In short, advertising to a foreign market will almost always require understanding a new niche and enabling that a product is seen to fulfil it via careful marketing.
Seeking inspiration from the rest of the world
When it comes to conquering global markets, many companies may choose to look to the brands that have gone before them in order to analyse their campaigns’ weaknesses and take inspiration from their success stories; brilliant international marketing is hard to achieve, so influential campaigns must be admired. Red Bull, for example, has made the most of a series of sporting events and extreme activities in order to draw crowds together, enabling advertising to be seen on a global stage and by millions of viewers. Domino’s Pizza is another international brand using the simple strategy of a winning menu in order to transcend cultures; most countries will enjoy pizza in one format or the other, and Domino’s recognises that in changing toppings to suit different consumers, they are able to transcend that barrier; as long as companies understand and play to consumers from around the world, their brands should soon follow suit.
Perhaps a lesser known company, but making a success of itself outside of its home nation nonetheless, is PNN, a Middle Eastern family business established in 1993 by a father and son team; Nizami Piriyev and his son, the company’s CEO Nasib Piriyev, were striving for a company that took responsibility for health and environment, demonstrated integrity and transparency, and would embrace its employees and customers, engaging them on every level. The PNN Group’s geography now spans over ten countries, although its reach is much wider; the group currently owns the rights to retail chain WHSmith and is quickly bringing branches of a store that the world recognises into its fold. Acquisitions such as this will ensure that the group is able to transcend cultural barriers, while hearty family values that translate across advertising campaigns ensure that the group’s message is heard and understand no matter where father and son choose to take their business next. Values, as much as wording, colours, and messages, are integral to advertising campaigns, and companies must make sure that they’re recognising the different values that are held around the world.
When it comes to advertising a company in a foreign market, it is essential for businesses to conduct their research and to understand that a one-size-fits-all operation is seldom likely to work very far. Instead, companies must carefully piece together their campaigns, learn to understand a new type of consumer, and ensure that their message, while unaltered at heart, can be translated successfully. Seeking inspiration from successful companies is always a good starting point, although it’s essential to stand out from the crowd; the world is now their stage.