OK … So it’s time to take your business into a new market, here are some of my marketing steps (with some real-life examples thrown in) to help you achieve this.
Firstly, what is your Brand Story? When you created your business brand – whether it be a product or a service, did you create it with the mindset that this could go into other markets and other cultures? You must always remain true to your brand promise and values, no matter which country or language you are operating in.
Transliterate or Transcreate –
This remains a favourite real-life story of mine, once upon a time I worked for a luxury brand and we had taken the business across Europe, the Middle East and America, then it was time to take it into Asia. As a business we wanted to ensure the brand was absolutely positioned as a high-end luxury experience brand – we went through the entire exercise of transliteration prior to our China trip with a Focus group of 50 + audience types and industry partners, we wanted to ensure the name was 100% reflective of the Brand itself.
Well… were we wrong, once we started to workshop and create words that “literally” translated we ended up with “Pigs Feet” – not really what we were looking for.
And there it was…an eye opening experience to the world of transliteration vs transcreation – thankfully we ended up creating a name that phonetically sounded similar, but also captured the essence of the brand in its Chinese meaning. The first character conveyed prestige and great respect and the second character exemplified culture and refinement, luxury and exceptional elegance. We nailed it.
My more recent Hotel brand story followed a similar process, except I had learnt from my mistakes. When I was commissioned to work on Nesuto Hotels & Apartment Hotels, the brief was to rebrand their business and portfolio of brands. We created an Apartment-Hotel brand that reflected and respected its Japanese ownership, as well as playing to the culture of the business and its team, with a brand that could essentially scale globally, it needed to be easy to say with an indicative meaning. Nesuto, the pronunciation of “Nest” in Japanese, has the connotations of welcoming, comforting and plays into the Nesuto Brand Essence- “Your Companion On The Road”. This name and meaning allowed key “living” messages to be played out. Nesuto and its team are your companion when travelling, creating everything you need including space, a kitchen and a laundry – just like home. We encourage guests to “fly the nest” every now and then, so each property reflects the local neighbourhood as we inspire our guests to go out and explore the local area.
A great example of a brand that was trans-created across its positioning, properties and its people.
Trade Marks and IP –
Intellectual property represents ownership of a name and brand. Trademarks are symbols or words that safeguard ownership and ideally, these should be registered in your targeted geo-markets for growth.
Firstly a Trademark Registration is an important asset in a global and online economy.
Owning a trademark registration can increase a company’s value to potential partners and investors and starts to create a perception of global scale. I would always encourage businesses to work with an IP lawyer, to ensure you register the right way and more importantly that you are protected. To register a Trade Mark overseas, from Australia, you can either apply to individual countries for overseas trade mark protection or you can apply under the Madrid Protocol, which is a simplified process as you lodge one application for multiple countries, however I would always suggest referring to IP Australia for advice.
Your Marketing Roadmap –
There are a number of pieces at play here, the traditional marketing mix comes into consideration, however, you need to create content that considers the audience, the most effective channels in that geo-market and target market, optimising the best customer engagement tactics and more importantly, you must always stay on brand and messaging – the solution is to create glocal content.
When taking your brand, offer or campaign into market at an international scale, always look beyond the single transaction, it isn’t only about getting the sale. In fact it is more about building brand presence, awareness and engagement across all channels, you need to educate the audience on the brand value, particularly if you are new to market but it is also imperative that you respect the local culture whilst staying on brand . Ensure your assets, imagery and tone of voice are consistent and on brand, but that you have understood your audience and have tailored your message to suit them. Your Brand Character may not work well in this new market – think of it this way, if you are a Jester brand, your tone of voice may not come across humorous or jovial when literally translated into another language, so work around that to detail the values and facts and don’t try to be funny. There are some well known examples out there that we don’t need to go into.
Your People –
Marketing strategy and implementation at a global scale has a big impact on your teams, having always worked in the Hospitality industry across many international markets, this is always front of mind for me. Your strategy and goals at HQ need to transfer into global goals, essentially global wins are local wins and vice versa.
Ensure your team are confident, with the right tools at hand, to be able to create, launch and manage a Global Campaign or initiative, these include various image libraries, varied captions and tone of voice headlines or messaging, combined with suggestions on media plans and channels that will resonate in-market and more importantly perform well.
Always keep an open mind, create your marketing strategies and 5-year business plans with a fluid approach, we are in an ever-increasing changing economy and playing ground – your teams in other markets need to be listened to, they are on the ground, they need to be tooled up to be nimble and reactive, whilst remaining on brand.
It is alway an exciting time when you have the opportunity to be able to take your brand and business into other markets, as long as you plan well, research, test and execute well, you will have an amazing experience.