4 Strategies For Building a Global Brand

Building a Global Brand

Making your brand go global is an ambitious and rewarding brand strategy. Building a global brand can take your business farther than you could have imagined, while growing a supportive, loyal fan base all over the world.

Interestingly enough, many of the most well-known global brands did not purposely try to make their brands global from the start. Apple is a good example of this. Apple’s product appealed to international customers so much because technology is such a universal and coveted niche. Without trying much, Apple soon began receiving such a high demand for its products from foreign countries, that it became a global brand with little effort.

If your products and services appeal to those across borders, you can create a global brand just because what you offer is quite a bit in-demand in those countries. However, this brand strategy can take some time – years or decades, even – and you may not want to wait that long for your brand to take off around the world.

So how can you develop a global brand strategy to take your business to other countries? Take into consideration the following four strategies that can help develop your brand across borders with fierce momentum.

Hone Your Focus on a Single Category or Niche

A company that is not well-defined will have more difficulty appealing to local customers, let alone potential customers in other countries. The most successful global brands are those that focus on a single type of product or service, like health or technology. Focusing on too many things at once makes it difficult to aim your brand at others.

Think of brands like IBM, Coca-Cola, Disney and McDonalds. These global brands are ones that almost everyone in the world has at least heard of, and many have bought their products or at least know what they offer. These particular brands have very clear missions and you can easily explain what type of company they control. You can probably name off several of their products or services as well.

The most famous global brands have something in common: They are very focused on one niche and are careful to stay within that niche. Why? Because that focus translates to people of all cultures. International customers are more likely to take interest in your brand if it is something they understand and can relate to. Most countries need technology, entertainment, food and drink, and successful global brands use that need to their advantage.

Once you have a clear goal for your brand niche, you must ensure that you remain consistent within that niche and with your brand messaging. When you expand globally, your message can become lost in translation. So, one of the most important things you can do to build and maintain a global brand is to stay true to your brand’s actions and messages to make sure that people all over the world understand exactly what your brand’s message is.

Be Socially Responsible

If you want your business to be a global leader, you have to start thinking globally. This means using your global power to think of what you can do as a business to be socially responsible. Social responsibility is important for a business, especially one that seeks to expand globally. The world wants to know that you are using your global power for the greater good of the world and its people.

Some of the ways you might want to consider flexing your socially-responsible business muscles to have an impact on your global brand are:

  • You can develop your brand strategy to leave behind a small carbon footprint. Let the world know how you plan to reduce pollution or waste to lessen the carbon footprint your business creates.
  • Do you encourage your business leaders and other employees to volunteer? Volunteering for good causes that are close to your heart or the niche of your business will show people all over the world that your company cares about doing what is best for the world.
  • Treat your employees and customers fairly, without bias or discrimination of any kind. Ensure that employees have safe and fair working conditions and actively seek to employ those from different cultures, with different abilities, and with varying degrees of skills. Also, make sure your customers have a voice; show that their opinions matter with a wide range of opportunities for them to express their concerns or opinions.

Consumers are more apt to trust and admire a company that is willing to give back. Social responsibility is a brand strategy you cannot afford to skip if you desire to have a global brand that appeals to the masses.

Appeal to All Cultures Through Emotion

Some of the most successful global brands are so because of their ability to appeal to all cultures using emotion. Emotions are universal; everyone experiences them and everyone can relate to them.

When you advertise your global brand, attempt to maximize your advertising potential across cultures with the use of emotion. Make potential consumers understand why your specific brand can help them, their families, and their lives in general.

Think of Disney, for example. People across the globe think of Disney as magical and unforgettable. The brand gives them nostalgic memories of their childhoods, watching Disney movies and dressing up as their favorite princesses. Disney fans from 50 years ago are still fans and have kids and grandkids who are fans. These consumers grow up spreading their love for Disney because they have heartfelt emotions tied to the brand.

To build a global brand, you have to develop your brand strategy around different cultures. Since emotions are global, using them to your advantage is an excellent way to appeal to those in other countries. You may want to focus on one particular emotion: Excitement, love, lust, or happiness, for example. Then, use that emotion to build marketing campaigns, brand messaging, and products and services to grow your brand on a global level.

Ensure That Your Brand Translates Well

Whether or not you choose to use emotion to appeal to the masses, you have to be careful that your brand and its messaging translates well between cultures. Not every word, facial expression, or even hand gesture means the same thing in every culture. The last thing you want to do is tarnish your global brand image with an untranslatable brand strategy.

First, make sure you create primary, core messages that are the same internationally, but can be easily adjusted for other cultures. Leave your overall message the same, but be able to change a word or two or tweak a logo to better translate to another culture. Some brands even change their colors to better appeal to those in other countries.

Be careful with your brand name as well. A word that is perfectly acceptable in one language can mean something completely different in another language – and can actually translate to something very demeaning or offensive. Ensure that your brand name – perhaps the most important part of your brand – translates well into all other languages. If not, consider changing the word completely or playing around with its spelling.

Do not cut costs in this area. Consider hiring interpreters and cultural experts to help you tweak your brand to appeal to all cultures. Taking this step in the very beginning will set you on the right path toward creating a solid global brand strategy.

To proactively build a global brand, you should understand the cultures you want to appeal to and create a positive brand that you, and they, can be proud of. Consider outsourcing cultural tasks to experts who can help you develop cultural strategies to appeal to international consumers.

You will also want to focus your business within a specific niche and create powerful brand messaging and marketing campaigns that resonate with potential consumers. Finally, focus on your social responsibility as a brand. You are in the public eye all over the world and should ensure that you are holding up to the standards your customers have set for your business.


Related Reading: The Secret Ingredients for a Successful Brand Strategy

Lina Wang

Lina Wang is CEO of Atlantis Global, a US company that specializes in Ecommerce, Gaming and Venture Funding. She is popularly known among her circle as "The Poker Princess" and juggles her ecommerce, gaming business, marketing consultancy and family life with a passion for startups. Considered among the Top 30 Content Marketing Strategists globally, she also edits a popular Women’s Poker Magazine. Whether it is startup funding, developing cutting edge ecommerce platforms or even a friendly bit of poker strategy advice, she can be reached at lina@linawang.org