In today’s business landscape, authority has the final say. There’s not much room for convincing a shopper to purchase your product. You either scream leadership or you fall to the bottom. We all know that for every leader, there’s a thousand followers, and this most certainly remains the case in the world of commerce.
Becoming an authoritative business in your hometown is hard enough. It seems there’s more barriers to entry than open doors, and even minor opportunities are met by droves of competition. But often businesses will find that their product is more accepted in international locations than their own neighborhood. In these cases, taking a global marketing approach to international expansion is often your best bet.
As we have defined in the past, global marketing refers to foreign expansion without tailoring or customizing marketing messages to specifically suit the markets you are expanding to. In other words, marketing messages are universalized for all countries.
Another approach to foreign expansion is international marketing, which consists of custom tailoring your marketing messages and media channels to fit the market preference of the country you are moving your product to. However, this type of marketing has been covered in prior posts.
Brand awareness is sort of a buzz word in the business world these days. It’s in just about every lecture and textbook on marketing, and the chances of you making it through more than two business articles without hearing it once are little to none.
Brand awareness is just like it sounds – making the public aware that your brand exists. One of millions of examples is: K-Mart. Just about everyone knows what K-Mart is, and thus, the company has done a good job at creating “brand awareness.”
Brand authority refers to a company’s ability to shine as leaders amongst the competition at hand. In our prior example, while K-Mart has succeeded at creating great brand awareness, they stand nowhere close to a business like Walmart, who has a great deal of brand authority.
We can all think of a few company’s that have created brand authority. A couple examples:
- Adobe’s “Photoshop” program is used as a verb amongst the internet community – “Can you photoshop this?”
- Kleenex has managed to become a more popular term than “tissue” these days. Think about the amount of times you’ve heard or requested a “Kleenex” as opposed to a “tissue”
These are companies who have excelled beyond brand awareness to become authoritative leaders in their industry. Walmart, Target, Comcast, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sony, Samsung, Lays – they are all companies that demonstrate a great deal of brand authority.
But you don’t need to be an aspiring Fortune 500 company to take on a market segment as a leader. You just need the right plan in place and a team to execute.
How to Convert Brand Awareness to Brand Authority
The issue can be broken down to 3 fundamental principles: 1) Timing, 2) Marketing, and 3) Need.
In regard to your company’s timing, the two biggest factors to concern yourself with are: scalability, and staffing. Global marketing and expansion is a tough task when it comes to production. Extensive research and not-so-conservative estimates should be made as to how much you’ll need to produce and send overseas. But more important than this is to ensure that higher production doesn’t equal lower quality. To have brand authority, you need to have a far reach as well as a high quality product.
Then there’s staffing. Global marketing is significantly less straining than international marketing, but it still requires a great deal of attention. Upfront research and preparation, transportation management, cost and revenue analysis, foreign market research and everything in-between requires more than one or two people. Be ready to staff a whole team for the market you are expanding into.
I suppose this advice is a little bit more geared towards international marketing than global marketing, but attempt to take a similar marketing approach to your competitors in the foreign market. There’s plenty of room for originality later in the game, but as a new international expansion endeavor, understanding the marketing preferences and buying behavior of a different country is very difficult. The best way you can ensure accuracy of marketing messages is by “copying” (in a way) the marketing strategy of the companies who have succeeded in this market.
Pay attention to the marketing channels that the country prefers. Bill boards, websites, social media, video production, photography, sales, graphic design, type of humor, practicality. A market’s preference as to how these all mix will vary greatly by country. Learn the market by studying the leaders. Build upon those strategies which proof effective and change those strategies that are lacking.
Before moving forward with your strategy, attempt to identify the “need” in the market for the product you are selling. The research done on the market “need” should go hand-in-hand with research on the competition. A low need with established brand authority leaders means there is a low potential to entry. A high need with multiple brand authority leaders means the market opportunity is ripe for entry. As always, research on the specific market you are entering is incredibly important, as the competition density in a particular industry may communicate mixed messages based on the market in question.
If you are looking for help or advice on expanding to international markets through global marketing, reach out to one of our team members. We are always happy to help answer questions you may have (especially as they pertain to logistics), and will do our best to help you out. If you are interested in other forms of international expansion, read up on some of the cautions of global marketing, as well as the differences between international marketing and global marketing.
We look forward to speaking with you!