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Global Branding: 7 Important Tips To Remember As You Scale New Heights

Going global feels like a distant dream for many brands. But with the right approach, it doesn’t have to be that way. Global branding, no matter how daunting it appears, is a doable step now if you know how to capitalize on digital marketing. 

But yes, it goes beyond creating a website or a social media presence. It is about understanding and accommodating cultural differences and their influences on consumer behavior. It is about nuancing in some places and generalizing in others. 

Planning to explore new international territories for your business but don’t know where to start? You are in the right place. In this blog, we’ll give you an overview of the basic steps to help you prepare for global branding. But first, let’s look at some of the common challenges that businesses face when they try to go global. 

Global branding: the challenges that no one talks about 

The internet has changed the way businesses connect with other businesses and with their consumers. It has set the stage for globalization. So much so that globalization sometimes feels like it’s just a click away! But the truth is far from that. Of course, a globally accessible website is a good starting point but there are some hurdles you should be aware of and be prepared for. 

Legalities 

The first and foremost factor will be the difference in legal scenarios in various countries. From the kind of authorizations or licenses to obtain to the types of safety standards for particular products, there are a lot of differences to consider. 

For example, while the American car seats for children come with a chest clip, you might not find them in European car seats, because the chest clip is banned in Europe. So, a business manufacturing car seats should be making very different versions for both these markets taking the legal requirements into account. This calls for a bigger budget and can sometimes make the globalization decision difficult for businesses. 

Existing trends and technological landscape 

People around the world do not have the same opinion, or the same readiness when it comes to accepting new trends in technology. Even the technological infrastructure that exists varies from one country to another. So, a brand cannot straightaway expand to the global market without understanding what kind of technical requirements are to be met for all its processes to be effective. 

For example, consider a brand that sells products solely through TikTok. There are countries like India where TikTok is banned but the market is a viable one. In such cases, the brand cannot directly explore the market without expanding its sales channels. 

The dispute of what to nuance and what to standardize 

There are some aspects of your business that you need to standardize for the global market and some that you need to customize for each market. Identifying these elements might feel like a big challenge in the beginning. 

For example, having a different version of your logo for each country means that you are losing out on the benefits of a global brand identity, a globally recognized logo. But at the same time, a video ad featuring a concept that people in the UK relate to might not always have the same impact on the people in the US. So, the logo – you need to standardize, but your ads – you need to personalize for each market. Segregating these components to personalize and standardize might be one challenge in globalization. 

Cultural boundaries 

One of the most important hurdles in global branding is the cultural differences that exist in different markets. 

For example, several international food chains in India do not serve beef as a few religions eschew eating beef. Taco Bell India uses halal-certified meat at its outlets valuing the cultural practices in the region. 

If your products or the messages in your ads do not go well with the cultural sentiments of the local audience, your brand might land in hot water. Such cultural disparities often intimidate small brands planning to scale to a global level. 

Want to overcome all these challenges in global branding and smoothly scale your business? Then there are some strategies that can help. 

7 effective ways to simplify global branding 

Even within the same family, there might be different preferences with respect to both products and brands in any given category. If that’s the case within a household, imagine the situation in global markets. No wonder global branding daunts many small businesses. But that does not have to be the case. Yes, global branding feels like a big step but once you make a carefully calculated decision to expand, your business grows and becomes stronger. So, what are a few things you can do about this? Come find out. 

1. Create a brand identity that works at a global scale 

There are a few things to do to ensure that your brand identity is all set for the global market. First, it is the quality of your brand identity designs. The second one is global relevance and interpretation.

First, the quality of your branding visuals. Your branding visuals like your logo speak volumes about your brand. If you skimped on your logo budget and designed one yourself because you were only targeting a small local audience, you need to rethink your decision when you go global. When your brand is getting ready to face a bigger audience, it should dress the part. A flimsy and cheap-looking logo would not exactly be expected from a global brand. You need a more refined identity that represents your brand’s authority. 

For example, the logos of IBM, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Nike have all become iconic examples of the value of logo design. These logos make the respective brands look good on a global scale. 

Second, comes the relevance of your logo in a global landscape. For example, if you chose very specific colors or shapes and symbols based on local traditions and perceptions, you might have to rework on your brand designs when you scale. 

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Logo design by Kimp

But some symbols are universal and feel relevant everywhere in the world. The association between “mothers” and “love” for example, is recognized instantly. So, logos like the one above easily convey the same emotions in most parts of the world. 

Kimp Tip: Understand the global perception of colors and symbols when you design your global logo. To ensure both quality and relevance, working with professional designers for your brand identity designs will be a good idea. 

2. Know that your brand values might be perceived differently in different regions  

When you launch your business you need to define your brand values. These are the core beliefs on which your business is built. These will become the distinguishing factors that set your business apart from the competition. Your brand values are also what your customers will remember your brand for. 

Not all brand values feel relevant on a global scale. For example, Walmart aims at delivering “every day low prices”. This works in most consumer markets but it did not work in the Japanese market. Among the many reasons why Walmart could not make it big in the Japanese retail segment, one is the “low price” culture the brand associates itself with. In Japan, low prices are often associated with low quality. Of course, the difference in food culture and other factors had a role to play too. 

But one inference here is that your brand values might not be perceived in the same way everywhere. So, for effective global branding, be ready to tweak your approach a little based on the market you wish to explore. 

Kimp Tip: When you explore a new market, your customers do not immediately know what your brand stands for or what values you emphasize. Your ads, your product packaging, and a whole lot of other things help them understand these details. So, before you come up with ad designs and store graphics for your brand do a thorough research on the local market. 

3. Adapt to the local infrastructure 

Beyond cultural norms, there are certain habitual practices that determine how a business performs in a market. In other words, people are used to doing things a certain way not because their culture defines the way but because that’s how they have been doing it for ages. Instead of challenging these or trying to reform them from the beginning, try to adapt to the local infrastructure especially when you are setting foot in the market for the first time. 

We’ll explain this with an example. Uber is a globally known car-rental company but in Southeast Asia, the brand faces stiff competition from local brands like Grab. A couple of differences that set Grab apart from Uber is the hyper-local approach that Grab implements. While Uber did not support cash payments, Grab did. And in the Southeast Asian market where cash payments were most common Grab did better. 

4. Be sure to value existing local communities 

Besides altering your approach you should also be ready to try new things when you enter a new market. This depends on the economical and political scenarios in the market. For this, you should know what brands in the same industries are doing in the respective market. You should know their strategies and customer shopping behavior too. 

An understanding of the local culture makes this easier for your brand. Adding a touch of local culture includes embracing local art forms or even celebrating local artists. For example, H&M introduced personalized stores in Amsterdam with a lot of local elements. It had clothing rental services, incorporated prints designed by local artists, and also featured some exclusive local brands. 

Strategies like the one adopted by H&M often work in global branding because they help eliminate hurdles that most businesses face while entering foreign markets. We all know how people actively advocate “shop local” campaigns on social media. So, when a business from another country enters the market, when a global player tries to establish its presence, people often feel skeptical. One of the reasons could be due to possible threats to the local businesses in the same category. A few ways to avoid the barriers that pop up due to these perceptions are:

  • Sourcing some of the ingredients from the local markets
  • Involving local artisans
  • Prioritizing local employees 

Understand which of these approaches will feel most relevant to your brand and incorporate the idea to prepare for smooth operations in your new market. 

5. Segregate your social media, or don’t

In global branding, businesses have a huge confusion when it comes to their communication channels. Should you have a different website for each region, a different social media page? Or one with a more standardized content strategy?

Well, what works for one brand might not work for another here. A lot depends on what you sell and how much of your content can be personalized for the local audience. Apple does not have separate country-wise pages on social media. Instead, it segregates its channels based on the content or services. 

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This makes sense for Apple because iPhones are more or less similar all across the globe. Whereas, Netflix has a different page for most of its popular target regions. 

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Considering that Netflix is all about content and it streams both local content and globally available movies and TV shows, maintaining separate streams of communication makes perfect sense. 

Similarly, weigh the pros and cons, to understand if your brand’s marketing should be done on different channels based on the regions you target or if a single brand page on social media will do the trick. 

Kimp Tip: If you choose to go with the single page for your brand approach, then remember to make customers from all demographics feel included. Post diverse content that caters to different cultures and talks about the diverse kinds of customers who transact with you. 

Want to know an easy way to an endless inflow of designs for your ever-growing social media channel? Get a Kimp subscription

6. Embrace local culture whenever and wherever it feels relevant 

When you have separated your communication channels for your audience from different regions you can experiment with using local slang and cultural references that your local audiences instantly recognize. Though they might sound irrelevant to audiences from other parts of the world, your local audience will love your brand for understanding them. 

The above image shows a newspaper ad from IKEA, for the launch of its first store in Penang, Malaysia. The ad features the Hokkien dialect. Ads like these are sure to grab attention. One of the big challenges that some brands face while globalizing is that some customers see the brands as “outsiders”. And it’s not easy to get people to trust “outsiders” let alone do business with them. Such inhibitions can be broken with ads like the one from IKEA. 

When you use references that only the locals would know, it makes you feel like an insider. It lets your customers know that you are making an effort to understand how different they are and trying to optimize your products and processes for them. These measures reduce a lot of friction that comes with global branding.  

Kimp Tip: This idea of using dialects and local cultural references works especially with print ads like flyers and newspaper ads or even outdoor marketing aids like billboards. All of these make your global brand feel local enough to win the trust of your local audience.

Want to create outdoor ads and print ads that look and feel like your brand in every way? The Kimp team can help. 

7. Understand that even local audiences love certain global traditions 

In an effort to localize your marketing campaign, do not remain oblivious to the fact that social media keeps people informed and exposed to a lot of global trends. There are some happenings that cross borders and connect people from all parts of the world. Events like the FIFA World Cup are a good example. Conversations about such events work almost everywhere. 

Identify such events that bring people from different parts of the world together and talk about them to your local audience. This helps your local audience feel like a part of your global community, which is a good thing! 

Kimp Tip: The above McDonald’s video features fans from different countries showing the global scale of the event itself and the brand too. Use visual cues like these to make your ads communicate the intended message. 

Need help creating video ads for your brand? Choose a Kimp Video subscription. 

Globalize your brand confidently with a Kimp subscription 

From fine-tuning your brand identity to creating an ample number of localized ads, a lot of steps can support your global branding strategies. Your branding designs and marketing designs introduce your brand to the new audience groups you wish to target. So, you cannot compromise on the quality and the visual tone of the designs too. We understand that it can feel overwhelming to keep up with all the design requirements piling up. Leave it to the Kimp team while you focus on understanding your new market and devising the right approach. Scaling your business and taking it to the global market becomes so much more convenient with unlimited designs. You can always add more subscriptions to your plan if you wish to multiply your design output volume and pause your subscriptions or drop them as your requirements go down. 

Want to see how Kimp works? Register now for a free trial.