A comprehensive guide to taking your brand international
If you’re feeling a bit of brand-related wanderlust, get ready to go global with our definitive guide to taking your business international.
When we think of jet-setters, we think of socialites in cliffside palaces, school-leavers in cramped hostels and intrepid globetrotters on a remote island paradise. But there’s a new group of travellers on the scene and they’re taking full advantage of open global markets and digitisation – savvy brands with a wanderlust for foreign customers and endless opportunities.
Whether you’ve got an international market ready and waiting or you’re looking to start from the ground up, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive guide on going global.
Go global by… knowing when to go
Think back to your last overseas vacation… I can recall months of planning; deciding where to go and how to get there, organising everything from flights, accommodation, passports, vaccinations, insurance and money all while scouring Cereal and Wallpaper to find Instagram-optimised places to eat, visit, sleep and party. Surely taking your business global demands even MORE planning?
The Harvard Business Review tells us that the move to international can often be incidental. Unlike a crazed super villain that boasts about taking over the world, a lot of brands and businesses seep through borders rather than taking countries by storm. They’ll move in baby steps, learning as they go and adapting accordingly. HBR gives the example of Apple. They launched in the US but found themselves inundated with international orders. Rather than responding in force, they slowly expanded their store locations, opening individual outlets in foreign lands on their steady way to world domination. In this case, the move to go international wasn’t dictated not by the CEO but by the customers.
That’s the good news about the digital era. While we’re all getting RSI from scrolling through Instagram, the flipside is that going international has never been easier. You don’t need to visit the country, set up a shop front or start a foreign bank account. People can find your Australian website from all corners of the globe and they’ll help you know if it’s time to go global!
Go global by… doing your research
If your business doesn’t have a pre-existing international demand, don’t fret. While the residents of Timbuktu might not be inundating you with orders, it doesn’t mean they’re not interested… Take the time to complete a comprehensive review of your analytics. Find out who’s visiting your website, following on your social pages and opening your EDM’s. Know what they’re looking at, how long they’re looking at it for and where they’re looking at it from. You might find that your brand is already getting international attention but it’s not translating to orders or purchases. This will give you a pretty good indication of where possible markets lie and how you can make the most of them.
If your analytics show you’re only resonating domestically or not with the country that’s on your lust-list, don’t lose hope. Going global doesn’t have to be an organic process – just think of all the unexpected and unplanned things travel has thrown at you in the past! Start off on the right foot with a load of research and a strategy to drive your expansion. Review the market to discover how your product or service could work in the country/s you’re eyeing off. Are they familiar with what you’re offering, do they have similar products that you’ll be competing against or will you need to invest in explaining what you do and why they should be interested. Knowing what you’re in for and setting realistic expectations will help your transition get off the ground.
Go global by… going slow
Just like that first Europe trip where you crammed 17 destinations into 2 weeks of travel, doing too much too quickly can leave your business (and you!) completely drained. Keep your jet set life measured and restrained and ease yourself in gently – think of it as a drive through the Italian countryside rather than a whirlwind Contiki escape. If you want sustainable growth, avoid overstretching your brand and committing to more than you can afford (in both time and money).
Think about how you can expand using the resources you already have. Make use of Flaunter’s media list to find contacts and media who can connect you with audiences abroad. Add a translation option to your website, think about offering international shipping options, and start implementing international marketing solutions. Further down the line you might consider finding expats or foreign speakers to work as sales consultant or come on board in an advisory capacity. You might also connect with an influencer who targets that demographic or an international stockist who can raise your profile.
The key thing here is not to run before you can walk. Make necessary changes or increase services but make sure you have the return on investment (and that investment translates to different currencies and their inevitable fluctuations!) before going the full monty.
Want to be even better prepared for your global domination? Get your strategies in place with a killer business plan and plenty of research on your prospective competition before making yourself media ready with the perfect Flaunter profile.
Image credit: Patrick Demarchelier for Louis Vuitton (banner); Do your research by Oracle Fox; Giampaolo Sgura for Vogue Japan