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Courtney Capellan

Launching Your Brand Globally

Courtney Capellan
Launching Your Brand Globally

Something must be compelling, interesting, and worthy to earn our costly time and attention – the most valuable commodities in today’s marketplace. Getting noticed is ever competitive- and exponentially so- when you start reaching farther and wider for your audience.

Assuming a general understanding of the value of visibility and its impact on growth, how can businesses capture more of it, and from farther away? What does it take to promote a brand capable of gaining global recognition?

First, understand why. You’ve probably achieved some attention in local communities; maybe some niche industries are starting to notice you. In order to compete in internationally, your efforts have to be directed, customized and targeted to meet the needs and behaviors- in line with cultural views- of different countries.

Let’s acknowledge some fundamental tactics and then explore beyond them.  Traditional marketing efforts scaled regionally are important, but aren’t enough to earn you overwhelming international applause. Here’s how to take the global stage and the spotlight.

Help the community

If you’re still clinging to a one-size fits all approach in tailoring your marketing campaign to your customers, it’s time to bring out the measuring stick. You have to understand the needs of both current and future customers in order to provide value. Internationally – yes- there are a lot of them.

Social media lets connects businesses with the audience in a direct way. Providing users access to your content, your offers, or exposure to your brand is invaluable. And it’s a brilliant channel for providing value, especially when you get creative with it.

Your already benefit from the connections, feedback received, and insight gained from social media analytics tracking. Now you need to adapt your message to resonate with new customers. Maintain your standard tactic campaigns (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) but look for new ones to spread your message.

Take advantage of Reddit. A high-traffic, voter-based channel, is often overlooked as a resource for generating new leads. Host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session. CFR Rinkens, a global shipping company introduced themselves on Reddit and invited users to “ask the expert anything” regarding car, boat and cargo logistics. People from all over the world showed up to the Q & A live session. Afterwards, the page was archived and lives as a resource for the international community in need of answers.

It’s an easy attention getter. The hour long session endorsed a sense of “we care.” The expert, answering questions not only generated great content and links back to the company, he’s earned trust and perpetuated camaraderie as representative of the brand.

Translate your site correctly

The majority of the world doesn’t speak English. (If you didn’t know that already, it also applies to the Internet.) This underscores the importance of translating content and your brand message correctly across international channels. Localization and translation are gigantic, ongoing tasks and may require professional partnerships.

Machine and copy and paste translation aren’t going to buy you quality, accuracy and relevancy in most international search results. In China, for example, the content must fall in accordance with the censorship laws and paid advertising requirements of the major search engine Baidu. In other words, just because Google ranks your page in the top 10, that doesn’t mean Baidu, and others, will too.

Take business names and logos for example. Where is your company logo on your page? Upper left placement is common in languages written left-to-right. But there are seven modern languages that use right-to-left script. In addition to text translation, stylistic details must be arranged in accordance with target users. Product descriptions, images, labels, icons, and more must be optimized to appeal to different customer comprehension.

If you’re launching a brand new business or are in a rebranding phase, choose a logo and a name that translates well across different languages. This prevents incorrect or embarrassing misunderstandings that can be costly to correct later on.

Off-page signals

Be willing to put on your white-hat and earn off-site, high-quality links the hard way. A healthy backlink profile with lots of organic links boost search rankings and visibility. Best practice SEO and content strategy in foreign markets is challenging. Competitor analysis is imperative and should be your first step. Identifying your brand as relevant in different parts of the world, through keyword research comes next. From there, you’ll have an initial arsenal of prospects from which you’ll begin your outreach campaign.

Bloggers, partnerships and other influencers that you’re typically comfortable approaching are harder to connect with at a distance. You’re going to have to start from square one. Addressing new leads starts with a greeting and believe it or not- it’s possible to lose their attention at “hello.”

Craft emails with extra attention to cultural sensitivities. Resist slang, aphorisms and clichés. They might add flair to emails sent to fellow English speakers, but it’s unlikely that the personal effect will translate across languages. Details such as the ordering of first name before surname are appropriate in the U.S, but it’s not acceptable in Japan, where introductions are made using last names plus san.

Once you’ve made friends, use them. Off-site links and mentions earned from these relationships establishes authority for your brand.

Build a reputation of diversity

Reputation, like any sustainable relationship, is about maintenance. You celebrate the up-votes, likes and shares and work hard to respond and diffuse poor reviews or testimonials. You’re ready for some serious notoriety, status… fame.

Go straight to the source. Borrow a celebrity. If you can swing it, a famous face that represents your brand is an inimitable tactic and it may not be as hard to acquire as you think. Keep in mind, famous people are relative. (Famous in one country, unheard of in another.) Customize your advertising and endorsements accordingly.

Internally, your reputation is enhanced by building an international team. This is fast becoming a standard tactic. Take advantage of the “distributed environment” in which technology has made practically foolproof. Diverse individuals bring to the table diverse ideas and experience. Each employee, in their respective locations is a dot on the map- marking the presence of your brand all over the world.

Courtney Capellan is a “technically creative” freelance writer and digital media analyst for Hotel Marketing Works. She has a B.A. from the University of Washington in international studies, foreign policy and diplomacy. Her specialties include digital marketing, hospitality management and teaching yoga in San Diego, where she currently lives. Reach her on Twitter.

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