Is Your Business Ready to Enter a New Brand Territory?

So, you’ve established a name for yourself in your current locale. What’s next? Making the decision to expand your brand territory overseas opens up a whole new market of people interested in your product or service and can expedite your business’s growth. But what equals success in one region doesn’t necessarily translate into another. For instance, Walmart attempted to expand into Japan in 2018, but ultimately failed as it found that the Japanese market was less interested in the convenience of being able to find great deals at one central location than in the US market.

If you want to increase your success and grow your business internationally, there’s a few things you’ll need to have achieved before you make the plunge.

You’ve Defined Your Goals

While this may be obvious, unless you have clear goals and objectives for expanding your business, it’s not the right time to enter new brand territory. Without clear objectives, you will not be able to determine who you are marketing your business to and what problem you are solving.

Netflix had a clear goal on how it was going to expand internationally, which saw it enter 190 countries in 7 years. Instead of trying to enter every territory at once, it started with countries that were close culturally and geographically, such as Canada.

Consider what you are hoping to achieve and how the new brand territory will help you get there. Once you have defined your goals, you can use marketing and brand awareness in order to help you reach them. For example, If you are looking to increase sales, consider increasing your brand awareness and web traffic through PR.

You Have a Strong Foundation

Moving into a new territory can affect how you currently run operations. There will be language and cultural hurdles, as well as financial obstacles. Without a strong foundation, taking a massive leap like entering a new brand territory could break your business. Is your team equipped for the challenge? Are you already surpassing your goals and objectives?

You and your team will need to be able to adapt and overcome a range of challenges, and have contingency plans in place for any issues. Without already having a strong foundation to build on, the obstacles you face will become harder to navigate through.

You’ve Done Your Research

While you may be seeing success in your current market, this doesn’t always mean you are ready to expand abroad.

To ensure you are ready for the move, you should have knowledge of who your competitors in the new territory are, as well as how you will fit into the new market. Do you know who your competitors are, how they operate and how you stand out against them? Have you looked at the successes and failures of similar products? You may have a great product, but if the market is already saturated, you will need to look for ways to break through.

As well as a deep understanding of your competitors and the current market, you will also need a clear understanding of the customs, and culture of your new customer. In order to do this you should conduct a thorough brand persona, where you analyse your ideal client. Think about their interests, what problem you are solving for them, where they are located, their spending habits, what demographic they fall into. You will also need to look at how they differ culturally and what challenges this may bring.

If you try to expand without researching the cultural differences, as well as the state of the current market, you’ll find it very difficult to break through the noise.

There’s a Demand

Just because there’s a huge demand for your product in your current locale, it doesn’t mean there will be elsewhere. Only consider making the move if you already have somewhat of a demand for your product in the region you’re planning to expand to.

Renowned coffee chain Starbucks made the mistake of expecting there to be demand in its product from the get-go when expanding to Australia, and therefore it didn’t change what it offered to suit the market. It found that the Australian market had different coffee preferences to other countries, and these were not met by the menu Starbucks offered. Ultimately, this led to Starbucks’ presence in Australia not being as large as other countries.

If you don’t already have demand overseas, it doesn’t necessarily mean the product isn’t necessary. You will need to research the culture and marketplace and adapt your marketing efforts or your product accordingly. This is where a clever marketing plan and brand awareness can help.

You Have a Presence

Before you make the move, you should already have a presence in your chosen locale. This might be through a partnership or alliance initially, and can evolve into an entire team. This presence will allow you to have a team member who knows the market inside and out, and reduce any cultural barriers that may occur. It will also open you up to regional opportunities that you may not be aware of as someone on the outside.

Another way to build up a presence in your chosen territory is through influencer and PR relationships. Investing in influencer marketing and PR that are native to the region you want to expand in will increase brand awareness in that area. It will also help you to gauge an understanding of the market, your customer base and the kind of demand your product has.

Expanding territory can be a very exciting time and can open up a whole host of new avenues for your business. Take the time to ensure you are thoroughly prepared for expansion and you will see your business grow in a whole new market.

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