4 Challenges in International Branding

September 9, 2020
challenges in international branding global

Globalization has provided numerous opportunities for new regional revenue streams. However, globalization has also made it a challenge for brands to create a five-star customer experience. Global marketing campaigns, product launches or IT integration all have multiple layers of challenges that must be addressed long before the planning begins. Let’s examine the top 4 challenges in international branding marketers and business leaders must overcome to captivate their international audiences.

Challenge 1: Breaking Through Cultural Barriers

A one-size-fits all approach to marketing is a death wish for brands. Language barrier aside, brands must fully understand local markets before driving any new initiatives. For example, cultural norms might prevent customers from purchasing specific items such as swimsuits or books, or from shopping during a holiday.

A particular offer or email can easily offend a shopper in one country while engaging an individual in another. Brands need a strong team dedicated to understanding the local market before hitting the planning stages of a new initiative. Leveraging insights from big data, for example, is one way of doing this effectively, but it also takes careful observation and study of a society’s cultural norms before embarking on a new program.

Challenge 2: Technology Adoption

Every country is at a unique spot on the spectrum of technology adoption, presenting one in a number of key challenges in international branding. This is especially important to keep in mind for campaigns with a digital or mobile component. While the US shopper might value an exclusive mobile app or push notification on their phone, users in Latin America may prefer direct email. That’s because the smartphone use in emerging markets is following a different path of adoption than developed countries. Infrastructure upgrades, evolving telecom laws and expensive data plans can all play a role in determining regional technology preferences. An investment in personalization technology enables brands to focus their efforts in the right channels, and make relevant offers based on the individual’s location, preferences and interests.

challenges in international branding

Challenge 3: Disparate Teams

A disjointed team can make or break a new product launch or company-wide rollout. Coordinating across regions requires careful planning, attention to detail and constant communication across departments. Rolling out a new ecommerce platform in different regions at once, for example, reinforces the brand’s image to its customers. Managing a geographically dispersed team requires a strong internal communications strategy and buy-in from each team member. Holding each other accountable for reaching the goal will help brands meet their objectives and roll out new regional programs while avoiding costly delays.

Challenge 4: Legal Obstacles

In addition to infrastructure, brands must take legal implications into account. The legal or political landscape can slow down a company’s entry into new markets or delay a costly launch. Understanding a new market involves thorough knowledge of the political and legal structure as well as the culture and language. Let it fall to the wayside and your organization may experience expensive delays that hurt the brand’s global image.

The key advantage of globalization lies in the potential to increase market value and build a global brand image. Marketing campaigns, product launches and new technology integrations offer a nerve-racking but exciting experience for organizations ready to take the business to the next level. Missteps often occur when brands overlook these common challenges in international branding.

Integrating solutions, tools and technologies into the planning phase will prevent brands from hurting their image and will help capture a coveted global audience.