Things to consider before you go international with your brand
“Every country and market, and even city is different to the next. Don’t assume what works in your domestic market will resonate internationally.” - Sonya Michele
Madonna may have said we are liiiiving in a material world, but if she was to update the lyrics for today, she’d change it to something along the lines of we are liiiiving in an online world.
Being an online world has its advantages - we can go global and our audience reach can be anywhere we want it to be.
A lot of companies ‘fall into’ being international. One day you set up an online store, the next you see website visits from Germany. Sure it’s just your German friend from the ol’ school exchange days, but taking your brand international needs to be a considered choice.
At 9 to Thrive we learnt a few tidbits that will help you when you’re thinking of chasing an international audience.
Speaker Sonya Michele - owner of dog&boy - hammered home the importance of being targeted. This means that you’re not “going into China” you’re going into a province of China, even honed down further into a specific community.
You need to consider why there, why that audience, what need or want does you brand solve for them. These may even differ to your local audience’s needs and wants.
Do your research.
Once you think you have a clear target market, check out the competition - both local and international brands that are targeting this same group. Check out local market trends so you can start creating a strategy to suit. Don’t just make this strategy from behind your screen though - go and visit and see it for yourself. Every market will need a different strategy.
One of the best ways to do this is to make some local friends - ones who know the area na the culture, and have an awareness of industry and consumer trends. Things as simple as colour can make a big difference in what an international audience thinks of you, especially as many societies have connotations with colours.
“Exporting (for wholesale) is a long game and the goal posts are constantly changing so continually research and read about trends and market changes and adapt your approach and business accordingly.”
Take care of admin.
Before you even launch overseas you need to make sure you have your admin sorted. How much of a pain would it be to be celebrating your first pile of orders from Lithuania (‘cause why not?) and then you get slapped with a big ass custom fee. Check out things like tax, customs, any local protocols/regulations/certifications you need to observe, how you’re going to handle payments, etc.
Each country will have different rules and fees. This might even help you work out where you want to target first as it might be better to go for the lesser cost while testing the waters.
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