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Tips for Building a Global Brand

The world is getting a whole lot smaller.  

Virtual meetings are more widely accepted. Translating software is at the top of its game. Countries are much more aware of, accepting of, and interested in global consumption. It is easier and more common than ever to grow a company’s recognition past country lines.  

Many startups and companies are jumping on the opportunity to grow recognition, purchases, and followers across the globe. But there are several growing pains, mistakes, and communication breakdowns along the journey. How can you minimize these to grow fast and grow well? 

Here are tips you can use to build a global brand. 

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How to Build a Global Brand 

Start with regions you really, really understand

There’s no need to bite off more than you can chew. Start dipping your toes in the global pool by testing opening your product and services to certain regions at a time. For example, if you are you in the US, expand into Canada. By choosing regions that have similar cultures, languages, and social practices to your own, you can start working out the kinks of building a global brand without feeling lost in regional norms and customs. This minimizes the chances of making mistakes with you promotional message.  

Find a balance between local significance and global recognition

Creating a cohesive brand that works in multiple markets can be difficult. The best global companies always pay attention to what aspects of the company are best to localize, and what aspects to centralize. 

Localization means prioritizing creating a customized experience for the region that your brand was born in. Centralization is prioritizing the experience of the brand no matter where the customer is found. Both strategies tend to have pros and cons. This founder always asks the question – does this decision affect the customers experience with the brand? If it does, then the first priority should be the local experience. If it does not, then prioritize global efficiency.  

This can impact the blog post topics you post on your site, the local current events you choose to react or speak to, the setup, default settings, and user experience on your website, and so much more. Keeping centralization vs. localization front of mind when making business decisions  

Be aware of cultural differences 

Not all copy translates perfectly.

If you’re ever wondering if it’s worth hiring a professional translator over winging it with Google Translate, go with the translator. There are so many tiny little language tweaks that are necessary from keeping your copy from sounding too formal, stiff, confusing, incorrect, or even offensive. The classic “Colgate” example shows this perfectly. In English-speaking countries, it’s a perfectly acceptable brand name. In Spanish-speaking countries, it roughly translates to “go hang yourself.” You see the glaring communication breakdown.  

While this is an extreme example, little missteps in copy translations can lead to your brand seeming out of touch with the local cultures. Double, triple, and quadruple-check your translated copy with local speakers so every expression, analogy, and slang term flows smoothly.  

Not all unique value translates as well.

Extensive market research is necessary before introducing your brand, product, or service to new countries – especially countries with differing customs that what you and your company are used to. Even more than your copy, the messages and sentiments behind your product or service need an audit as well.  

Some product values just don’t fit in certain countries. For example, walking through the airport in Taiwan, I saw several “skin bleaching lotion” billboards and promotions promising to lighten the skin of your face. It shocked me, but in south Asia, this product seemed to be commonplace. But if they decided to expand and run advertise the exact same value in the States, there would be an incredibly negative reaction. 

Moral of the story is, always check that the value of a product is still a value when expanding. 


Business hours are 24/7 when possible 

A global brand tries to provide fantastic customer support for all countries they serve

Is there anything more annoying than inconveniencing, time-consuming, and difficult communication with a company’s customer service? A bad support or representative experience can be enough to never want to work with a company ever again. So, when expanding to new regions, it can make offering fantastic communication with customers a little bit more involved. 

In a perfect situation, you are able to offer chat, phone, social, or email support 24/7, to account for all office hours around the globe and be available to customers. 

If you cannot offer 24/7 support, it’s important to set up a seamless process for reaching out and receiving answers quickly and effectively after hours. This means setting up expectations of slightly longer response times, clear communication on when someone will get more information, and an easy way to reach out when no one is fielding chats or calls.  

Understand and account for inconveniences that come with global growth 

You know that “with great power comes great responsibility” line? That applies to this situation as well – with growth comes new growing pains. There may be red tape, bureaucracy, and logistical issues that impact user and consumer experience. But as long as you are clear, honest, and communicative about these potential inconveniences, customers will be much more patient with your growing pains. 

Supply/demand issues

Entering new markets may mean entering uncharted territory with supply numbers. Creating a clear user experience on your website that states how much is left, and when more may be available to purchase. You can also offer a waitlist for those who want notifications the moment more are available.  

Shipping timelines

When expanding the distance your goods ship, timelines may stretch. Offering that different reagions have different shipping dates as a notification during the purchase process will not only increase the patience of your customers, but also cut down on the amount of “when will it get here” communications your team needs to respond to.  

Communication snafus 

Be gracious and transparent with your customers when you make mistakes along the way – whether it’s publicly or one-on-one. Having a set process to appease customers who you’ve wronged locked and loaded can save you a lot of negative reviews, bad press, or public apologies. Being quick to appease those who have had a less-than-stellar experience can make or break your brand’s international reputation. 

Get ready to take the world on by storm. Are you ready to jump into any of these tips? Reach out to our team to plan a great 2021 global marketing strategy. 

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