February 8, 2011 by Helen Blake
You have a brand already, created out of the experience your clients have of you, but entering new international export markets will require a review against a number of additional considerations. The key to brand success in other markets is research – doing your homework. Be honest, keep an open mind and make sure you do all of this before you launch in your new market. It’s a huge pain, and very costly, to have to go back and make changes after you’ve launched!
Key areas for brand consideration in export markets
• Language and Linguistics
Does your organisation’s name mean something unfortunate or sound like something negative in your chosen market language? Check the dictionary and, vitally, ask a native speaker. This may sound obvious but the costs and consequences of getting your name wrong are huge!
For example, ‘Concadia’ means ‘upside-down or kick-the-bucket’ in Mandarin!
If you are entering an overseas market you need to have a full legal review of your name and any trademarks covering all relevant legal classes of your industry sector. Do you own the URL that relates to your chosen overseas market/s? Eg the .com
Don’t use it. Humour is very country-culture specific and doesn’t travel well.
• Different Social Values
Be aware there may be wider social differences: familiarity at work, attitudes towards privacy, organisation control, business ownership and religious considerations.
• Different Professional Values
The same applies to professionalism: ethics around promotion, conflicts of interest, multi-disciplinary practices.
• Meaning of colour
Colour has different meanings in different countries. For example yellow in China signifies grandeur, in Japan it is linked with death and in the US is associated with cowardice. This may have an impact on the colours you choose for your brand identity.
Who is your strongest competitor? What are they doing in this new market? Where are they putting most effort and how are their clients reacting?
Just checking these 7 areas in some detail could save you a lot of expense and make your impact in your new market even stronger. Happy exporting!