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What does it take to repeat the great results you’ve had at market level when you expand across regions? Here are my five rules to easily take local brands to global success: 

1. Understand market differences and how they’re changing

Find out as much as possible about your current and potential customers; their rational needs but also their emotional desires.

For global rollouts, you additionally need to make a comparison of the similarities and differences between the customers in the local and future markets. This is where trend following is of particular use, even if you haven’t (yet?) developed plausible future scenarios.


2. Understand both customers’ perceptions

What does your brand stand for in the eyes and minds of your customers? Will the consumers in the new target market perceive the same benefits in the same way as your current customers? If not, is this really a potential market, or are you just rolling-out there due to geographic proximity?


3. Position based on insight and human truths

Every brand should have a positioning based on an insight. And that insight should include a human truth. (for more about insight deveolopment, check out the post: How to Grow Brands Successfully with Actionable Insights.”

One of the similarities that brings all consumers together is their basic human needs:

  • Think parenting and wanting the best for your children, used by many, many brands, including Nestlé’s Nido and Unilever’s Omo / Persil.
  • Or women and their frustration being compared to the retouched models they see in their magazines, successfully used by Unilever’s Dove.
  • And how about men and their need to charm women, to affirm their appeal and attractiveness, that is used by Lynx / Axe.

Before taking your local brand’s success to global stardom, think about what human truth you are tapping into. If you can’t identify it, there is a far lesser chance of your repeating its local success in other markets.


4. Use your local heritage for global success

Many countries and regions have strong, stereotyped images that can play to inherent qualities associated with certain product categories. Examples include:

  • French perfume
  • Swiss watches
  • Russian Vodka
  • Italian fashion
  • German / American cars 
  • Japanese technology

If your brand has a strong positive association with local culture, traditions or nationality, then use it.

Even if consumers in the new market may be less aware, authenticity and tradition will still be strong sensitivities on which you can build your brand. (Just make sure you check trend levels before choosing the new countries into which you want to launch!)


5. Understand the category

Many companies get their roll-out strategy wrong because they look at geographical or linguistic proximity, rather than the closeness of the customers’ social sensitivities or behaviours.

When planning product roll-outs, consider how alike the customers are in terms of behaviour, as well as the category trends, compared to the home market.

So, there you have the five rules to increase your chances of succeeding as you roll out brands into new markets. Many companies have effectively launched successful local brands into new countries in the region, if not around the world. But many more have failed.

What would you add to the above list to increase the odds in favour of a regional or global roll-out? I would love to hear your own thoughts in the comments below.

And if you would like help in maximising your chances of business expansion, whether regionally or globally, book time in my agenda so we can discuss your opportunities.