Seven Best Practices for Promoting Your Brand Overseas

By Pamela Ghosal

These days, "think global, act local" applies to a lot more than environmental initiatives. It's an overarching principle guiding today's most successful enterprises. From a marketing perspective, getting the word out about products is essential to your success, but each market is different, and marketers must tailor their promotion strategy to the local culture.

Strong promotions in a new market start with research into local cultural context and then leverage the resulting insights into a strong localization strategy that focuses on adapting content to the target market beyond just translating the words. Localization considers the new market's culture, customs and values to ensure a brand's content and experiences appeal to the target audience.

Here are some best practices for promoting your product in foreign markets, with localization as your guiding light.

Invest in transcreation for the most creative content

Transcreation is the process of adapting creative content, such as marketing collateral, ad campaigns and taglines, to a new cultural context while maintaining the original intent and style. It's not only about linguistics but also about emotions and culture. Transcreators usually come into the picture when you need to adapt the most creative elements of a piece of content: They might customize slogans, jokes and even emojis to be culturally relevant in each local market. Compared to translators, who start from text in the source language, transcreators start from a creative brief that includes ideas and concepts that the text should trigger.

Leverage international SEO

International SEO requires a thorough strategy that starts with some market research to define which audiences may be interested in your product and find out what's important to them. Next comes competitor research, which will help you find new opportunities, especially if your competitors are not currently optimizing their content for your target market. To be successful in SEO, you need to take care of its three key aspects: technical, off-page and on-page. A holistic approach that considers all of them simultaneously is essential to get better visibility.

Launch introductory offers in each market

Promotions and introductory offers should be used to your advantage when you enter new markets. If done right, an introductory offer can increase brand awareness and create a solid customer base that will stay with you even after the promotion ends. Beware, though: Each culture has a different relationship with money and gift-giving, so make sure you don't come across as cheap or ungenerous. Do your research to find out what's appropriate in each case.

Partner with local companies

One of the best ways to enter a new market is by partnering with a local company that already has a good reputation there. This can help you get your foot in the door and start building trust with potential customers. In most cases, it's best to partner with a company that complements your business rather than competes with it.

Work with influencers

Influencers in the territory of focus can be a powerful force in promoting your product to a new audience. In most cases, it's recommended to start off working with micro-influencers, who have fewer followers but are more engaged with their audience. Micro-influencers usually have a high level of trust with their followers, which can translate into sales for you. To find the right influencers to work with, start by looking at who's already talking online about your type of product. There are many tools on the market that can help you track mentions of your brand, keywords or competitors in media such as blog posts or in questions asked in forums.

Collect local reviews and testimonials

While you can always start off by translating and republishing the reviews and testimonials you already have, it's also a good idea to try to get new ones from customers in each target market. You can do this by asking customers to leave a review on your website, social media page or a popular local review site. You can also offer discounts or other incentives in exchange for reviews.

Create local content

Content marketing has the power to attract new customers, build trust and establish your brand as an authority in your industry. It's an essential part of any marketing strategy, and it's especially important when you're expanding into new markets. The key is to make sure the content — be it blog posts, infographics, videos or even just social media posts — is relevant and useful to your target audience.

Ultimately, the key to marketing a product globally is implementing an effective localization strategy that considers the needs and preferences of each target market. By understanding the local culture and creating relevant content, you can connect with potential customers on an emotional level and promote your product more effectively.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Pamela Ghosal is the global head of brand and communications at Phrase.