The risks of going international with your products: part one

How to be a winner on the global stage


Does a business have to go international to be a success? Not quite, but to become bigger? Then yes, a business has to go international. The world is a large place, with different people and markets. For a business to grow exponentially in today’s shaky economy, it must dive into international waters (literally & figuratively). It simply offers more opportunity for success. However, there’s a greater chance to fail.

It’s important for every business to have a successful brand. Going global is a surefire way to make that happen, as it puts the brand in a different light, essentially repositioning it, like a satellite circling earth. Ultimately, having a local and global brand is crucial. While there is much opportunity for growth and profit with a more expansive playing field, there are risks associated with going global.

To be a winner on the global stage, a business must be diligent and prepared to work very, very hard. There is risk involved with the culture, currency, language and non-payment. The overall advertising strategy must allow for customization, as every city, region and country has its own rules, laws and customs. Without due diligence, a business will certainly be a stranger in a strange land.

Consider the following:

Can you and your business handle working with someone from a different culture? Do you have a basic understanding of the region’s language? Are you willing to learn it? If the answer’s no to these questions, you have no business (pun intended), trying to peddle your products in that area. In the global economy, prejudices don’t work. It’s as simple as that.

Think of it this way:

A business must be capable of organically evolving, free of prejudice, able to roll with the punches and change its advertising strategy on the fly.

Each market is attractive, but it’s attractive in different ways. A company can’t build brand loyalty using the same strategies, the same mediums, in every market. This assumption is the main reason why many businesses fail overseas, as it confuses the company’s message, all while demonstrating cultural ignorance and American prejudices.

By not doing enough research into each market, any medium the company hopes to utilize will be ineffective, and the brand message will become muddled and the products/services ignored. Keep in mind that, as Marshall McLuhan pointed out, the medium is the message. Every market responds to a different medium. If the right amount of research isn’t done, possible failure regarding culture, currency, language and non-payment is amplified.

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