When it comes to global expansion, companies cannot rely solely on previous success in their home market. Bridging the gap between the established and the new can prove challenging. Kettering International helps clients excavate hitch points – such as an unspecified brand – and articulates solutions through well-tested international market entry strategies.
This article is the fifth in a series on the major mistakes that can derail an international market entry project, with an emphasis on the importance of branding. Companies often miss opportunities because they haven’t invested in crafting a voice to speak specifically to their international market. This is a critical component of expansion, particularly with a brand aiming for a U.S. roll out. Kettering International is based out of New York and helps many international businesses, especially tech firms with Australian roots, to establish their place in a wide and open market with tailored branding.
Beginner’s Mindset for Seasoned Tech Enterprise CEOs
So why don’t the accomplishments and processes that bring a CEO to the point of considering U.S. market entry tend to work in implementing that expansion? It seems counterintuitive – and daunting. After all, starting from day one can be a challenge, especially for CEOs who have strong foundations in their home markets.
However, missing this opportunity to re-adjust and re-brand will only hold your company back. The very legacy that roots you in your local client base can block the attention of new customers and contracts. Companies that are willing to adapt and embrace a path forward through the lens of their new home market are more successful in making inroads and achieving results.
Your global expansion is another company’s home market advantage. A shift in place and people, then, requires a mindset shift for resiliency and success.
Key Elements in Rebranding for Global Expansion
Kettering International sits with clients across the tech enterprise market and helps them assess several key touchstones of growth:
- Cohesion. Branding is impactful to the extent that it is cohesive. It begins with a clearly articulated mission and is drawn down to the details. Simply changing an address, or popping up a landing page, is not adaptive marketing for global expansion. The mission, the messaging, and the validation testing for end users are all foundational to a successful launch.
- Education. You, or your partner such as Kettering International, need to research your target market and target client. Are they a good match? Does what you think will work because of your home market experience stand up to what the data shows is probable? Many Australian-based companies, for example, underestimate how large the U.S. market is, and thus fail to recognise that a client in California is entirely different from one in New York. This degree of knowledge and specificity is critical for international market entry strategies to produce a healthy return on investment.
- Teamwork. You need a local team. You can learn from them and collaborate with them to bring your vision to life in a market that’s new to you, but home to them. Partnering locally assures your clients that your new solution has a solid foundation, and that you’re here to stay – from launch through implementation and future growth. Boots on the ground make for more authentic networking and greater longevity in client engagement.
Flexibility is the key to unlocking international market entry success, but that can take a bit of effort. It may require a CEO to pivot in ways they would have never thought possible. The experts at Kettering offer unflinching guidance in navigating these waters, whether that means affirming a good local fit, or informing clients that reluctance to tailor their brand has jeopardised the successful forecast for their proposed international expansion.
The Importance of Branding for Global Expansion
Consider the example of fast food giant McDonald’s. In 1990, the global conglomerate opened its first restaurant in China, and it took off because customers had a penchant for Western-style foods. As China grew more prosperous and interested in fresher foods, McDonald’s lost its allure, says Chen Na from Sixth Tone. Learning from its missed marks in the Chinese market and reluctance to deviate from its reputation as a uniquely Western, rather than an Eastern-centric staple, McDonald’s has now begun to chart a different path forward. They have recently undertaken rebranding efforts to reflect the country’s changing cultural tides, and plan to open half of their “1,900 stores in 2023” in China, per CNBC.
When a business takes on a new or different customer base, it needs to pivot for relevancy and profitability. Kettering International carries with its business acumen an understanding of international cultures and the nuances of branding. Additionally, Kettering builds personnel teams to meet tech enterprise launch experiences with stunning accuracy. At Kettering, we remind our clients that it is a person who will decide whether or not to move forward with your tech firm. A relatable brand voice that speaks to clients’ current needs is as necessary as end user-friendly implementation for a successful global expansion.