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Global Marketing

Avoiding Global Branding Mistakes

If you have decided to take your brand global, then there are a few things to greatly consider beforehand in order to avoid major international marketing mistakes. There have been many instances where companies choose to take a specific product or message international but it ends up failing.

A couple of examples of these types of mistakes include:

American Motors: In the 1970s, they named one of their cars the Matador without realizing that the word “matador” in Spanish translates to the word “killer.” It is easy to say that this name was not particularly appealing to people in Spanish speaking countries.

Ford: When Ford entered Belgium, they wanted to highlight the car's excellent manufacturing so they launched a campaign that was supposed to say “Every car has a high-quality body.” However, once it was translated it actually said, “Every car has a high-quality corpse. Not really the idea you want to put into your customers' heads.

KFC: When KFC opened its first restaurant in China in the 1980s, they wanted to continue to use their famous slogan “Finger-lickin' good.” However, once translated, their motto turned into “Eat your fingers off.” This mistake did not hurt KFC too severely as it now has more than 5,000 restaurants all throughout China.

Here are a few tips to ensure that you do not follow in these awful footsteps:

  1. Identify who you are targeting with your marketing strategy and modify it accordingly. You will need to consider language, culture, visuals, gestures, and trends.
  2. Localize your content instead of directly translating the language. Localization for each country or region is crucial to communicate nuance, which is often the basis of positioning and taglines.
  3. Consider the medium of communication when creating a global marketing strategy. Knowing which social media platform to use, for example, is essential when trying to reach a specific international audience.
  4. Cross-reference your campaign with local experts before promoting it. This step will help to gain greatly needed insider oversight and feedback.
  5. Observe successful marketing ads in your target country. This could be a great tactic to help ensure efficiency for your brand in that market.

By following these essential steps, when deciding to go global, you can help lower the risk of failure. Not every market will be the same, but your ability to customize and adapt is what will ensure success no matter where you enter next.