So your business has been going really well domestically, and the C-suite think it's time to take it up a notch. You're going to expand into a foreign market.
This is an amazing opportunity for any communication professional, but there are a lot of intricacies when it comes to creating a PR campaign for a whole new country. This is especially the case if your company's decided to expand into the growing Asian market, which can be difficult to understand. Here's some things to consider when you devise your global communication strategy.
1) Don't try to conquer the world at once
Don't assume neighbouring countries will reach to campaigns in the same way.
It's all too easy to get ahead of yourself when your company announces it's going to expand. Devising a communication strategy for one new country is difficult enough, let alone creating a campaign that will work in several. It's much better to drill down into one area, create a solid reputation and customer base over there, and then, when your brand is sufficiently established, expand into the countries surrounding it.
When you do eventually decide to go into another area, don't assume that just because two countries are neighbours they'll react to your communication campaigns in the same way. It's important to understand and treat each country differently.
2) Do your research
Campaigns that work at home might tank abroad. Even when countries seem to have similar cultures, subtle differences in language and humour mean you really need to understand your market before you start communicating. The more research you do before you expand, the better. Ask people what sort of communication strategies they respond to, and talk to PR firms in the area to find out how they do things differently.
The more research you do before you expand, the better.
Make sure you understand local customs. Don't try and get everyone to come to an event during Ramadan, for example, if you're expanding into a predominantly Muslim country. Remember to work with a PR firm that's able to properly translate your messages into another language. We've all seen funny signs on the internet when the translation hasn't quite hit the mark, and you don't want your brand to become a laughing stock.
It's important to make yourself relevant. There might be a huge market for some products in your own country, but people's needs and priorities differ abroad, so be aware of this before you plan which products to push.
Nailing a communication strategy in a foreign country can be even more rewarding than getting it right at home. Just make sure you do your research, stay relevant, and don't take on too much. For more communication tips, visit our Insights page.