How to Make a National Brand an International Success

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Developing a successful brand name is no easy feat. When it’s time to expand globally, the obstacles only get tougher. How difficult is it to transition from nationally recognized to internationally renowned? How do you make your brand successful in unfamiliar lands and across seas? Here’s our brief guide on making it happen:

Divide and Conquer

Begin by setting realistic expectations. Treat each new territory as you would any new market. The key is to take time to adjust to each new market individually, and avoid casting a wide one-size-fits-all net. That’s not to say a brand shouldn’t market in different nations simultaneously. What works in one market may completely fail in the next.

Target Research

Before even thinking about strategy, learn everything you can about your new consumer. Cultural differences can be game changers; possibly changing the demographic your brand should be targeting. Values, social norms and religious beliefs will play a huge role in the planning phase. If verbiage and imagery are not carefully tailored to the new target consumer, you may inadvertently subject your brand to ridicule or accidentally say something offensive with your messaging.

For instance, Gerber kept the image of its smiley baby on their jars and packages when they entered the African market.  Only later did they realize, as a result of the low African literacy rate, many companies in Africa used pictures on labels to denote what’s inside.

Speak the Language

The language barrier is the most obvious obstacle when expanding internationally. Even still, it may be more challenging than you think. In fact, a number of languages may be spoken in a single country, and as a new brand, you’ll have to figure out which languages to market to and decide if adapting your messaging to all of them is the smarter move.

One word in a certain language, when translated, may have a completely different meaning in another. For example, Coors Brewing slogan “Turn it loose” when converted to Spanish means, “Suffer from diarrhea.” You may recall the widely known translation-gone-wrong fiasco in which Chevy entered its Chevy Nova into the Spanish market only later to realize that no va translates into “it doesn’t go.”

When globalizing your marketing efforts, speed bumps along the way are just part of the process. Despite this, developing an international brand and opening your products and services to a seemingly infinite new number of customers will almost always be worth the effort.

Ready to take on the world? We can help. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to provide marketing strategies through print, web, social media and video productionall in-house. At Appleton, we want to learn about your business, empower your marketing team and be your creative resource. Your marketing goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or

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