It’s no easy feat to bring a global brand into the U.S. market. However, there are strategies that can make the process simpler. If your brand has gained some notoriety on the global sphere (has wide recognition in the country it’s selling in with established logistics and great press coverage), entering the U.S. becomes easier because you may already have business and press ties in place. However, if you’re a smaller brand that’s yet to gain notoriety internationally and you’re looking to step foot into the U.S., there are many things you need to take into consideration. Brands we’ve worked with globally that are looking to launch into the U.S. that are multi-million dollar businesses still need to study what the different consumer psychographics and demographics are when pitching and presenting to this market.
1. Examine the Demographics and Psychographics of the American Consumer.
Your first step should be to start thinking about the demographics and psychographics of the U.S. market customer. This can be difficult to do unless you have an agency or a counterpart here in the U.S. to help you understand the key trends gaining a strong foothold in the market. For instance, we’ve personally noticed advertising that pitches products towards the lifestyles of consumers, rather than just transacting, has been doing really well recently. This means framing a product in such a way that it adds value to the consumer’s life. Keep in mind, however, that international markets are very different from the U.S. market. If you have a brand in India that’s really gained strong dominance and a foothold in that market, but you’re looking to speak to a customer in Germany, you’re going to have to understand what role your product has and what the perceived market value will be before adjusting your messaging accordingly.
2. Develop a Pricing Strategy.
As we look at brands that are huge in other markets, different pricing has different connotations. In the U.S., ask yourself what price point you want and how it helps you service your demographic. If we take a look at global currency and exchange rates, it’s clear the U.S. dollar is stronger in some markets and weaker in others. Similarly, the price points and what they mean in your current domestic market could mean something entirely different when translated into U.S. currency. Ask yourself, “Have I priced myself to have the same kind of brand representation when I convert that pricing? Or does it mean something else?” We’ve noticed some brands entering the U.S. market seek to create diffusion lines. They want to set price points and sell products that are unique and specified for the U.S. market. The way we look at assortment planning and merchandising and the way a price dictates what the perceived value is, is important to communicate. While you may have a luxury product and charge a higher price point in your market, it might be on the lower end of the spectrum when you convert it for the U.S. market. You need to be cautious not to dilute yourself. We’re moving into a more globalized marketplace. E-commerce sites must be able to convert into multiple currencies and commit to considerations such as international shipping. As you plan to reposition and go global, think long and hard about what type of customers you want to capture. What price point is a happy medium between the market’s perceived value of your product and what you want to achieve? Also be sure to build a strong brand value and communications strategy.
3. Research to Uncover the Most Appropriate Platforms.
Platforms are going to vary in different countries. We just finished working on a project for the United Nations targeting the American and Japanese markets. However, these markets have adapted to social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram at different rates. We had to restructure our advertising plan to effectively reach customers in those markets. As you approach the U.S. market, study the demographics you want to target and learn which platforms they use most. You don’t need to be everywhere. You only need to be on one or two platforms that are popular with your demographics and learn how to use them effectively.
4. Revisit Your Communications Strategy.
You may need to take a closer look at your communications strategy and how often you’re producing content. Have a native writer onboard to write copy. This will ensure your content captures the nuances of the language. Also, always make sure the images you use are strong and specific. Your images should capture everything you want to communicate about your brand.
5. Develop Strategic Partnerships.
Develop strategic partnerships with logistics and distribution centers. These are your U.S. counterparts and they’ll assist you with fulfilling your orders. A local customer service rep or team is also worth considering. Make sure their operating hours sync up with when your customers are most likely to call. These partnerships become particularly useful for wholesale deals because local experts will have an easier time managing considerations such as customs and duties. They can make sure product is going from the manufacturer to the U.S. mainland while keeping an eye on process and flow. When you think about wholesale logistics such as chargebacks, discounts or markdowns, having someone in the U.S. who understands that market will be critical.
There are a lot of factors involved when it comes to selling internationally. Ready to take your business to the next level? Download your free copy of “Going Global”, take ample notes and spring into action. We’re so privileged to be able to help companies launch here domestically as well as helping businesses launch and scale internationally. Need support? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.