Things SMEs Need to Think About Before Going Global
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that become overwhelmingly successful as online business models soon find themselves on the cusp of global retail attention once their products/services/brands begin to get the attention of consumers worldwide. Although it would take a considerable amount of major financial backing and restructuring for SMEs to be capable of expanding to turn whatever they have into global brands, their owners still need to set their eyes on future growth along such thought.
Change of perspective
Business owners and their marketers would have to take on a new and bigger perspective of business that takes into consideration a divergent lot of variables that characterize global markets, cultures, lifestyles and buying habits. To be precise, successful small companies contemplating global expansion need to be aware of new retail sociology for global brand marketing.
New business sociological order
Selling to a wider global market involves an eagle-eyed analysis and intuitive deciphering of how buying habits change from one region of the world to another. A strong multicultural awareness about how people from various cultures have separate sets of belief systems, customs, laws, religions and creeds and business practices need to be focus of attention. Both as business people and consumers, people from various parts of the world are expected to behave, perceive, emote, relate or resonate differently products, services and brands. SMEs about to foray into the international retail scene therefore need to develop the global business culture that recognizes the following:
- Variable customer behavior. Although there will be buying trends that could prove universal, do not expect this to necessarily apply to whatever you offer. Buying preferences vary from region to region. Some business models translate to locations they get transplanted to more favorably than others depending on how much prior research business people and marketers do. It pays to study buying habits present in consumers in various regions across the world so that retail execution becomes knowledge-based and subsequently strategic.
- Brand positioning options. Brands that fare well at home owing to their strategic positioning in alignment with niche market behavior and preferences might not always fare as well when positioned in niches or consumer groups elsewhere. Some countries may find certain retail items or brands irrelevant owing to cultural constraints, weather conditions, or laws currently in force. Alcoholic beverage brands would be impossible to market in countries where such are banned, for example.
- The language factor. Brand names sometimes encounter difficulties in countries where the brand name itself connotes a negative idea, and therefore difficult to market. A gaming venue chain by the name of “Tredici,” for example, sounds welcoming in Italy and could enjoy a lot of patronage back there owing to the native Italian belief about the number 13 being lucky. That doesn’t apply however to the rest of the world where the number 13 connotes bad luck. It would be advisable for brand names to evoke a universally positive vibe so that it translates well anywhere in the world.
- Make it bigger in scope. Companies need not limit their retail scope or brand essence to a lone product or service when trying to court a wide variety of global markets. The buying behavior diversity factor applies on this one so the more products and services that your brand could offer, the bigger the chances of you stumbling upon a regional bestseller this part of the world and another totally different retail item success a continent away. Apply the same idea to your online presence.
- Protect intellectual property and trademarks. A global brand that achieves global success would inevitably have to deal with unscrupulous companies or people trying to cash in on the retail success via bogus merchandise, pirated goods, or services that misrepresent themselves as your brands. You need to have legal guidance on this so that the right patents and trademark protections are put in place.
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