Going for international growth? What does that mean for your brand?

female entrepreneur, women in business

By Heidi Arkinstall, Chief Marketing Officer, G-P

In any growing business focused on international expansion, effective marketing leaders must understand that they need to draw on the experience and guidance of a team of experts to ensure their brand thrives in each new region.

Hiring the right people is key, but once part of the team, they must be empowered to do their jobs and be given the resources they need to succeed.

In common with other marketing activities across the board, brand development is data-driven. As a result, organisations should carry out regular audits of their marketing tech stack to ensure that the services and apps they have in place are meeting their needs. In particular, are they providing the right datasets in a timely manner so that the marketing team can assess crucial issues such as brand perception and industry trends? As a result, is the team building the right insights for the brand in particular and the business in general? And finally, is the organisation making use of new and innovative tools emerging across the marketing/communications industry?

With all this in place, the marketing leader must trust their team to do their job. This means letting go of any preconceptions that they always have the best feeling for how to tackle a problem or overcome a challenge. This philosophy should be applied across the entire marketing function – doing so will help ensure that both directors and managers can empower their colleagues.

What are your top three tips to help ensure brand strategy succeeds when expanding abroad?

  1. Focus on the customers: In recent years, the world has changed significantly, and good marketers are always prepared to re-consider the ways they reach potential customers, from the channels where they engage with them, to the content they consume. They should focus on how these audiences feel about the company’s brand values and messaging, and marketers have to be in a position to understand how emerging trends and behaviours can impact their approach.
  2. Evolve the brand message: On a regular basis, every marketer should take a close look at their messaging and decide whether it is time to re-think or refresh the approach based on both internal and external stakeholder expectations. This work should be based on data-driven insight – from sentiment and share of voice to perception studies.
  3. If something isn’t working, change it. In companies everywhere, marketers are being asked to do more with less. But doing “more” shouldn’t always be defined by the volume of activities undertaken, but focused on outcomes. For example, many marketers fall into the trap of executing low ROI activities, because “that’s what we’ve always done”. The trouble is that this often means they struggle to find resources and funding to try to implement new approaches or experiment with innovative ideas. Instead, marketers should look to challenge themselves by examining the entire marketing function and focusing on effective brand development within each country they operate.

Today’s marketers are working during a very exciting time, not least because the digital transformation seen across the marketing ecosystem in recent years has provided more access to data and insight than ever before. From a brand perspective, this gives organisations the chance to understand how the world views them like never before, and it’s an opportunity they should embrace.

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