I always had the good fortune to work for prestigious companies that had exceptional reputations in the global market. Nevertheless, I learned early on in my career that prestige only goes so far, and it must be accompanied by a value that allows your customer to justify paying more for the product.
That justification seems to be based on three factors:
What you promise to your customer
How much they believe that you can carry out your promise
What their experience has been in dealing with your company so far
When your customer is located abroad, these factors acquire a different connotation and additional importance. For starters, they are more difficult to satisfy than customers from the United States and require a local source to provide support. Another thing to consider is that, in order to maintain the positive perception of your brand, you must keep up with expectations that may change due to the local business culture.
Take the differences between doing business in Japan as compared to Italy, for example. I had to learn the hard way that in Japan, there are many layers of contacts to be developed; many more details to be addressed; and much more time spent waiting patiently before being able to meet with the decision-makers and getting to a point when you finally may be asked to present a proposal and negotiate an order. In Italy, reaching out to your potential customer can be done much more directly, and finding out if there is potential for your product turns out to be a much faster process. At the same time, however, doing so requires you to work simultaneously on the three aforementioned factors through a local source, ensuring that you can deliver on those promises by your customer's terms, rather than by yours. I was able to do so by having established great partnerships with local individuals and organizations that functioned as our representatives and acted as an extension of my team back in the United States, preserving the integrity of our brand.
Here are three actions you can take that will enhance your branding process in international markets:
Develop a webpage in the language of your market. Give it a country-specific domain name, and make it reside at a local host. This way, you maximize the search speed for your brand and it improves your ranking with the search engine.
Work with a marketing company in your target country to make sure that the content of your message is compatible with the local business culture.
And leaving the best for last: Call on AMT to guide you through a winning branding process. AMT has the expertise to take you through the process and help you sustain continuous growth in sales in those markets.
This is the second in a series of articles dedicated to sharing strategies for entering and conducting manufacturing technology business in international markets. Read the first in this series, “How To Determine If There’s an International Market for Your Product.”
Mario C. Winterstein, CEO at International Business Development Group, Inc., writes “Mario’s Global Beat” for AMT. Fluent in six languages, Winterstein is a business and international trade strategist in marketing, sales, and service support management for the metal-working industry. His career spans 34 years in planning, implementing, and managing international marketing, sales, service organizations, and starting “green-field” manufacturing plants. He is a member of the D.C.-Virginia District Export Council (DEC) – duly appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. He lives and works in Herndon, Virginia.
If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please contact Mario Winterstein at email@example.com.