by Dan Purvis
Any business that experiences growth at home, looks further afield to expand their success. Expanding into global markets presents different challenges and approaches that work for one company may not work for another. Considering localization as a key factor for global growth is essential and businesses looking to grow need to dedicate time, energy and capital to truly knowing the areas they are hoping to expand into.
Most companies looking to expand into new markets want to boost their sales and have identified a market in which they can see the potential for growth. This can be a fine balance to achieve, as you need to ensure you keep current, loyal customers on side while impressing and persuading customers in the new region.
It is not uncommon for some businesses to find their global growth outstrips their success at home, but this doesn’t mean you can simply abandon the customers who first ensured your business was a success.
New customers, growing revenue and positioning yourself as a global brand are all attractive prospects but success requires strong local knowledge and a commitment to changing and adapting your marketing strategies to the locale in question.
There are many strong examples of global expansion and market expansion into new areas. From some of the world’s largest corporations to firms on a smaller level, it is possible to see unique and varied approaches to international expansion. Below is a closer look at exactly how businesses are able to work in different ways to grow in new markets.
Apple shows its value to China
The fraught relationship between China and the USA in recent times can make it hard to see how such a large well-known American brand can be a success, but their long-term approach and commitment to the country have contributed significantly to their success in this region.
From the development of the world’s biggest iPhone factory to a huge commitment to expansion in the last few years (according to Apple’s own Storefronts tracker), Apple has shown a truly determined and sometimes aggressive approach to being a recognized and popular brand in the country.
China is known for its commitment to its local brands and corporations, yet Apple shocked business experts worldwide by managing to crack the market. Their methods for success split across many areas but included the creation of a premium product, attractive to the growing Chinese middle class with a disposable income allowing them to look for the best in every area of their lives.
Secondly, Apple knew that their formidable marketing machine would not be enough, and so worked with local experts to succeed, signing deals with leading firms such as China Mobile, ensuring they properly understood the Chinese consumer before any targeting even began.
Mobile phone use in China far outstrips televisions and other technology, which was something Apple had to get to grips with and push a mobile-first agenda to succeed and become an indispensable brand in China.
Netflix welcomes local players to woo European customers
The international expansion experienced by TV streaming brand Netflix can be fairly described as astronomical. Available in over 190 countries, with penetration levels varying from nation to nation, Netflix has committed to treating each of its new regions as a brand new customer.
Described uniquely by one Harvard Business Review writer as “exponential globalization”, Netflix take an entirely original approach to their global development. Their approach has led to general marketing approaches changing worldwide, with engagement and on-demand marketing becoming the norm in many sectors.
Key to Netflix’s success is being primed to combat those determined to thwart their success and a real focus and commitment on the desires of their regional customers. Looking at the case of their battle against VPNs using their content, the company’s technological professionals are always finding ways to avoid the free use of their content. Many popular VPNs are able to circumvent Netflix’s US-only content, while others such as F Secure Freedom limit users’ access to Netflix altogether, which is showing how the company is working hard to ensure the premium value of their service is protected.
As the company grows they have worked to push their position in different nations and utilized the most skilled professionals from different regions to boost their chances of success.
To attract new markets, Netflix plays into what people know. Their growth since 2010 has been remarkable but not all at once. They started small, stepping over the northern border into Canada, launching with Canadian-produced content as well as their popular US programming.
By moving slowly, first into nations that had similarities to themselves, they were able to internationalize their brand without any extreme moves.
Its push into Europe has also been spotlighted with a commitment to spending in European productions, with $1bn promised to Europe-only developments in mid-2018. The interesting thing to note about this commitment was that they didn’t just opt for English-language productions, showing their understanding of other nations wanting and expecting new content in their own languages too.
The launch of their UK production hub at Shepperton Studios further cemented their commitment to European customers, increasing both trust and commitment and loyalty in customers in the UK and Europe.
Avigilon Corporation expands with a permanent global outlook
Not every business can start with a commitment to expand around the globe, but those that do, often see their success fast-tracked. A strong example of this is HD video surveillance brand Avigilon Corporation.
In discussing his business and its growth, the company’s owner laid out how he always knew and intended his Canadian-formed company to be a global brand. From the beginning a detailed and well-crafted plan of exactly how the company would penetrate the global economy, and in time, they were selling their products in over 80 different countries.
A global outlook from day one was essential for this brand. They also smartly worked in a similar way to Netflix, targeting the least challenging markets first, allowing for the generation of more capital and access to more experienced experts when the time comes to tackle harder markets. EU companies should look to other EU countries to expand into before looking to North America, for example, and vice versa.
One step at a time for global expansion
Knowing you want to take your business into new markets around the globe is just the first step. Many businesses have this desire but enacting it is a very different process. Dominating on a global scale takes time and a real commitment to understanding each consumer and regional segment is about so much more than simply turning up with your “strong brand” and showing customers why you believe in it.
You need to consider language, local competition and recognizing that the customers aren’t already primed to want what your business offers, you need to tailor or even re-package it to suit their needs and expectations. Any business which has a true commitment to global expansion and an outlook to match will invest in the right places and people to ensure this success.