When expanding a product or service from one market to another, especially across different cultures, several precautions need to be taken in order to create brand and product awareness.

Does your product fit the same needs?

During my time abroad, I had the opportunity to listen to Andrej Murdas and Barbora Kratochvilova who work in the marketing department of Procter & Gamble. They told us of several challenges they faced when trying to take the P&G product “Safeguard” to Sub-Sahara Africa. Here, in the U.S., we primarily use Safeguard soap as hand soap. In their new African markets, people didn’t have different types of soap for specific purposes. Instead, soap was used for all types of washing: handwashing, bathing, clothes-washing, and it was even used as deodorant.

Safeguard wasn’t selling in their African markets. P&G hadn’t expressed to the people Safeguard can in fact fit all those needs. If your target market is unaware of how your product can serve them, your base of soon-to-be-consumers will quickly dwindle. Make sure the audience is fully aware their needs will me met.

Is your message lost in translation?

After you establish the product has the ability to meet the consumer’s needs, it is crucial your marketing efforts are translated properly. This doesn’t mean typing your slogan into Google Translator and then copying and pasting what the internet tells you. Check out these brands and see how well it worked for them.

Instead, you need to do your research. Make sure you understand the clear definitions of the words you are translating. To minimize any hiccups that might occur, it would be best to have a person translate the message for you, preferably a native speaker. For more translation tips, please check out Freedman International, a global marketing company.

 Culture affects the promotional mix

We, as marketers, need to firmly understand the culture of our new market in order to promote our product in the most effective way.

The United States is a very individualized culture, where as countries in Africa thrive off of community.

This is key to know for commercial advertising! Americans know when commercials come on the TV we will be informed of a product or service, and many times that is when we tune out to stop listening. We already know someone somewhere wants us to buy something. However, when I first watched commercials from other countries, I noticed how much their culture determines the advertisements. African culture is composed of stories, vibrant colors, community, and often dancing. So, this is what is incorporated into their TV commercials as well, just watch this Pepsi commercial . 



There are many more factors which need to be included and considered when expanding outside of your home market, but identifying the need-set, translation, and understanding culture are some of the most fundamental and crucial challenges that need to be met.


What else do you think is important to be considered when going outside your borders? Share with us in the comments below.

For more tips and strategies, follow @mcconnellanna


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