One of the best indicators that a brand is doing really well is if it is able to expand into different countries and tap into foreign markets. If a brand performs well in the United States, then it pretty much establishes it as a global brand.
However, before that happens, one should be aware that success isn’t easily achieved in the US market. It is somehow a tricky market to navigate and many foreign brands have already failed in their attempts at penetrating it.
Cultural Differences Matter to the Bottom Line
Just because we’re already living in the digital age doesn’t mean that the world is already one community with low to zero cultural differences. The internet may have made the world a bit smaller in terms of becoming a truly global community but each country still has its own unique cultural characteristics that translate into businesses and the workplace.
We may all have a better understanding of our differences, but that doesn’t get rid of the fact that most of these affect the way we do business with each other. Culture impacts businesses in several ways, from the way a company looks at risk-taking to managing employees with bail bonds for immigration to its operations.
Contrary to what most people think, running a business — including branching out internationally — is more than just maintaining sound business practices and making a profit. Companies wishing to expand to the U.S. market should understand that to succeed in this endeavor, they need to learn how to marry their culture with the American culture, including values, principles, and priorities.
Important Things Foreign Brands Should Know First Before Penetrating the U.S. Market
For any brand that wishes to penetrate the U.S. market, a lot of research and studying need to be done. Here are some of the things they should do:
Take time to know and understand the market
Technology has allowed us to come a long way. It has helped bridge gaps culturally between countries. However, it still doesn’t take away the fact that we still have significant differences that affect our business practices.
One of the main things that make the U.S. market different from everyone else is this: the consumers now have the power. If retailers were the ones who dictated the market before, the internet has given the customers the power to make their voices and choices heard. Anyone looking to penetrate the U.S. market should take this into consideration and know and understand their target market’s temperaments, behaviors, and preferences.
Make your brand easily accessible to the market
Accessibility is quite easy now given how powerful a tool the internet is today. Almost everything can be found and accessed online, including vital information about different brands. However, accessibility doesn’t just mean ease of access. It also entails that anyone who looks for you online should understand what you’re all about. This means having the ability to communicate clearly, utilizing different marketing strategies (influencer marketing, discounts and promotions, content marketing, etc.), and positioning yourself as an industry expert. These things help build customer confidence and trust in foreign brands.
Know what your audience is all about
While targeting all types of consumers is great and all, you need to zoom in on your specific target market, the ones your products are made for. Understand their spending habits and psychological profiles. For instance, several researchers have found that Millennials and Gen Z are more inclined to spend their money on purchases that they believe make a difference in people’s lives. Knowing how your target market thinks can help you make the transition into a US market a lot easier and get a higher chance of succeeding.
Get the basics right
In any case, there will be benefits and challenges of doing business in the U.S. Performing your due diligence will help you make the wisest decisions based on the information and data you gather. This could cover a wide range of business operational concerns such as shipping and fulfillment, meeting US safety guidelines for product testing, appropriate packaging, and sampling among others. Take a close look at the different successful foreign brands in the US and their business models. Learn from their successes and mistakes and apply them to your business.
Expanding internationally is always an exciting thing. It brings about plenty of great opportunities if it is done right. And while the US market is very different from other markets, if a brand can pull it off and succeed, it will make expanding to other countries a lot easier.