When Global Market Entry Strategies Hit a Cultural Hang-Up

It’s every company’s worst nightmare. You’re thinking: “I’ve prepared global market entry strategies for each country and locale. I’ve gone to the trouble of localizing my website. I think I’m prepared for every scenario.” And then wham! You’re hit with a cultural snafu that reflects poorly on your brand.

While many companies move rather easily into international markets, other companies stumble a bit out of the gate when they first start rolling out their products and services in international markets.

The Language Barrier: More Than Just Words

When many companies begin their global expansion and market penetration efforts, an important market that represents a large amount of online spending power is Japan. However, Japanese translation simply isn’t enough — this market is keenly aware of content and brands that do not sound local. Therefore, global market entry strategies should actually be local market entry strategies, since there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to breaking into a new country or market.

Even when a website featues Japanese content, unless the site is properly localized to account for cultural differences, locals in Japan are likely to complain that the site feels “too American” and that the translation doesn’t “sound right.”

To avoid getting off to a bumpt start, companies must take greater care and follow steps to work with the local community to make the local version of their site feel disparate from its American counterpart. This includes changing things such as layout, functionality, and even search results to appeal to how consumers use their products and services differently in other regions. This type of deep localization is a great way to make even the most complex products relevant to users in different international markets.

Making Localization Work for You

When global companies don’t take localization into account, the results can be less than ideal. However, aglobal market entry and positioning strategy does not have to be so problematic. Localization provides opportunities for businesses to speak to an international audience in a way that makes them feel like they are a valued part of their global presence, instead of just a segment that only needs raw, translated text.

Taking local preferences and culture into account is a huge part of making an international business successful as it expands into other territories. It is vital if you try to build up an enthusiastic community around your brand. As you translate your website into other languages and get a feel for the culture and local language usage in the territories in which you are trying to expand, the stage is set for the network to grow its global presence in the same way Facebook and Twitter have.

Are you ready to expand your global presence and speak to an international audience? Learn more about how translation software can help and present your business with unique opportunities for growth.

Image source: Flickr


About Amanda Kondolojy

Amanda Kondolojy is a full time freelance writer with a passion for language and technology. She loves to travel and enjoys trading pins with locals, wherever she goes!