If you're reading this, our best guess is that your brand is doing well. Congratulations! And probably you're ready to grow outside the Geographical Limits - moving to another city, state, country or continent. This goes without saying that before finalising your next business location, you should have enough Customer and Market Understanding. And once you've finalised the location, you should be taking the following steps to make your brand a success in new markets.
1. Standardisation and Consistency
When you're expanding to new geographies, the most important thing is standardisation of Brand Experience. It doesn't matter whether you're a Retail Champion, a Restauranteur, a Fashion Label Owner, or a Service Provider. You stand for something today and you've spent time and energy in getting there. When you expand to new location, your Brand should continue to stand for the same Promise. Have the same taste in your Restaurant, same fragrance, lighting and ambience in your retail store, and same Business Values, Ethics and Principles. This is critically important and hence it is Numero Uno on our list.
2. Localisation Strategy
While expanding, staying consistent and bringing in Brand's own legacy is important. But, Brands should also adapt themselves to the local markets. This is best implemented in the Food Industry. Mc Donalds remodels and alters its menu for each country. Starbucks couldn't sell lot of coffee in China (because it is a tea-loving country). This led them to create a menu specific for that country - with loads of tea on offer. This applies to you too - no matter what your business.
This may appear dichotomous. Hire a Branding Expert to strike the right balance between "what to continue" and "what to change". In India, "Bata" - the Footwear Retail Brand is perceived so Indian, that now we have hard time believing it is an international brand, that too from Europe. Hyper-Localisation can ruin the Brand Imagery. And so does Franchise Model without strict Guidelines. Here, an outsider's POV is paramount. Branding agencies have best understanding of market and customers. Write to us if you're looking at entering Asian markets.
3. Distribution and Reach
Distribution is important for Product Brands. For a Product Brand to be successful, it needs to have significant reach in the new Geography. Customers should be aware of the Brand, what it offers and how it is different. So, in addition to the robust Supply Chain Management, you should also have good Communication Budget to announce your entry into the Market. You could do this with extensive Social Media Engagements also.
4. Research and Penetration
Once you're in the new market, you should continue to Research on the Trends, Beliefs, Aspirations of the new Market. The impulses & triggers to purchase a Product or buy into a Brand differs every 250 miles. When you introduce a Product specifically for new Markets, the Consumers are pleased. We often see this in car Market when country-specific Models are launched. They are very often successful, and are based on their Research and understanding of the Market needs. But, you could do it in any Category. Leverage your Brand, capitalise on your strengths and live upto your Brand Promise.