How to Effectively Navigate Cultural Differences in International Business
The decision to do business overseas is a considerable and measured project that takes detailed planning and precision. Once a location is chosen, there are many aspects to consider before introducing your product or service.
Facing cultural challenges in international business and discovering the impact of culture on the business environment are important aspects to investigate when developing your international expansion strategy.
So, what does it take to strategically navigate the cultural differences of your new target audience?
Research the New Culture
Doing thorough research on the target consumer’s culture is the MOST important activity when expanding internationally.
Get to know your target customer by researching relevant demographics for your product or service. This includes aspects like education level, income level, employment status, age, gender, religion, and other factors.
Consider how these traits will relate to what you are selling, and how your product or service provides a solution to a specific problem this consumer has.
Just because your marketing strategy is successful in one market, does NOT mean the same message will be successful in a different country and culture.
Messages must be customized for each new market depending on the demographics. That is why you must research thoroughly to fully understand your consumer.
Starbucks failed to recognize Australian’s love of local mom and pop coffee shops when it entered the Australian market. It had been successful in so many countries, why would Australia be any different?
Enjoying a morning brew at a local, unique coffee shop is an important part of the Australian culture. And Starbucks received that message at great cost when they had to close 61 of its 85 shops in the country.
If Starbucks had done thorough research on Australian’s culture surrounding coffee, it could have avoided such an expensive mistake.
Start project by partnering with language service provider
Too often, businesses think of hiring business translation service providers as an afterthought in an international expansion project. This is a costly mistake that can easily be avoided by partnering with a language service provider (LSP) at the beginning of the project.
Experienced LSPs know how to navigate the cultural intricacies of entering a new market and will help you tailor your company’s message to your target audience.
When businesses wait to get professional translation services until the end of a project, it can cost more to adapt the new language.
For example, there can be significant text expansion or reduction when translating between certain languages. This text volume change affects the look of your content during website localization, and on marketing pieces.
If you partner with a LSP at the start of the project, this text volume difference will be considered BEFORE designing marketing and website templates.