Businesses have literally one opportunity to get it right in today’s fast-moving global economy. With their product. With their service. And especially, with their messaging. Make the wrong first impression, and your target audience may never come back. It’s imperative, therefore, that a company’s messaging evolve as its geographic footprint expands from one geography into another. Here are a few things to think about as that takes place:
Think Globally – Companies should think about collecting media assets from all of their sales geographies from day one. As you begin to build a repository of video, photos, logos and other imagery from around the world, be imaginative about what you can do with it. Suddenly, you have the tools, the raw material, to tell a global story. To give people a glimpse of what your company is like on a global basis. Let the backgrounds, work environments, language accents, and style of dress of people help to tell your company’s story. It will be a rich experience that will pay huge dividends over time.
Coordinate with agencies and freelancers on the ground in all of your sales geographies – As midsize businesses grow into larger organizations they begin operating in multiple time zones and crossing geographical lines. They suddenly find themselves involved with PR agencies, freelance writers, and other marketing assets whom they might never meet face to face. It’s key that they dedicate experienced resources to manage these assets on a global basis ensuring that they are on the same page and working towards the same goals. Don’t leave these assets out there doing their own thing. Make sure you give them direction.
Make sure everyone is on the same page – Once you have the bully pulpit established (presumably it’s a monthly video call of some type, perhaps through GotoMeeting or Skype), be sure that all members of your team are working towards the same goal. Example: when working for one company, I began to notice how articulate and business savvy the members of their partner organization were. So I began shooting video interviews with them at partner meetings, and I encouraged my counterparts in EMEA and APAC to do the same. Suddenly we had this repository of incredible partner interviews. When analysts starting asking more and more about our partner channel, I quickly put together the three videos that you see on this page. In one fell swoop, the company was able to give analysts an inside look at its partners in North America, EMEA, and APAC.
Acknowledge cultural differences and language idiosyncrasies – Businesses headquartered in the European Union (EU) and Asia Pacific (APAC) region are increasingly looking to introduce or expand their operations into the United States. This requires having a working knowledge of the business, political, and cultural landscape in order for all marketing activities and communications to be on target. That means understanding the difference between American, British, and Australian English. Recognizing how politics, pop culture, and certain brands work their way into the vocabulary (example: how “Kleenex” and “Bathroom Tissue” have become synonymous in the United States). And recognizing the necessity of working with native-born writers and agencies to ensure that your company message is properly received by the target audience. There is no substitute for having a native-speaker who grew up in your target geography to call upon. Otherwise you run the risk of your communications being not quite right, and creating the perception that the vendor is not fully immersed in a particular geography.
Maintain strong ties with global headquarters – Maybe it’s the CMO. VP of Marketing. Or Director of PR & Analyst Relations. Whoever you have leading your-field based assets around the world, be sure that they are fully plugged into the organization. They need to know about upcoming product releases, corporate events, directives from the CEO, etc. They in turn can pass along those priorities to the global team. If the senior people that you have managing these assets aren’t based at corporate headquarters, it would probably be a good idea to have them visit HQ once or twice a year so that they are always seeing the big picture.