The Labor Day weekend sealed the last of a series of economic data released to the public over the course of the past month and a half. Almost instantly, it seemed to have a negative impact on people's emotions and confidence. For many industries, and even small companies, aspirations have remained on a global scale: Why stay "king of your street" when you can become king of an empire?
As headlines indicate, the technology industry continues to drive economic recovery, but at a much slower pace than expected and, as consumers expresses their lack of confidence, businesses eye the global markets. Even small businesses are directing their focus overseas in ways in which they would never have been able to do only a few years ago.
When dealing with new audiences, communications should be the first part of an expansion plan as it is the most practical and most important. From personal experience, going global is totally doable. But, you will need an understanding of smaller local markets; whether it is an understanding of food, culture, or politics, it's doable. Communication skills and global attitude will attract attention and generate leads that will materialize into business. On your way to "going global" here are a few key points to consider:
Make your PR global: Public relations serves you by reaching out to different audiences. There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution. Your PR firm should tailor messages around your offered services or most appealing angle while creating different "tunes" that new audience will channel into. A paper in London will not necessarily publish the same story that you placed in a New York City publication or a major online outlet in Frankfurt. Understanding key unique characteristics of target locations will benefit both branding and positioning efforts.
Internal Communications for External Gains: It is vital to communicate internally to employees and constituents. They should be "brought aboard" through welcoming messages and sharing some of your positive intentions. First, it will alleviate any potential anxieties or uncertainties. Second, it will help dispel harmful rumors about the future or tensions that can radiate outside the workplace. In addition, your internal communications can actually jump-start the generation of creative ideas by employees. The more experienced ones in your company are capable of taking what they do best and catering that skill to new markets.
Try out your new market: One of the greatest benefits of our time is the low-cost methods available to try new business initiatives. Communications, to a new audience, is made possible simply by blasting out a marketing email, an introductory offer, or using more professional PR to foreign press, stating the intentions and announcements for the business's target markets. Some of my clients are extremely competent in their "home' field, but become somewhat confounded when they wish to tap a new venture. For example, this week I spent time with Benjamin Wey of the New York Global Group, a leading US-based advisory group and investment bank that provides consulting to Chinese businesses and businesses wishing to enter the US. He spoke of how so many people who think they know China have never even visited. My advice? Get your hands dirty and go. Communications strategies and tactics should include thorough research of new markets in order to minimize uncertainties and visiting the venue.
Leverage: The same content that makes your market position at "home' average can be used for leverage in other locations. Foreign markets are open to your success stories and the opportunities for branding are abundant. What do you stand for? What are your corporate values and where would you like to see your services or products in the new market? Start communicating based on the answers to these questions. It is another chance for you to re-brand and position yourself while learning from lessons in your home market.
Accept the adventure: If you own or run an entrepreneurial business, you know the feeling. But, remember, the greater the risk, the greater the benefit. Take those energies you had when you just started your business and adopt them; use them for the upcoming journey. Opportunities are great and the time is ideal to seek new revenues, development, and growth thousands of miles away from the U.S.
Although I often tell people I don't live in the USA (I live in NYC, and it's a world unto itself), there are many opportunities outside the USA, so dust off your passport and go. It is a global village.