Strategies for International Growth
A brand that is successful internationally is the result of a comprehensive, multifaceted strategy with keen attention paid to both planning and execution. Never underestimate the complexity of expanding a brand on a global level. The initial obstacle in deciding if a brand can grow internationally is the brand’s ability to recognize and leverage its strengths and create safeguards against potential weaknesses to make a brand fluid enough to adapt in multiple markets.
Transforming a concept from a local favorite and introducing it to international audiences requires the right entrepreneurs to help make global expansion a reality. Beginning with being an established brand in your local market and being strategic in market selection, finding the right franchisees for a new global market and adapting the concept to fit the new location are all key components of international growth.
Establish Brand Culture in Local Market
Franchising gives individual entrepreneurs the opportunity to introduce a common product or service across multiple markets while maintaining brand standards and values. Having a strong established brand culture in your home market is the key to success when expanding internationally.
Regardless of location, the brand should provide customers with the same experience. This can be attributed to a thorough initial training, the consistency of a proven business model and supporting your franchisees. Take pride in the fact that your company is able to grow internationally because of your franchise partners.
In order to truly tap into the local culture and values of a new global market, a brand needs to find the right franchisee. He or she should be an in-market expert, and should have the knowledge necessary to convert a new consumer base into fans of the brand through strategic, targeted execution and marketing. Even in competitive markets, a stable franchise concepts allows franchisees to utilize a flexible strategy to push a concept into a new country or continent, while maintaining brand value in existing markets.
Immerse Your Brand Into The Culture
Understanding the customer base in a foreign market is a top priority to beginning any international growth efforts. Your brand has the chance to make a first impression that sticks in a new market, and takes advantage of any niche demands that haven’t yet been filled. An international concept has the opportunity to build trust and loyalty quickly by coming in with a deep understanding of local tastes and preferences. This also applies to appealing to qualified potential franchisees, and making sure the franchise investment fits potential candidates looking for a strong business model for their local market.
Finding success within a new market begins with research, and is the key to finding hidden gems within a region or country that a brand can shape its product or services to in order to thrive. Conducting market research through physically taking a trip to your target market to explore the culture and learn the business etiquette will immediately set you apart within the industry. Take every opportunity to connect with industry professionals in the area to learn what it takes to run a business there from the experts themselves.
Introducing a new international concept is a chance to encourage local customers to break into something different just as the brand itself is taking a risk at trying something new. With the excitement of introducing something new and fresh comes the potential for building meaningful partnerships with local businesses, communities and economic organizations in your new market.
Don’t Underestimate the Complexity
Expanding a brand takes time and more resources than one immediately thinks. Beyond the research of the new market, one must consider the process for finding the right franchisee that is driven to bring the story of a business into a new international market. They must also demonstrate a sales-driven attitude to remain successful in a new market, the ability to fight for and retain the attention of consumers and a commitment to the brand and the business model that will turn a franchise into a valued new member of the community.
The community, and ultimately the customers, may expect certain standards in regards to culture, dress, cooking and atmosphere. When making the leap into a new international market, having the mindset of the customers-to-be can be one of the most difficult barriers to overcome. Learning how to approach potential customers and how to expand the in-store experience can play a huge role in creating an environment that may be foreign to the new market, but intriguing to outgoing individuals looking for a new concept amongst familiar offerings.
As we’ve grown internationally, we’ve had the good fortune of building a fan base quickly in the United States. As more fans have developed a taste for our product, we have been able to tap into an American consumer base that had never heard of us before last year. Many U.S. consumers would never expect to see a single item menu, but we’ve used the novelty as a tool to entice new customers to try our product for themselves. International brands have the power to separate themselves and stand out as an innovative member of the local market by virtue of being new and different. In the end, a strong global growth strategy underpinning expansion has the power to make a global concept a local favorite.
Xinyu Zhang, CEO of Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice USA Group, has helped to grow the brand for 3 years with international expansion. He successfully brought the first United States location to Tustin, California in September of 2017 and plans to continue to grow the concept across the country. Yang's Braised Chicken Rice serves just their one item menu with three spice levels and has 6,000 locations globally.