Like some of you know, I just returned from an assignment in asia – Singapore to be exact I helped develop the online presence of several brands in markets all over the continent. My experience there radically altered my business perspective.
First of all, traveling and working in Asia has made me realize how Small the World has become and how much easier it is for smaller brands to compete in a GLOBAL MARKET. SMALLER brands—meaning you don’t have to be a FORTUNE 500 company to make your mark overseas.
By now it’s well know that the internet has been a driving force behind globalization,
and one astounding fact that I was able to experience firsthand is that the Asia-pacific market accounts for 47% of the internet traffic worldwide. So needless to say, because of social media, It’s never been easier for brands, from e-commerce sites to new technology companies, to reach a global audience. As a result of my experience, I want to share some of my observations on how smaller brands can now compete in the global market.
1. The English factor
20-25% of the world speaks English, either as a native or second language — that’s roughly 2 billion people who are able and open to hearing your message. You don’t necessarily need to translate your content like you use to. This is especially true when addressing a younger audience that takes english classes in school, watches american movies, and listens to american pop music.
2. The westernization factor
The American spirit of innovation are still highly admired by people around the world, and as a result American and western brands are just as prized in other countries as they are here at home.
What we’re talking about is soft power, and America’s still got it.
Luxury in these markets is determined by scarcity–the more rare an item, the more prized it is. Victoria’s secret has made such a name for itself globally that women in singapore, where there are no victoria’s secret stores, pay $100 for a $50 bra. Foreign markets are always keeping tabs of emerging trends in America, so smaller brands shouldn’t be intimidated by foreign markets or a lack of infrastructure. To the contrary, they are waiting for you, and where there is a will, they will create a way.
3. Shared Platforms
Social networking is being consolidated more and more every year, so while some regional social networking sites are still popular, Facebook has over 1 billion users and is growing by 30% every year, and Youtube Draws 800 million unique visitors A DAY from all around the world. Shared platforms mean an increasingly global audience for your brand.
4. Online Communities = The New Countries
I was able to experience firsthand how personal interests bring people together, how a passion for photography, brought people from Malaysia, Germany, Egypt, and Australia together on the same blog. The lesson here? Personal interests are quickly replacing national identities. This means that things like blogs and Social Media platforms are places where your target audiences congregate, mix, and are more receptive to brands that match their specific interest no matter what country they come from.
After seeing how the world is reconfiguring itself through personal interest, how centralized social media is becoming and how the soft power of American culture is still thriving. I realized that NOW small brands can compete with the big players in an emerging model of online branding which is powered by grassroots efforts just as much as multi million dollar campaigns.
I would love to hear your thoughts.