How global brands are localizing their growth strategy

By David Hutson
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How global brands are localizing their growth strategy

It’s one thing to localize your products so they don’t come across as foreign forces of imperial capitalism. It’s quite another to finesse an approach that fosters real affection and trust with international customers. 

For some brands, it’s a matter of recognizing the right offering at the right time. For others, it’s about customizing the introduction. IKEA, Under Armour, and Estée Lauder’s M.A.C. Cosmetics have all managed to make a global product offering local in markets around the world.

IKEA in China

China hosts eight of IKEA’s 10 largest stores. The Swedish company’s decision to move into China coincided with the rise of the country’s middle class, and the strategy has paid off well. 

As middle class wealth lifts millions out of poverty and into the cities, IKEA has continued to expand, positioning the brand as an affordable choice for newly affluent customers. China is now Ikea’s 5th largest market. The Swedish home furnishings giant’s strategy also caters to local customers with omnichannel services and an urban-friendly Ikea City store.

Under Armour’s international game

Though 94% of Under Armour’s revenue came from North America in 2013, the company has since widely expanded its global footprint. In the final quarter of 2020, revenues from international business rose by 7%, with net revenues rising sharply in Asia Pacific and Latin America. 

From the beginning of its international expansion, the brand has sought out local partnerships in their target region. While the U.S. marketing strategy has largely centered on sports like American football, Under Armour has sponsored local sports clubs, like Tottenham Hotspur, as they enter new markets.

M.A.C.’s inclusive look

“All Races, All Sexes, All Ages,” has long been M.A.C.’s slogan, and it’s a good one if you want to welcome the world to your stores. The company saw an opportunity: catering to underserved minority women who couldn’t find cosmetics that worked with their skin tone. This approach made them a natural fit for expansion into Brazilian retailers in 2002. Since then, they’ve had enormous success, and continue to grow internationally with hyperlocal branding, even as they launched virtual stores worldwide in 2020.

An international growth strategy that drives revenue

So how will you tailor your global growth strategy to specific international markets? As IKEA, Under Armour and M.A.C. demonstrate, the approach can vary widely — from capitalizing on local economic trends to investing in entertainment to supporting new technology and experiences. Acclaro can help you plan for your first move. Contact us today to learn about customizing a localization strategy to your growth goals.

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