Branding Business Marketing

Gaining a Foothold in New Markets: Branding Strategies You Can Use

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You still remember the day that you started your company, armed with a singular vision: to conquer your target market. 

Fast-forward to today, your brand is now recognized as a market leader. What may seem insurmountable to others, you have conquered with resounding success. 

But you’re not done yet. You believe that your product or service can help more people. 

A few preliminaries

Whether you are planning to gain a foothold in a market in a different country or region, or to tap into a separate customer segment, research and planning (or the lack thereof) can spell either success or doom for your plans of expansion. 

To bolster your brand’s chances of success, you and other key decision-makers in your company need to be armed with accurate data that, in turn, will help you find and develop appropriate strategies which ensure successful market penetration. 

These strategies may include public relations, advertising, and online and offline promotions. 

One essential task that will help you start off on the right path is conducting market research, whether internally or through the help of market research firms. Market research consists of two parts: research on your new target market and analysis of the competition. 

  • For new target market research, you will need as much information as you can get on the people to whom you are planning to sell your products or services. These include a profile of your target customer, his needs and wants, and ways by which your product or service can help.
  • For competition research, you should gain insight into the type of customers that are attracted to the other industry players. Your research should also provide you with a clear perspective of the competitions’ products or services and how these are different from the ones that your brand is offering. 

The long and short of it is that your market research should inform your decision-making as well as your choice of strategies to use for market penetration. The lack of market research is the clear-cut path toward failure. 

Branding strategies

A well-executed market penetration can bolster your brand and increase your company’s bottom line. And on the converse side of the coin, a poorly executed expansion campaign can backfire and hurt your brand over the short and long term. 

From a branding perspective, there are a few things that you can do to boost your chances of successfully tapping into a new market. 

Know your brand

It may seem useless and unnecessary, in light of your current success, but you need to start things off by having a clear picture of what your brand truly is all about. 

Ask yourself what is currently working for your brand and what are the things that can be improved. 

This is also an opportune time to determine whether it is the right time to expand, and if you have a robust foundation for such a goal. 

In an ideal scenario, your brand should already have a solid market base, and your company should have a steady stream of income that you can reinvest toward other markets. 

Do not jump head on towards expansion if your brand has a few issues that need to be resolved. Ideally, you should only begin looking toward other markets if you think that your brand is more than capable of replicating its previous success in other markets. 

Learn from your previous successes

Make an inventory of the strategies that you previously used. From there, you might find a few that you can use for your new target market. 

Penetrating a new market is a balancing act for brands. On the one hand, you want a successful entry into new market segments. On the other hand, you want to keep your current customers satisfied and loyal. 

That essentially means eliminating anything that creates confusion or alienation, especially among your loyal customers. Be aware and mindful of similarities between your current customers and the niche you are planning to attract. And in the same vein, be aware that your customers might not want to be associated with some groups, whether these insights are right or wrong. 

Compute the costs involved

As the old adage goes, you have to spend money to make money. 

But when it comes to expanding your brand’s reach, you have to be diligent in terms of how you invest. The last thing that you want is to get little to nothing for your efforts. Early on, crunch the numbers and determine how much your expansion campaign will cost and how much you can potentially earn. 

One way to ascertain whether or not your brand will gain traction in your new target market is to use social media and other online marketing tools. For a fraction of the cost of a full-blown campaign, you can get the pulse of your new target customers and gauge their interest in your brand. 

Start with little fanfare

It may be tempting to launch your brand in the most dazzling way that you can think of. However, there’s a case to be made for the opposite. 

For starters, you don’t need to invest too much time, money, and effort. Second, and perhaps more importantly, you can save your brand from embarrassment should things go awry. 

Instead of drawing too much attention to your brand, opt for a soft launch and allow things to grow organically. Soon after, you can build momentum. 

Move from strength to strength

Apart from your own successes and failures, consider looking at what other brands have done right or wrong when venturing towards other markets. 

Leverage the experiences of other brands that have gone before you so you can replicate what they have done correctly and avoid their mistakes. 

No magic formula

When you are planning on capturing a new market for your brand, there is no magic formula that you can rely on. Instead, you have to bank on thorough market and competitor research, as well as make an honest evaluation of your brand. 

By relying on hard data, you can avoid some of the common pitfalls while increasing your chances for success.

About the author

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Hasan Fadlallah

Hasan Fadlallah is a Serial Entrepreneur - Founder & CEO of Brand Lounge, the region's leading and award-winning branding consultancy, whose role is to help organizations align their business behind an idea that will deliver success time and again. Equipped with over 20 years of professional consulting experience, today he advises businesses throughout the Gulf and Africa on brand development and in 2014 was recognized by the World Brand Congress who awarded him the prestigious Brand Leadership award in Brand Excellence.