International Marketing Done Right: 3 Examples and Tips

Taking your business global reaps rewards but can be equally intimidating. Gaining new customers, boosting sales, and positioning your business as a global player is surely an advantage. Expanding to newer markets is not just a leap of faith. Rather, a lot of time, capital, and energy go into knowing the regions you are targeting. 

Commonly, companies venture into international markets because global growth has more scope. However, international success requires local knowledge and a commitment to change and adapt the marketing as per the region in question. 

The reason for localization arises because the top 3 languages spoken by internet users are English, Chinese, and Hindi, as per Statista.  Surprisingly, only 30% of the global population can speak in English fluently. This means:

  • 60% of consumers never or seldom buy from English-only websites (CSA Research) 
  • More than half of the queries on Google are performed in languages other than English (WordStream) 
  • China claims to have 800 million internet users, with the world’s largest app market (Forbes) 
  • 72.1% of consumers prefer reading websites that have content in their native language (CSA Research)
  • 78% of shoppers prefer purchasing from online stores that are localized (KPMG) 

These statistics make it obvious that to survive and thrive in a global market, brands would have to embrace and adapt to new cultures and languages. Going forward, international marketing will not just be a competitive advantage but critical to enter new markets.

So what is international marketing? 

Companies are tapping into multilingual markets to engage with a new group of consumers by customizing their language, products, marketing, sales, and website design. The aim being, to provide a personalized and relevant experience.  Customizing the language, colors, layout, social media and the content of your marketing material boosts consumer’s trust, sales, and revenue. 

From technology to consumer brands, companies are creating unique approaches for global expansion in newer markets and geographies. In this article, we take a closer look at how 3 major brands were able to win their audience using international marketing. 

1. Netflix

With a presence in 190 countries as a loved form of entertainment, Netflix is a global force. With nearly 50% of users from a total of 130 million subscribers outside of the US, this TV streaming brand has mastered the art of treating each region as a different consumer.  


Described as exponential globalization, Netflix changed the idea of general marketing. They developed country-specific knowledge, essential for success in local markets. Their content and marketing are sensitive to local cultures. Along with that, the content is produced locally, supports a wider range of devices, with subtitles in regional languages, optimizes its personalization algorithm country-wise from the global library, and has payment partnerships.

Their focus on regional consumers is the key to success. To penetrate deeper into a new market, they hired native skilled professionals who understand the culture, user persona, and technology, thereby increasing their chances of success. 

Instead of venturing into a completely new market, Netflix started with launching gradually in 2010 to countries that were similar to the US. They first launched into Canada, with content produced by the regional Canadian players in combination with popular US shows. This way, they started internationalizing their brand with small steps. 

They’ve gone a step further in increasing the trust, commitment, and loyalty to local customers by creating separate social media accounts for major geographies. They share a wide range of local and global content on their Twitter channels. 

Netflix India
Netflix UK and Ireland 

Tip – Expanding through the nearest geographical locations is the most secure and successful way to take your business towards globalization. Incorporating the use of technology to understand the customer base can reap exceptional results. 

2. Red Bull

The energy drink Red Bull’s marketing strategies are so well placed that it’s like a homegrown brand all over the world. From sponsoring the supersonic free-fall jump to Red Bull Soapbox Race in Jordan, this energy drink is full of surprises and relatable to its potential customers. Headquartered in Austria and having Thai origins, Red Bull has nailed global marketing.  

From selling their first energy drink in 1987, the brand witnessed a sale of a whopping 6.28 billion euros in 2017 owing to their extravagant international marketing strategies. 

They pursued local marketing strategies by creating diverse content to suit the needs of the audience while keeping the brand message “giving you wings” consistent across all channels of communication. 

For example, Red Bull Canada focusses heavily on music and art (also launching Canada’s best doodle art competition). In the UK, they partnered with England Rugby as their official energy drink partner for the season of 2020. 

Simultaneously, they focus on engaging with their audience using video storytelling, as seen on their YouTube channel that has more than 9 million subscribers. Like Red Bull, create a community of highly engaged customers who will then spread your brand via word-of-mouth marketing. 

Redbull’s YouTube 

Tip – Don’t shy away from trying out innovative marketing strategies that represent what your brand stands for. Study your customers so well that even your logo speaks the language they want to hear. 

3. Kitkat

Manufactured in more than 21 countries across the globe, Kit Kat is the leading chocolate brand around the world. Their simple tag line, “Have a break, Have a Kit Kat” has allured the customers into a relaxing state while unwrapping the silver foil to snap those long chocolate-coated wafers and delight themselves. The simple yet powerful branding had such an impact that it is the most favorite chocolate brand with over 650 bars consumed every second globally. 

Kit Kat knows the ways of staying relevant to customers and hence keeps coming with new flavors and dynamic collaborations. Their offerings are based on the local taste. For example, in Japan, their flavors that are locally manufactured include wasabi, matcha, strawberry, sake, and “Tokyo Banana”. For the Middle East market, the four flavors are Cherry Brownie, Strawberry Cheesecake, Crème Brulee, and Tiramisu. The packaging style and size also varies. 

Kit Kat in the Middle East
Kit Kat in Japan  

Respect the cultural connotations and norms of the new market you are entering. What is acceptable in one region may not have the same influence in another part. Localize your offerings based on the native palette, flavors, and traditions. 

You don’t have to be exceptional and highly unique to make your mark in the industry. You need to be able to connect to the masses in a way that they smile even if you are a 2cm mini bite! 

Tip: Don’t be afraid to celebrate cultural differences to strengthen your international presence. Make your offerings relatable to the customers by region. 

Going global is done better with one step at a time

To dominate globally, consider to re-package your marketing based on the language, local consumers, their needs, and expectations. Take inspiration from the international marketing strategies of the brands suggested above that have a unique lesson to impart. They have been successful in understanding the customer base, identifying what connects with their sentiments and what meets their expectations.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Priyanka Desai is the founder of iScribblers.