I’ll bet that by opening this blog post, you already have a hugely successful brand in your home market. Congrats to you! We really should celebrate that some time. Maybe your product is considered the standard for quality, credibility and trust in your category. This is a great achievement but, has it started to feel a bit like your brand could go further? It’s undeniable that you’re already a success but, thinking long term, if you stay solely in your home market, your ability to grow is severely limited. Unless of course, you expand into international markets. But where do you start? And how can you turn a brand tailored to your domestic market into one that can succeed as an international player?

Where do you start?

Well, we can speak from experience about this conundrum.  At SLICE we were tasked by Foster Clark, of Maltese origins and established in 1889, to create brand values and qualities that could successfully translate into international markets.  But we like a challenge.

SLICE were challenged with developing a unique brand positioning for Foster Clark, across their HUGE  portfolio of products, that would bring it forward into the 21st century. Our brief was to create a design that would stand out in a busy market, unite the portfolio and showcase a range of products which have been cupboard classics in homes for over 100 years. Safe to say, we learned a thing or two about making a home grown brand internationally viable. Check out the final result here.

So what issues should you consider before extending your brand beyond your national doorstep?

If your brand or product is entering the EU market for the first time, legislation will inflict confines upon your labelling and packaging design. Try not to nod off here. Legislation isn’t so rock’n roll, but it matters to your brand. Certain font sizes, extent of claims and imagery, like showing a banana on-pack when in fact there is less than 2% banana in the product, are not tolerated in the EU, which means you need different packaging for different markets.

Furthermore, depending on whether your product will be sold through wholesalers versus retailers, certain nutritional or ingredients claims need to be more or less visible.

When it comes to the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region, which Foster Clark’s were simultaneously expanding into, cultural symbolism and colour is imperative to consider.  Bright and vibrant colours in Africa typically denote fresh, dynamic and positive connotations, whereas in the Middle East, the same colours signify cheap and artificial. Tricky business.

With Foster Clark, the challenge involved ensuring that the number of languages demanded on pack, did not obstruct or diminish the expression of the creative imagery and design. Six languages, as well as a dual facing pack, meant having the same communication on the front and back sides of the pack, but in two different main languages. For us at SLICE that meant we needed the new design and brand architecture to communicate quality and heritage, while conforming to the many practical and legal demands.

These practical aspects are often forgotten in the creative process, however are paramount in order to ensure a successful introduction and launch of your brand into a new market. They can make or break your brand.

The final Foster Clark pack design was rolled out across over 150 SKU’s and Foster Clark have successfully relaunched their Drinks range with fantastic feedback from distributors and consumers across the Middle East and Africa. See what you think of it here.

Are you considering a market expansion, that extends beyond your immediate market comfort zone? Does the EU need explaining? The MENA made clearer? Africa analysed? 

With more than a decade’s experience in providing brands with not only outstanding creative work, but also the legal and practical expertise needed to succeed, SLICE are proud to have provided several brands with the solution needed to grow their brand and presence on the international stage. No jargon, no fancy processes. Just great design, rooted in decades of knowledge and expertise.

Get in touch on Linkedin or email me at stephanie@slicedesign.co.uk if international branding is a priority for you in 2016.