Welcome back. I hope you caught the first part in this series where I stressed how important it is that businesses recognise that countries and cultures interact with websites differently and how it’s key to provide bespoke experiences in order to succeed.

In the concluding part of the series, I’ll explore the challenges of brand consistency and my final thoughts on the matter. There is a big world out there and this is neither a quick nor easy process.

It is one that will help increase conversions and ROI though, something businesses can’t ignore as global online competition accelerates.

Challenges of consistency

Staying on-brand is important for companies. Delivering a tailored experienced to visitors by market is also important.

Finding a balance between the two is a common challenge for internationalised companies, not only to ensure the brand is clearly recognised wherever you go, but also due to the cost implications from maintaining multiple sites.

Ultimately, most optimisation solutions afford the flexibility of being able to deliver multiple versions of a page based on rules. Companies should take advantage of this.

If visitors in one country respond well to a specific layout, messaging, or style, there is a compelling, data-driven business argument to present them with something slightly different.  Instead of asking yourself if a particular change is ‘on-brand’ enough, enable your business by asking yourself what your visitors like.

Final thought

When I referred to the number of times I had been mistaken for American, I did not touch on the fact that, well, not everyone gets it wrong.

There are three scenarios:

“So where in America are you from?”
We’ve covered this one. Sorry. Not from there.

“Well that’s an interesting accent…are you…by chance…Canadian?”
This is the one where they don’t really know, but they do know that Canadians don’t tend to be thrilled when thought of as American, so they dive straight in with “Canadian” and hope for the best. 

“Um. So. Where are you from?”
This is the safest play you can make. To be honest, I don’t know why more don’t opt for it.

Well, actually I do know why more people don’t opt for the last choice. It’s because we all have different behavioural tendencies regardless of geographical location. We react differently. We thrive on different things. We behave differently.

So, while testing, segmentation and targeting at the level of language and culture is a great start to drive value for online businesses, it’s just that, a start. 

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on how (and what) to optimise when you're operating in a global marketplace. Perhaps next time we can go a bit deeper into personalisation.


Published 9 April, 2013 by Tom Waterfall

Tom Waterfall is Director of Optimisation Solutions at Webtrends and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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Comments (1)



Thanks for this great post! A great way to work in this field of marketing is in a systematic and consistent manner. Even if you opt to expand the operations internationally - always test your competitors. Examine what is their traffic contributors and where they bring it - make sure to build a strategic advertising campaign. Some tool to do this is include ColibriToo.com - a competitive analysis tool that provides the best traffic insight for any website.

over 5 years ago

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