How Global Brands Are Localizing their Growth Strategy

IKEA China

It’s one thing to localize your products so they don’t come across as foreign forces of imperial capitalism, but 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 home furnishings, Under Armour athletic wear, and Estée Lauder’s M.A.C. cosmetic line have all managed to take a global product offering and make it local for markets around the world.

IKEA in China

China hosts eight of IKEA’s ten 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 positioned itself as an obvious, affordable choice for those looking to furnish their new flats. IKEA reports that China is now the company’s fastest growing market, while other markets have cooled. The Swedish home furnishings giant accommodates the local tendency to make the IKEA shopping experience an all-day affair by adding extra display rooms and encouraging naps.

Under Armour’s European Game

Though 94% of Under Armour’s revenue came from North America in 2013, the company is eager to shift at least 12% to international markets by 2016. An underdog in the athletic shoe and apparel game, Under Armour will need to not only attract international customers, but also broaden its product line in order to appeal to more buyers.

The company has initially set its sights on Europe. While the U.S. play has been largely centered on local sports such as American football, Under Armour made the decision to sponsor European soccer clubs, including England’s Tottenham Hotspur. They’ve also branched out into rugby, scoring a deal with the Welsh national rugby team. While their reputation in these sports is still new, they hope to spread to Latin American markets with the same strategy. Initial reports in Q1 2014 were promising — sales outside of North America rose to $59 million, representing 9% of total sales compared to just over 6% the previous year.

M.A.C.’s Inclusive Look

“All Races, All Sexes, All Ages,” has long been M.A.C.’s mission statement, and it’s a good one if you want to welcome the world to your stores. The company saw an opportunity in 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 there are now at least 30 stand-alone M.A.C. stores in the country.

Now M.A.C. has moved into West Africa, testing out their entry-level cosmetics in Nigeria. While the country has financial and political challenges to overcome, M.A.C. is eager to open a second store there soon. The cosmetics giant has introduced itself to West African women through the local music and film scene as well as via charitable efforts to raise money to fight HIV.

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 and supporting social causes. Acclaro can help you plan for your first move. Contact us today for more info or a free translation quote.

Subscribe to this blog

RSS feed

About this blog

Smart, fun and useful. Acclaro shares news and tips on translation, localization, language, global business and culture.


software cost tips technology & localization industry language entertainment southeast asia arabic website marketing mobile acclaro languages of the world acclaro localization and translation services acclaro world language map world language map arts sports & culture europe eastern europe africa french international business north america latin america middle east swedish asia german chinese documents case study localization retail quality transcreation spanish south america italian english ecard networking portuguese romance languages japanese staffing technology machine translation cost savings acclaro games language apps elearning localization multimedia translation multimedia localization elearning translation training translation ecommerce localization bitcoin cryptocurrency global ecommerce bitcoin regulation bitcoin exchanges china chinese translation chinese localization beijing localization cantonese and mandarin translations translation for business in china business translation in chinese top retail markets in the world new retail openings retail markets acclaro black friday cyber monday cyber week cyber monday woche single’s day bachelor’s day holiday shopping online borderfree doorbuster sales global holiday ecommerce healthcare initiative spanish healthcare mt case study mobile apps mobile app translation app store optimization aso mobile app thai translation ecommerce in asia valentine’s day valentines in japan valentines in south korea chinese valentine’s day singles day translation project fitbit visualiq gibson mardi gras food localization globalization consulting localization staffing localization recruiting startups global scalability international ecommerce international payment international order fulfillment global online shopping acclaro april fool’s stories usaapril fool’s stories germany april fool’s stories ecommerce ecommerce design wine translation marketing translation english remains the dominant language in the united states but almost one in five americans speaks a language other than english at home. are you missing out on customers who are more comfortable doing business in languages other than english? read on to learn how your company can profit from translation within the united states. translation myths translation mistakes international translation misconceptions translation errors translation process translating startups marketing translations translation marketing international social media qa quality assurance quality translations global apps app localization app translation app store translation global startups international app launch press release translation international press release global pr global press release press release localization kontax translate news international marketing video localization video translation video translation agency brazil brazilian portuguese english-to-portuguese translation boston translation services boston web translation boston translation agency global branding international branding global brand evaluation lithuanian translation lithuanian language translation adapt to lithuanian translators translation ecommerce in india business travel business travel apps international banking financial services translation marketing transcreation international copywriting website translation website localization japanese translation english-to-japanese translation japanese translation services translation solutions web localization mobile app localization iphone 6 glocal global brands translation services translation agency translation partner global content marketing localization world business case for translation