Advertising Effectively In Print To International Markets

Posted on: 16 September 2015


When you are promoting a product in an overseas market, you will sometimes have a brand recognition problem. While your product might be more well-known domestically, you will need to start from scratch when informing an international market about what your product is and does. This will require that you use print and visual images effectively to explain your product to the consumer.

Should You Use Images More?

When in doubt, rely heavily on images. Countries vary in terms of literacy rates, so you will need to rely more on your logo, mascots and color scheme to remind consumers about your product. Images can help avoid the problem of mistranslations. For example, the "Got Milk" campaign was used in Mexico and was mistranslated to read "Are You Lactating." These problems can be avoided with visuals.

Should You Use Humor?

Avoid using humor unless you can hire a local to write it. Humor is very culturally-sensitive and a joke that may be effective domestically could fall flat in front of an international audience or may even be considered offensive. For example, a lot of jokes rely on a play on words. If the pun is translated literally into a different language, the pun might be lost.

Is the Culture a Low-Context Culture?

Understand whether a country is considered a low-context or high-context culture. Low-context cultures prefer products that are marketed with a great deal of information. For expensive items, consumers want as much information as possible before purchasing. In contrast, high-context cultures rely more on word-of-mouth. It may be more effective to use images that trigger a specific mood intended to spur consumers to make a purchase.

What Values Does the Culture Hold?

Learn about the cultural values that can influence how consumers will respond to your print ads. In the U.S., products are often marketed as having the ability to improve one's social status. For example, a watch might be worn by a popular and glamorous celebrity with the goal of associating the watch with social status. This may be an effective approach in up-and-coming and highly competitive nations. However, in more egalitarian nations, appeals to the desire for status can backfire. The consumer might be concerned with appearing snobbish or superior to others. When in doubt, it is best to consult with an advertising agency that has experience advertising in print toward the specific market you wish to target.