How to Manage Product Names in Global Markets

March 26, 2018
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Expanding into global markets is an exciting prospect for any business. It holds the promise of reaching new customers, driving profitability, and adding international depth to the brand’s reputation. But as with every opportunity, there is a degree of risk and uncertainty. Will your brand messaging be effective at addressing local cultural sensibilities? Will local markets respond to your product design and packaging?
With concerns like these in mind, your Global Content should be created, named, and managed in a way that’s most conducive to international business success. In this blog post, we’ll cover a few ways that you can manage product names strategically and effectively in global markets.

Can you use the original product name?

It’s important to decide whether to use the original product name globally, or whether you will adapt it for each market. While the latter option may seem unnecessarily costly, in some cases the original name may simply be unusable in certain foreign markets due to inappropriate connotations or translations.  For example, when the whiskey Irish Mist was launched in Germany, the company would have saved a lot of time, money, and embarrassment had they acknowledged that “Mist” is the German word for “manure”.

Make sure your product names are protected

When expanding into a new region, be wary of counterfeit manufacturers aiming to profit from your product names and branding. The simplest way to protect each product name is to register it as a trademark. There is no global trademark, however, so remember to register your trademarks in each target geographical region.

Be extra careful with domain names

Make sure to consider which domain names to use with your brand, which should be treated as a separate issue from trademarks. Without careful planning, you risk competitors taking the local version of your domain name and using it to their own advantage. Also make sure to research the legality of “domain squatting” in the local jurisdiction of new markets, whereby someone purchases a brand-related domain with the intent to sell it to a company at an inflated price for profit.
If your company is planning to expand into new international markets, taking an organized approach to managing Global Content will likely be the difference between success and failure. If you would like to learn how to get more from your Global Content to make the best possible impact around the globe, get in touch.

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