International marketing

International Branding: How to Build a Global Brand

International Branding: How to Build a Global Brand
Merve Alsan
Written by
Merve Alsan
Merve Alsan
Written by
Merve Alsan
Merve Alsan
Reviewed by
Updated on
May 20, 2024

McDonald’s, Airbnb, Apple… Who doesn’t like an international brand that follows you around the world? While these companies excel at international branding and make it seem effortless, there's actually a lot of work involved in becoming a brand that crosses borders.  

But there’s a good reason why all these companies are making international branding a priority: It pays off. Global brands enjoy a wide range of benefits, including an increased customer base, competitive advantage and brand awareness. 

Speaking of, we might know a thing or two when it comes to international branding. We recently rebranded and went through the process of adapting a brand for multiple markets. Since our insights are still fresh, we want to share our learnings and encourage you to take your own brand global!

Understanding Your Target Market

Expanding into international markets is an exciting endeavor, but it requires more than just enthusiasm. To succeed, you need a deep understanding of your target audience and their unique local tastes.

Comprehensive market research is key to uncovering valuable insights, such as understanding trends and identifying local competitors. For instance, let's say you're a fashion brand expanding into Japan. While a certain aesthetic might be trendy in your home market, it may not resonate with Japanese consumers with different fashion sensibilities. Or a stronger local brand may already be leveraging it. By conducting thorough research, you can avoid potential pitfalls and ensure your brand positioning delivers across cultures.

Segmenting your local customers is also crucial for creating impactful brand messaging that fosters a strong connection worldwide. Say you're targeting millennials in Brazil and baby boomers in Germany. Their preferences and communication styles will vary significantly, and what works for one might not work for the other. 

Tailoring your messaging to address each audience’s unique needs and priorities will help you establish a genuine rapport. Remember, personalization goes a long way in building trust and loyalty with consumers in different countries.

Developing a Global Brand Strategy

A well-defined international brand strategy is integral for successful global expansion. Start by defining your brand values and understand how they align with the international approach. Then ensure they are compatible with the diverse cultural contexts you will engage with.

Creating a consistent brand identity across markets fosters recognition and trust among your global audience. But to achieve this, you should emphasize adaptability and flexibility while maintaining a strong core message.

An impactful way is using distribution channels strategically based on their effectiveness in reaching your target audience. Depending on the market, social media, influencer collaborations, and tailored marketing campaigns can work wonders for establishing your brand presence in a new country. 

Take Coca-Cola, a brand that has mastered the art of global branding through its innovative social media campaigns. For their "Share a Coke" campaign, they replaced their iconic logo with popular names in each country and encouraged consumers to find their names or those of loved ones to share on social media.

This smart international marketing strategy transcended language barriers, cultural differences, and geographical boundaries, showcasing the brand's ability to connect with diverse audiences on a personal level while preserving its brand values. So, take inspiration from their success, and infuse your brand with cultural relevance to make an impact.

Localizing Brand Assets

Once you determine your target audiences and develop your global brand strategy to reach them, your next step is to adapt your brand image to local markets. This is where translation and localization come in.

Translating your website and messaging is essential for engaging customers in their native languages. No matter how much potential your brand name holds in a market, it won’t have an impact if your audience can’t get access to it in their language. That’s why having a multilingual website is a crucial step in opening your business to new markets and positioning yourself as an international brand.

So when we revamped our website design, we wanted to emphasize our language switcher as it’s the most universal way of highlighting language options. We also custom designed our switcher to fit with our overall branding and be a natural extension of our website design in all languages.

Weglot language switcher

And being understandable is only the first step. To go beyond that, you should also ensure your brand resonates with your target audience. To achieve this, you should adapt your international marketing materials to suit local preferences, incorporating culturally relevant imagery, design, and color schemes.

When Nike expanded its global brand presence into the Middle East, it recognized the significance of cultural adaptation to establish a strong connection with local markets. Nike launched the "Pro Hijab" as part of its sportswear line, catering to the specific needs of Muslim women athletes who adhere to the hijab.


The Pro Hijab not only fulfilled the functional requirements of modest athletic wear but also incorporated Nike's brand values and signature design elements, ensuring it aligned with the brand's overall aesthetic. This proves that localization efforts go a long way when it comes to international branding.

Ensuring Brand Consistency Across Languages

It’s important not to lose sight of your brand's essence during the brand localization process. You should strive for a balance between global brand consistency and local relevance.

Style guidelines, glossaries, and terminology databases are necessary to maintain a consistent brand in different countries. Consider them your trusty navigational tools on the path to successful brand localization.

For example, while we translate the text in our product imagery to make it relevant for our international users, we keep the same style and icons to stay consistent — as long as it’s interpreted the same way in both markets.

To streamline this process and maintain quality control, leverage translation management tools and automate your workflow. This way, you'll have more time to focus on the creative and strategic aspects of brand localization.

Also, be mindful that local trends and cultural contexts change all the time. Regularly conduct thorough quality checks to guarantee brand integrity, relevancy and prevent any miscommunications.

Measuring and Optimizing Global Brand Performance

Being data-driven is the only reliable way of continuously optimizing global brand performance. Even seasoned marketers and proven methods can fail when challenged in new cultural landscapes. So instead of relying on old ways or hunches, always monitor actual numbers and let them lead your global marketing strategy.

Metrics like website traffic and conversion rates are important indicators of your multilingual success. For example, before adding new languages to our website, we always consider page view metrics that show the languages of our top visitors, which can been seen through Weglot’s translation project dashboard.

To truly nourish your strategy, don’t stop there and actually listen to your customers and seek their feedback. Numbers can tell you what’s working and what’s failing, but only local customer feedback will provide you with the insight needed to optimize your brand’s cultural adaptation.

An International Branding Case Study: From Sweden to the Rest of Europe

A successful global brand that inspires us has to be Volant, a sustainable home-scenting brand with Scandinavian roots.

As Volant decided to become an international brand, the challenge of brand localization surfaced. They recognized the need to communicate effectively with customers in different languages and cultural contexts. Enter Weglot, a powerful translation solution tailored for global brands!

Weglot didn’t only allow Volant to successfully launch in 11 new markets in a month but it also contributed to a consistent and personalized brand experience through localized email campaigns thanks to the seamless integration between Weglot and Klaviyo.

And when it comes to global branding, Weglot's robust SEO features played a vital role in Volant's success. While Volant was tailoring its international messaging, Weglot handled multilingual SEO, including hreflang tags, translated metadata, and language subdomains, resulting in increased visibility on search engines, further amplifying its global reach and attracting a broader international audience.

Their global branding efforts were rewarded with significant traffic growth and increased sales, particularly in Germany, France, and Italy. In less than a month, international revenue surged by 39%, while website visitors more than doubled.

If Volant’s success doesn’t make you want to build your own international brand and expand to different markets, we don’t know what will! By signing up for our 10-day free trial, you can experience firsthand how Weglot can help you reach new markets and unlock your brand's international potential today.

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