If you are currently supplying a product to the Australian market, and want to expand to the international market, amongst other things you need to think about if your packaging branding, designs, fonts and images are appropriate to your international target market audience. It all comes down to researching before, during and after your product launch.
Some things you need to be aware of:
Your brand name: What does your brand name mean in other languages? (Especially in the country you want to stock your product.) Make sure it isn’t rude or offensive or will make people laugh (in a bad way) and potentially ruin your brand image.
You may need to change your brand name if it is offensive, otherwise just keep it. Of course changing your brand name could mean that you lose the brand equity that currently exists, but it would be a good idea to change it if you don’t have any brand equity in that country and if keeping your current brand name could cause you potential damage.
Hopefully you did your market research and created a 5 year plan when deciding on your brand name before you launched your product. 'There are many practical reasons to keep your name the same around the world: It's simpler; you get economies of scale; it's significantly less complex; and you create a unified global company."
Images: Cultural differences such as ensuring you are not using inappropriate images (as well as words). My suggestion is to research what is appropriate in the country you want to supply your product to. Google their cultural values, what they deem offensive, and look at successful packaging in that country. When you have an idea, try to get in touch with someone from that country that you can trust to tell you what would and what wouldn’t be appropriate on the shelves in their country.
You don’t want to be selling a body lotion cream with a picture of a bikini clad woman on the product and trying to sell it in Saudi Arabia, with a brand name meaning something offensive. Your product would be boycotted, or not allowed on the shelves.
Different cultures have different tastes: Australian luxury product packaging can look different (different colours, images, designs) than Chinese luxury products for example. Look at what a brand in your product category offer in Australia, then look at what they offer the country you want to stock your product in. You need to keep with your brand offering (ie if it is a premium product in Australia, then ensure it is perceived as a premium product in other countries), but again with research, you will be able to figure out what images and colours are perceived as luxury in that target country, and to check your brand equity won't be ruined.
Colours mean different things to different cultures: Make sure you’re not being inappropriate with your colours on your packaging to avoid confusing people as to what the product is inside.
Labelling: Remember there are different legal requirements for different countries.
Your message: Western cultures are all about what satisfying the individual, whereas Asian cultures are about satisfying those around them. For example, toothpaste advertising in Australia is all about how the individual will feel better about themselves, whereas toothpaste advertising in Japan is all about how you can make friends, family and colleagues more comfortable being around you.
If you start advertising only the benefits to the individual in Japan, people might not buy your product because they won’t see the benefits to them. (And that is why people buy products - because it satisfies a need or serves a purpose).
Translation: Make sure you check with a professional translator everything you have written on your pack is ok before major production! As you can see, the people creating the packaging for the noodles in the picture above did not check with a professional translator before allowing major product and packaging production!
I can't stress enough the value of research before, during and after any marketing move you make! Good luck!
This quote features in a previous blog, but it’s relevant here, so I will feature it again:
‘Meaningful customer experiences begin when consumers are motivated to pick the product up, purchase and use it, confirming in their minds that it lives up to its brand promise and then seek it out again. That’s a tall order that begins with packaging.’
Photo courtesy of: http://moodyknows.com/post/3727438073/ramen-packaging-fail-soup-for-sluts-lets
Clara Cassidy, Founder and Marketing Manager of Custom Printed Bags & Boxes, is a marketing professional with years of experience in branding, promotions and events.