Expanding your Business? Tips for marketing in South Korea

Is your business doing well enough that you’re thinking of expanding abroad? What are you waiting for? Although the UK is the world’s sixth largest economy, it’s only the 11th biggest exporter, which means that marketers aren’t making the most of taking their brands overseas. Don’t limit yourself to only doing business with BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), there are many emerging markets out there with a demand for European and international brands, like South Korea. Whether you’re launching overseas, or exporting your goods, it pays to have a targeted export strategy.

Optimize your brand proposition

This is an important one for expanding overseas. Just changing the language on your website isn’t enough anymore; instead of translating your English keywords into Korean, find native speakers who can provide you with culturally relevant keywords that appeal to your target demographic. Any pictures you use might also need a cultural overhaul. For example: if you’re using a model wearing a top that displays cleavage you may want to reconsider; cleavage is considered a bit risqué, but never will you see such a display of legs, so perhaps shorten the model’s skirt for a more relevant look.  Additionally, often overlooked web design options like color usage and symbolism can influence the way your brand is perceived.

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Customize your product offering

Optimizing your product for the South Korean market is also important. Imagine your product is salad dressing. While you have done well selling 473ml bottles—that’s the size in my refrigerator right now—if you’re planning to sell in South Korea you may want to scale down. Not only are South Korean kitchens usually too small to store western-style jumbo sizes, the local eating habits are also typically different from their overseas counterparts. Cross-cultural competency is very important when expanding your business; take the time to get to know your consumer.

Leverage your brand’s heritage

British products, especially those made in the country, can be very attractive to foreign consumers. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of buying your product; instead, the consumer is buying your story. Who made it? Where did the ingredients and components come from? Tell the story of your product and how the people behind it worked to bring it to fruition. Link your story to anything that may emphasize it’s desirability to your demographic. Are you selling luxury goods? Then play up aspects of the product or brand that reflect the longstanding elegance and regality associated with the UK.

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If you’re planning to grow your business internationally you may want to start learning the culture and language of the country to which you’re exporting. I can’t help with the former, but the first step to the latter is contacting us about language courses. Or, if you already speak a little Korean, check your competency with our language level test. Here’s your first lesson: 확대 행운. It means “good luck expanding”.

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