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Nigeria to the world; How to take your local Nigerian brand international & penetrate global markets

Taking your local Nigerian brand global
These African prints look so dope.

Indigenous made in Nigerian products made by Nigerian brands are rapidly gaining international recognition, thanks to e-commerce. Fashion items, skincare, agro-allied, it’s amazing what is happening right now. My question to you that own a Made in Nigeria brand, is, are you going to be left out of this revolution? Nigerians living abroad, and non-Nigerians are interested in the fashion style, pattern and fabrics you use; they have seen your social media page and want to try out the new skincare routine using your organic formula; they are interested in your African literature; they are interested in your recipe, the spices you use; they are interested and want to buy – these same products that your Nigerian based customers are not taking serious or seem uninterested in. Global penetration is not for everyone however, so it’s okay if this does not align with your brand vision.

First mythYou need to be successful at home first, before selling abroad.

This is untrue. It is inaccurate. You can make a product that has little home appeal, but internationally acclaimed and sought after. The fact that people in Nigeria or at home are not seeking to buy your product does not mean those outside of the country will not, provided the products meet the quality and value standard.

Second mythit is impossible for small time local traders to break into the international market.

This is also false. Breaking into a market outside the local market is all about having the right product, knowing what to do and how to go about it, in most cases, this information is readily available for those that search and wish to know. It is not impossible. Armed with the right product, you need to know the facts and processes involved, that it all.

Pay attention to the following points;

Your mindset as a founder

This is everything. What big picture do you have for your brand? Do you only see yourself serving the local market? If this is so, then nothing anyone can tell you will change anything. But if you see the world from the eyes of your local brand, then anything is possible. The world is only but a small village after all, who says you cannot touch some in Australia or Russia with your product? Get your mindset right and believe that anything is possible, believe that the limitations you currently face in your immediate environment does not point to all your brand or business can amount.

Most global brands today did not start at the world stage, they were small local brands that believed, grew and dominated.

Get your branding and storytelling right.

What is the story of your brand? This is not graphic design, but the story behind your product. The colors & images are a mere expression of your story. You must reimagine this, as it is essential. From your name, to your logo, your choice of colours, your themes. What does all these collectively represent? What is the story behind your company? What ideologies are your company founded upon? Let this relate to where you are coming from, because you cannot take away your heritage from your brand.

Be original, innovate and be the best.

You cannot be aiming for international market penetration with inferior products. That can fly at the local market but won’t make it at the international market where you will compete with other world class brands. Your product should withstand quality scrutiny and test, pass the industry standards for safety, quality, or whatever else yardstick is set and required of it. Utilize the best of materials and processes.

Pay attention to global causes like sustainable or green energy, the environment, animal rights, and so on.

These causes may not matter at your local market, but the guys at the international market care about your brand’s ideologies regarding these causes as it relates to your products. Your brand could be boycotted if you use child labour for instance. Find out what the causes in your market or industry are, and pay attention to these causes, promote them and show that your brand care about the earth, animals, human rights, etc.

Fix your E-commerce

Shopify and WooCommerce are some of the common e-commerce platforms out there. These platforms require little to no experience to set up and use. You can watch Youtube videos on how to setup a Shopify or WooCommerce store. These e-commerce platforms have social media integration (Instagram and Facebook store) that makes it easy for you to display the prices of your products and tag the products from your site when you post them on social media.

You can’t penetrate international markets when people can’t find your business in search engines or business directories. It is time to move your store from Instagram or social media to web. The sooner you start this, the better for your brand. Sites take time to gain credibility and ranking, depending on your content and niche.

International payment and shipping.

This are important parts of your online store. If you are unable to handle effective shipping or accept payments in different currencies, then you have failed before starting. Luckily there are payment services like Paystack that makes accepting international payments in Nigeria possible. DHL, UPS and other logistics companies also handle international shipping, and some have plans for SMEs. Decide and find the ones that suits you and works best for you.

Targeted Marketing

Here is how you'd break into International Markets with Facebook marketing & a bit of PPC. The first thing to do is research, research and more research. You're researching the right demography/geography to target. Google Trends and other tools will help you find keywords that represent common searches within that geography. For instance, you can look at trends in the search for "Organic Skincare" in the UK. I believe you understand the importance of research now, so you can properly target the right demography in a specific location. People who'd be interested in your product but haven't seen it yet. If you're targeting France for Instance, what city or region in France, Age group, sex, and so on.

I am really trying to explain this so you don't get lost in the technicalities, you can do it. When using Facebook campaigns to promote your Facebook/Instagram Shop and drive traffic to your online store, the first thing to do is set up Site visits alone. Don't worry about conversation or checkout for the first few days. The reason is because your store is new, and Facebook needs some time to collect data, so if you set the ad up for sale/add product to cart or checkout at first. The ad will take days and won't still perform. Again, if this is too much headache for you, you can find a dope digital marketer and have them hook you up.

Bear in mind that your campaign is a gamble, because you don't know which areas will pay off the most. If you try the UK & France for Instance and don't get engagement, then try the US, Australia, etc. The campaign is an investment, I believe you understand.

Further, influencer marketing also works well, but this might cost you a lot.

So, those are the few points to consider, to turn your local brand into a global phenomenon. If you enjoyed this, then sign up to mailing list and check out other interesting articles on the site. If you’re looking for business ideas, or complete and well researched business plans about new and existing businesses in Nigeria, then you should check the business ideas and plans sections of the site.

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