November & December theme:
“Choose One Thing”
Posted in :  Brain Waves

When clients come to us looking to develop a global online presence, they are often overwhelmed with where to start, and typically reference the “select your country” or other standard approach. However, in our experience following a standard never really ends up effectively resolving the concerns that had been seen as globally important in the first place. Instead, we take a strategic approach to establish the right way to do it for each unique client. We ask clients, “what business opportunities does having a global online presence support?”

Having clarity on the concrete business goals of shifting perception from a national to a global organization helps our clients refine their global web strategy and identify the best use of their resources.

When we developed a global online strategy for a $10 billion healthcare organization, it was imperative to have a localized presence in their target countries. Due to the size of the organization, the centralized nature of how it leveraged its enterprise technology and digital infrastructure, and the highly regulated nature of healthcare, the websites also needed to be centrally controlled, regulated, and be able to scale from France to China and every country in between.

We began by assessing the most universally relevant way in which to tell the client’s story and at the most important transactions they would need to perform. With this normalized model, we then looked at the most common elements that needed to be contextualized for each market, which included imagery, language and tone, product positioning and prioritization, legal and regulatory, contacts and locations. Finally, we looked at what global-ready enterprise systems existed that could be integrated within the strategy, such as SalesForce and PeopleSoft.

From this information, we were able develop a strategic approach for how this localized global online presence would work. And, even more important in this case, we developed a toolkit and guide for how to replicate this process over and over for each market efficiently and effectively. This, combined with our piloting an initial country-specific site in Russia, allowed the client to take on replicating the process throughout their other markets. The result is a consistent, high-quality global image for the company that supports the global brand, and a localized presence that supports the regional business.

If you see creating an effective global online presence as vital to your organization consider these questions:

1.) What is having an online global presence in support of?
Is it to support a global brand? A local operation? A distribution center? Depending on how you see this initiative supporting your business, you can plan for how local or how centralized you need to be. In the case of this client, it was about supporting a global brand with a country-specific presence.

2.) How scalable does my solution need to be?
Determining whether you need continental, country-specific, or an even more localized presence will give you a sense of how organic or organized you need to approach the solution. If you are only concerned with a presence in three global regions, you can be a bit more flexible in your approach. However, if you need to concern yourself with multiple countries, you need to standardize so you can scale.

3.) What can you leverage?
Often, building a country-specific website can leverage existing enterprise-wide tools, from global HR platforms for recruiting to CRM systems to track sales leads. We discuss these universal components and develop a site architecture that makes sense for the specific audience that we are trying to reach, which then frees you up to consider what needs to be customized for that country or region.

The goal is to create a global online presence that satisfies your business objectives, is an authentic reflection of your brand, and relevant and critical to those vital to your success. To learn more about how to get started, talk to us.

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Posted by: Brent Robertson
Email the author: brentr@fathom.net