International Business : Lessons from global brands

We live in the age of accelerated globalization of businesses. These businesses have developed eye-catching marketing strategies that have helped them to penetrate deeper into the global market segments. Consider the magnetic power of Apple, a global sensation. McDonald’s, a food chain, offers travelers convenient food options of familiar foods that transcend beyond borders. Think of Coca-Cola or Pepsi which offer consumers a sense of familiarity and connection to global citizens. In the FMCG category, Dettol and Colgate have become household names offering audiences a sense of safe usage to protect their health.
These are some examples of international business setups that have set great instances of how to expand in the international market segments successfully. Each brand has worked on:
a. international marketing tactics,
b. learning about various cultural sensitivities, and
c. being aware of a country’s political and economic landscape.

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International business also carries with them an inherent risk of the volatile international markets. Each country comes with its own government, regulations, laws, economic and social landscape, and currency that can complicate the business expansion process. Some common challenges include bridging the language and cultural barriers, currency exchange rates, economic policies, and foreign policies. This requires experts to carry out the trade. Experts who are skilled at the fine craft of taking a brand to global locations with ease and their expert knowledge.

Let’s dive into some successful global brands and their go-market strategy in international businesses:


Co-founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in the 1970s, Apple today is one of the most influential international brands. Today Apple launches and sells globally its wide range of electronics, software, streaming services, and online services. When the brand realized the market in the US was saturating rapidly, it began its international transactions. Starting first with Tokyo, in 2003, the brand under the guidance of Steve Jobs launched its global marketing slogan. Jobs helped to promote the brand and its product for its ease of use, innovative design, and customer loyalty.

Apple’s International Success

a. Localization:

Let’s take the example of the Chinese market. Apple localized their products with Dual Sim and WeChat. Adapting to Chinese consumers’ needs, the brand brought in a dual-SIM iPhone with WeChat Integration. Considering the country does not work on WhatsApp – this was an essential market entry requirement.

b. Partnerships and flagship stores:

Apple collaborated with Chinese telecom operators for a wider reach in the country across states. It also opened flagship stores in key Chinese cities where Apple’s research reflected more interest and desire to buy its latest phones.

c. Global launch times:

Aligning with its launch time in the US, Apple coordinates its product launches globally to minimize time launch gaps between U.S. and international markets.

d. Marketing essentials:

Apple is known for its iconic marketing with its minimal design campaigns. Its product launches create immense global buzz and anticipation. All thanks to their strength to customize their campaigns to fit local cultures, languages, and preferences – making them relevant for many local markets globally.

e. Supply chain optimization:

In its global expansion, Apple focused on building a robust efficient global supply chain to ensure timely production and distribution of its products.

f. Quality:

Another key component of Apple’s international market strategy is maintaining high-quality standards to build trust and reliability in their global markets.

Apple’s visionary strategic marketing with its key ingredient of adaptation and localization has helped the brand to establish successful channels in global markets. This aided Apple in overcoming the competition and attracting a range of creative audiences. Today Apple has over 518 stores in 25 countries across 6 continents.


Coca-Cola is an iconic international brand that has been around for over a century. John Pemberton created the drink in 1886 in Georgia, US, and was used as a tonic for ailments. One of the core reasons the brand became an icon is thanks to its marketing and strategic business leadership of Asa Griggs Candler.

Over the past century, the global success of the brand has come from its strategic localization to suit diverse cultural preferences, making it a staple in several countries. Coca-Cola is one brand that has navigated the tough times of World War II and the economic fluctuations over the decades.

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Let’s look at Coca-Cola’s market entry strategy:

A. Local bottling:

To expand into the global market, the brand needed to establish strong local bottling partnerships. This is when they focused on a franchising model with local bottling brands across countries.

B. Taste adaptation:

To adapt to the local market, the brand made sure to work with the consumer’s needs. They made the drink less sweet in certain regions, offering more Diet Coke in certain and more. Cola has also introduced new brands and flavors that help to reach, catering to various preferences.

C. Local acquisitions:

Cola has made many strategic decisions to acquire local brands in regions where it saw the benefit. By acquiring local brands like Minute Maid, Costa Coffee, and others, they have been able to leverage their market penetration and market diversification.

D. Global branding:

Cola worked to build a consistent language across nations in their branding strategy. A great example of this is how the brand uses the same font and type style in different languages. To enhance their global visibility the brand also sponsors a variety of events like World Cups, Olympics etc.

E. Ads with a cultural twist:

Cola made efforts to build a diverse range of ads for different regions embracing cultural diversity. In India for example, the brand has built ads around the festive celebration of Diwali and Holi. Emphasis on how young and old connect over celebration together with a drink of Cola.

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Their aggressive marketing strategy was all thanks to the cutthroat competition with Pepsi that started back in the 1980s. However, its remarkable entry in 1985 into the Soviet Union and expansion into the Chinese market reflects the brand’s adaptability to align synergies with new partners and local bottling companies.

With its success in over 200 countries, besides Cuba and North Korea, Coca-Cola is a celebrated brand that has built strong youth and cultural connections with its audience.

These brands offer us valuable insights into the range and depth of strategic planning for international business expansion. Their market penetration emphasizes the need to have a resilient and well-informed team with strong soft skills like adept in social networking, and resourcefulness.

Are you seeking to work with an international organization?
Become a professional expert in international trade with MBA ESGs MBA International Business.
Learn about the course, its opportunities, and its outcomes here.

Also read: 6 compelling reasons to join MBA International Business

Author: Mankiran