Please note that this is an automated transcript.
Welcome to The Bicultural Podcast. The Bicultural Podcast celebrates cross-cultural identity and gives insight into cultural differences to help you improve business relationships. The podcast is published biweekly and is hosted by myself, Janina Neumann, a bilingual creative social entrepreneur and business owner of Janina Neumann Design.
Welcome to the Bicultural Podcast. I’m so pleased that you’ve joined me for another season of The Bicultural Podcast. It’s fantastic to have you here and I can’t believe that I set up this podcast in 2020 when the pandemic started and this journey began. And it’s fantastic to see how much I’ve learned, but also I’ve done some reflecting on how I took JND international and how I basically created my brand presence. An international brand presence. And it’s just fantastic also to see the amount of people who are listening to the podcast. I’ve actually managed to have listeners from all around the world, from every continent. So that’s really exciting.
So to start off the season, I’d like to talk about how I took my brand, JND, international, and also give you some tips on how you can improve your brand presence online. So you may be a regular listener or you may be a new listener.
So I’ll give you some background information. So I grew up bilingual. I knew that speaking German and English fluently would give me some sort of advantage in business. So when I set up my business in 2016, I started to do some networking, but I kind of found that the group that I was networking with, it was a local group. So based in Worcestershire didn’t really resonate with the international messaging. So I decided to focus on building my credibility locally. And this was actually really important for my business, which I didn’t realize at the time. And I’ll take you through that journey in a minute.
So I was in my early 20s when I set up my business, and at times I found it really difficult to be taken seriously. And I had to remind several people that I wasn’t actually their apprentice working for them, but I was actually the business owner working with their company. A really important distinction of how you’re treated, but also about how you work together with your client to make them achieve their goals and to help them along their way. So bit by bit, I built up my portfolio and started receiving type setting requests for English and German reports. And I really enjoyed this work. And I found that most graphic designers in the area didn’t possess these skills, and these were really needed for the job as well, to be fluent in German and English. And at the time, I didn’t know anyone else who would do that. So it’s a win-win situation.
Then in 2017, I visited Medica, which is a trade show in Germany. And this really inspired me to make more of my bilingual skill sets. So Medica invites companies to exhibit and to visit from all around the world. So it’s really international. And I sat in on one of the meetings that my client had, and I just loved observing the interactions between cultures. And this is where it really began, where I realized actually I would love to develop the skill set where I could design for an international audience, but also facilitate sales conversations and marketing conversations by knowing more about different cultures. And then I started researching how to access this international sector. And I started traveling to conferences and trade missions just to get a feel of the industry and whether I feel fitted in or not. And looking back at it now, I understand why I felt frustrated at times because I recognize now that the reason why I felt I’ll displace at these conferences is because I didn’t have the confidence in myself to feel like I belonged, even though I really wanted to. And at this stage, I didn’t really have partners or collaborators who were in that field. And the way my business going now, I realize how important it is to have business partners and collaborators working with you with a similar mission and making things happen. And sharing skill sets and experiences is so important, especially when dealing internationally, because when you work with more than one person, you have multiple perspectives, which is key when dealing with different cultures, but also it helps you to widen your network and helps you get through those difficult times as well. Just maintaining the vision is really important.
So back to my story to when I started travelling to conferences and trade missions. I met some great people attending these events, some of whom I still work with now and have become business partners or collaborators. And the point at which I felt like things really came together was when I had built sufficient credibility locally with the projects that I was working on, and that partners and collaborators trusted me enough to work together. So that’s really important. And when I reflect back about that networking group which I was attending, where I just kind of fell into building my credibility locally, that was actually the right thing to do. So this is a key learning here. Build your brand locally first, then take it internationally. Doing it the other way around will be much more difficult.
So in 2020, I also decided to split my activity into two brands. JND, which grows brands for local communities, and Local to Global, which grows brands for international markets and Local to Global is a brand that I co-founded with the amazing Eva Túnez Salvador, who is the owner of Genuine Translations. So I basically I decided to work with someone who had the experience of running a translation agency just so translation and design could finally work together because there’s nothing more frustrating and then working apart. And for example, previously I’d get translations and the translator didn’t know what design I would be using or creating. And it was kind of a mishmash of ideas. And a mishmash of ideas is not great when you are trying to promote a brand, because if the design and the messaging is confusing, well, the customer is definitely going to be confused.
So two years on, I’m delighted that my work activity is 40% local and 60% international. So this is a great place to be and it’s a great place to be in my 6th year of business. So for all those people who are just starting out, it takes time. So many people will tell you that. And it’s about finding people that you enjoy working with to make that time pass a little bit quicker so that you get into your fifth year, which usually makes you feel like you’ve arrived at your point and you have your network and your client projects together and you have a real vision about where you want to head because you’ve tried out a lot. And if you have any questions about going international, then I’d love to hear from you. Contact details are in the episode notes.
So reflecting on how I built my brand presence, I just wanted to share some tips with you to help you get started about building your brand presence internationally.
So, number one, research what social media platforms or apps are used by your target market.
And that might seem quite simple and overused, but it’s so important. So, for example, in the UK, LinkedIn is very popular with most service professionals. However, in Germany, Zing is the preferred platform and LinkedIn is rarely used. Also, in Xing, the content is in German. So it’s important that if you are on that platform, that you communicate in German and you also have a German perspective on your marketing materials. And the Digital Marketing Institute published a really interesting article as well. Social media, what countries use it most and what are they using? And for example, it’s really interesting seem to have a look at their data. So in the Philippines, for example, YouTube is the most used platform. And in Brazil as well, in Kenya, it’s actually WhatsApp Nigeria, it’s WhatsApp Mexico YouTube Gallery is, WhatsApp Indonesia is YouTube. And I find that really fascinating because when we feel like, oh, we don’t feel really comfortable with a certain platform, we just use the platform that we’re used to, but we might not have a chance to communicate effectively with the audience because we might not even find them. So research what social media platforms or apps are used by your target market.
Tip number two show up consistently.
So last year you may remember that everyone was on clubhouse and many argued that this was the best platform to be on. So a year on, I think there’s been a noticeable drop off because people found it perhaps exhausting to show up to clubhouse consistently and also coming out of the pandemic, not everyone found it practical to listen to content rather than maybe they wanted to read it instead. And also the limitations of having to physically speak to someone if you wanted to interact with someone rather than typing a comment into a post. So convenience may be one thing that may be preventing you on others from showing up consistently. The other thing may be that just because you don’t enjoy a platform, you might not want to go on there consistently. So with anything in business, we need to work on our strengths. And if we don’t show up consistently because we don’t enjoy the platform, then we can’t get any better at it either. So my tip is to choose two platforms to focus on and to deliver content at least two times a week on these platforms because practice makes perfect and improves your visibility along the way.
Tip number three, build your Google My Business Profile.
So first question, are you registered on Google My Business and have you verified your account? I speak to too many businesses who overlook this amazing opportunity. It’s amazing because Google is widely used as a search engine across the world and Google My Business is a tool built by Google. When we think about improving our online presence, we need to use the tools offered by the platforms we are interacting with. They prefer the people who use their tools, so using them will positively improve your presence on these platforms as it will favor their algorithm. So on Google My Business, I’d like you to check a few things. As I said, have you raised your business? Are all the contact details up to date? Have you added photos? If you don’t have an office picture to share, add a headshot to make your profile more personable. Do you have a minimum of ten reviews? If not, make it your goal for the next month to get ten reviews. You’ll be more than surprised that other business owners will be more than happy to help you along the way because they have the same pain as well. But this pain is so worthwhile. I’m always surprised at how many people don’t use this opportunity. And also in my local area, there are not that many graphic designers who even have one reviews. So if you make it a focus to build your brand locally and then internationally, having at least ten reviews will help you really along the way. And lastly, have you added your events or workshops onto your Google My Business page? Again, Google loves it and favors those who use it tools. So add any events or workshops that you’re doing to your Google My Business page and put a reminder in your calendar to update this every month.
So I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s session. And if you’d like to help have some help with building your international brand presence, feel free to contact me and book in a clarity call. And also, I’d love to hear from you about the things that you’re going to put into practice over the next month to help you build your international presence.
Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed today’s episode, then why not subscribe, review and share with others. You can also find all transcripts available at transcripts.thebiculturalpodcast.com. Thank you for listening and “bis bald”.
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