Building a product for a global audience

Against a white background, 17 arms hold up a flag in each. The flags are from different countries, including the USA, Australia, Japan, the UK, France, Argentina, Jamaica, China, Italy, and South Africa. They represent the global workforce that Brightwell's payroll solution, Navigator, provides with secure and efficient access to their personal finances.A person holding a tablet with icons on it.

The age of the internet has created a vast marketplace that allows companies to sell products and services across oceans and continents, rather than just domestically. It’s great news for those wishing to expand their business to underserved markets and untapped consumer needs – but only if executed correctly. Creating and marketing a product for the global stage requires mindfulness and the ability to imagine your product from a point of view wholly different from your own.What’s seen as ingenious in your home country might be cumbersome, irrelevant, or even worse, offensive to a consumer on the other side of the world.

1. Be Ready to Break Your Own Rules

The foundational rule of building a product that will spark delight and be attractive to consumers the world over is this: do not attempt to create a product with a one-size-fits-all mentality. From the start, you must be flexible and willing to iterate, adapt, and mold your offerings for the myriad of cultures, environments, and usage styles that your product will be exposed to. When we considered what options to provide for our customers in the Philippines, we knew that in their culture cash is king. For this reason, we adjusted our model to their unique wants, needs, and cultural habits, and ensured there would be a cash pick-up option for remittances. This helped us remain valuable and relevant in that market.

2. Embrace and Encourage Diversity

It isn’t easy to stay on top of changing trends, cultural shifts, and opportunities for growth in economies that are functioning hundreds or even thousands of miles away. For this reason, it’s smart to have a dedicated member of your staff reviewing global fluctuations and constantly keeping tabs on changes that may affect the viability of your product.

Purposeful staffing is key overall: you cannot create a successful product for the global stage if you don’t have a diverse staff. A staff without varied backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs, and experiences means you’ll miss out on the chance to explore a variety of point of view and leverage different life experiences – all of which make your product stronger. Even if you’re not hiring your targeted end user, mindfully staffing your team will still produce a truer, more authentic result than a company comprised of like-minded producers with similar backgrounds.

3. Be User First

Your customers are why you have a product in the first place. Respect your users by making them the centerpiece in your company’s vision and values. We embrace this idea by frequently going on-ship and engaging first-hand with our end users. We conduct interviews and distribute surveys to learn more about their priorities, goals, and needs. We are constantly attempting to get closer to the people directly affected by our product and services.

Commit your resources to testing, learning, iterating and having as much face-to-face contact with your end users as possible. Deploy early and often to obtain feedback and recognize that your product doesn’t have to be completely fleshed out in order to get reactions through user testing. Understanding human behavior is the key to building a successful product for a global audience. If you lose sight of what is meaningful to your user, you also lose global product viability.

4. Replicate Your Attitude Company-Wide

Remember that no man is an island. From the executive level of your ranks to your newest hires, you cannot expect your product to succeed globally if you don’t have full buy-in from your staff on your core tenets. This starts with senior leadership. At Brightwell, we broadcast our company’s mentality of diversity, empathy, and a user-first focus to keep our goals top of mind for everyone, and it fortifies us as a team. Strategically hiring individuals who are entrepreneurial-minded and looking to join a philanthropic cause that helps unbanked consumers reach a brighter financial future has pushed Brightwell’s product to excel – because our team is focused on the same end result and is seeking the same personal fulfillment from making the world a better, more accessible place.

Launching your product to a global audience is only as lofty as you make it – continuing to innovate and find new ways to be of service to diverse, unique users will open the door for your products to become real players, both at home and abroad. The rest of the work comes from the product itself, and its desirability to consumers around the world. With a dedication to your user and outside-the-box thinking, you’re well on your way to becoming a global hero.