Information for exporters on the importance of a product's secondary features, such as packaging, warranties and services when entering into cross-border trade. This article is part of the U.S. Commercial Service's "A Basic Guide to Exporting".
Last Published: 10/20/2016
Consumers are concerned with both the product itself and the product’s secondary features, such as packaging, warranties, and services. Branding and labeling products in foreign markets raise new considerations for your company, such as:
  • Are international brand names important to promote and distinguish a product? Conversely, should local brands or private labels be used to heighten local interest?
  • Are the colors used on labels and packages offensive or attractive to the foreign buyer? For example, in some countries certain colors are associated with death.
  • Can labels and instructions be produced in official or customary languages if required by law or practice?
  • Does information on product content and country of origin have to be provided?
  • Are weights and measures stated in the local unit? Even with consumer products, packaging and describing contents in metric measurements (e.g., kilograms, liters) can be important.
  • Must each item be labeled individually? What is the language of the labeling? For example, “Made in the USA” may not be acceptable; the product may need to be labeled in the language spoken by the country’s consumers. There may be special labeling requirements for foods, pharmaceuticals, and other products.
  • Are local tastes and knowledge considered? A cereal box with the picture of U.S. athlete on it may not be as attractive to overseas consumers as the picture of a local sports hero.
Your U.S. brand name is important to you,but it may be less important to foreign consumers.On the other hand, is some places, it may be more valuable than it is in the U.S.
A visible endorsement from a famous person may get sales at home,but the same person may be unknown-or,worse,disliked-elsewhere.