Aside from the cultural considerations when planning a promotional strategy, companies need to be aware of the regulatory and legal requirements in their selected target markets. Regulations and requirements can affect many things from how you use media advertising for your marketing campaigns, the ways you design and label your products for international sale, and even how you choose to package your product.

Regulations affecting media use

In most countries, media advertising is highly regulated. This is particularly true in North America, where strict standards and censorship are prevalent. These regulations are strongest for products that may have risks associated with health or other social acceptance connotations, such as the promotion of tobacco or alcohol products.

Product contents, safety standards or other such required notices or labelling must be adhered to. In addition, product claims or competitor comparisons may also be restricted depending upon the market regulations.

In short, a company needs to thoroughly research the media content and other related regulations prior to launching any promotional campaign in a specific jurisdiction.

Labelling requirements

Regulations for labelling vary greatly from country to country. For example, in Canada, labels must be bilingual and follow strict guidelines laid down by the federal government. In some countries, as many as five different languages are printed on labels and packages. The exporter will find that, in many countries, superlatives like “the best” or “the most effective” are banned, as are direct comparisons with competitors’ products.

Often, labels must display the word “imported” and the country of origin. Some countries, like France for example, are sensitive to labels on products that falsely imply from their design and name that they are made in France. Shipments will be confiscated if labels are illegally used.

The labelling of ingredients in processed food products can also present some problems, especially if the product contains artificial ingredients. They may require a complete chemical breakdown to make sure none are restricted in that particular country. This applies to items like food dye.

The Standards Council of Canada has a database that contains information on international standards for packaging and labelling. A Canadian trade representative can also help gather information on specific standards in a particular sector. Regulations often change, so the exporter must keep abreast of them.

Trade communities and blocs such as the European Community (EC) often have established uniform standards for products within their borders. However, this does not apply to labelling for imports, and this can lead to non-tariff barriers. For instance, if labelling is done in Canada, a German importer is legally obligated to inform the foreign supplier of all labelling requirements. The importer must supply a sample with the German translation to avoid errors.

Sourced from FITTskills International Marketing, 6th ed.

Read Top 4 Things to Consider when Designing a Promotional Strategy for the International Market – Part 2 here