Checklist to keep in mind as Indian agencies expand internationally

As agencies strive to expand their presence, they must check all the right boxes to navigate the competitive landscape and achieve sustainable growth. Experts share insights on the complexities of global expansion from their experiences.

Pranali Tawte
New Update
global expansion

As agencies aim to broaden their reach and impact on a global scale, it becomes challenging to navigate the competitive landscape and foster sustainable growth. Expanding into international markets presents a significant milestone for agencies seeking to connect with diverse audiences and seize new opportunities. However, this pursuit demands more than just visionary planning—it requires a profound comprehension of local customs, preferences, and consumer behaviour.

At the fourth edition of AgencyCon, a host of panellists dissected the complexities of global expansion strategies and shared a checklist that agencies should adhere to when venturing into new markets.

On the panel, we had:

Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and Co-Founder, TheSmallBigIdea

Rikki Agarwal, Co-Founder, Chief Business & Operating Officer, Blink Digital

Sowmya Iyer, Founder & CEO, DViO Digital 

Hitarth Dadia, Partner & CMO at NOFILTR.GROUP

Mrinil Mathur Rajwani, Managing Partner, Social Samosa Network, Founder and Editor, Social Ketchup chaired the session. 

When discussing the essential components of a checklist for entering an international market, experts highlighted several critical factors. These included immersion, talent recruitment, cultural adaptation, and strategic partnerships.

Cultural immersion

Sowmya Iyer, Founder and CEO of DViO Digital, emphasised the importance of immersion as a fundamental aspect of entering new markets. She stressed the need for agencies to deeply immerse themselves in the local culture, customs, and consumer behaviour. By understanding the nuances of different markets, agencies can tailor their strategies effectively and resonate with their target audience.

Iyer outlined their approach, which involves dedicating separate teams for various regions and sending key talent to immerse themselves in these markets for extended periods. 

She said, “Cultural immersion is the key and we have separate teams for different regions.”

This immersive strategy enables agencies to gain firsthand insights, build relationships, and adapt their services to meet the specific needs of each market.

Need for diverse skill sets

Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO & Co-Founder of TheSmallBigIdea, underscored the significance of talent recruitment in global expansion efforts. Pillai highlighted the importance of hiring individuals with diverse skill sets and cultural backgrounds to navigate the complexities of international markets successfully.

Citing an example of hiring Arab culture specialists to understand local customs and preferences in specific regions, he said, "It's important to hire somebody locally."

By assembling a team with a deep understanding of the local culture and consumer behaviour, agencies can ensure their strategies are culturally sensitive and resonate with the target audience.

Cultural adaptation and strategic partnerships

Hitarth Dadia, Partner & CMO at NOFILTR.GROUP, emphasised the need for cultural adaptation and strategic partnerships when expanding globally. Dadia emphasised the role of content and content creators in bridging cultural gaps and fostering cross-cultural understanding. He highlighted the importance of showcasing diverse perspectives and experiences to engage global audiences effectively.

He said, "The domain we are in has no borders. The more awareness you can bring by going to different regions, the more you can do. We look at the overall habitat for content, it makes sense for it to expand. I don't see the appetite for content going away anytime soon. It's global nature."

Dadia also discussed the value of strategic partnerships with local influencers and content creators to amplify reach and authenticity in new markets. By collaborating with individuals who have a deep understanding of the local culture and preferences, agencies can enhance their credibility and resonance with the target audience.

Trends that distinguish Indian agencies

Rikki Agarwal, Co-Founder, Chief Business & Operating Officer, Blink Digital shared the key trends that distinguish Indian agencies when they venture into global markets such as the US, Europe, or Australia.

One significant trend highlighted by Agarwal was the cultural differences between Indian and Western work environments, noting that the fast-paced and demanding nature of business in India cultivates a resilience and resourcefulness that resonates positively with clients abroad. He pointed out that while Western agencies may operate within more regulated frameworks, Indian agencies thrive in dynamic and high-pressure scenarios, enabling them to deliver results efficiently and effectively.

He said, “We are put into a lot of stressful situations in India because of the nature of the business, the nature of the client. And because of that, we can easily adapt to local culture, especially in the US as they are a bit more relaxed, there are labour laws, they understand the boundaries, and more.”

Agarwal also touched upon the adaptability and agility inherent in Indian agency culture. He emphasised the importance of being able to quickly adapt to diverse environments and client needs, citing examples of complex project requirements where adaptability becomes paramount. This ability to navigate complexity and rapidly respond to evolving situations sets Indian agencies apart on the global stage.

As agencies navigate the complexities of international markets, cultural immersion, and strategic hiring, diverse skill sets, adaptability, resilience, and client-centric approach will remain indispensable pillars for achieving sustainable growth and success on a global scale.

We'd like to thank all our partners for supporting this endeavour: 

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cultural diversity diverse skill sets agency expansion taking Indian agencies to the world