Guide to Breaking into the US Market: Tips for Foreign Businesses

Breaking into the US Market

How to Make Your Brand Appeal to American Clients, Part 3 of 3

Breaking into the US Market: Storytelling, Testimonials, Diversity

If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can read it here. 

If you missed Part 2 of this series, you can read it here. 

For many businesses around the world, entering the American market is a big goal. 

But it’s not just about good products or services. Understanding American customers is key. 

This is the third and last part of our series, “How to Make Your Brand Appeal to American Clients.”

Here, we talk about three important ideas:

  1. telling a unique story, infused with American ideals
  2. using customer feedback & why it’s so big in the US market
  3. being sensitive to American cultural diversity

These are important for connecting with American buyers and building a strong brand.

We will see how good stories can attract customers, why customer opinions are important for improving your brand (perhaps more so than in other cultures), and how to respect American culture in your business.

I’ll also give you an example of a company that does exceptionally well in each area, so you can take inspiration from them, for your own business. 

Let’s go!

Storytelling for Breaking into the US Market: Offer a Unique and Compelling Story

1. Understanding the Power of Storytelling for breaking into the US market

For a foreign company entering the U.S. market, understanding the power of storytelling is crucial.

 American consumers are not just buying a product or service; they’re often looking to connect with a brand’s story. 

This connection goes beyond the functional benefits of a product; it taps into emotions and values, creating a deeper, more memorable relationship with the brand.

In the U.S., storytelling in marketing should emphasize authenticity and relatability. American customers value genuine stories that reflect real experiences, challenges, or aspirations. 

A story that resonates emotionally or aligns with their values can be a powerful motivator for choosing one brand over another.

Plus, American audiences appreciate innovation and uniqueness in storytelling. A narrative that stands out, whether through creativity, humor, or inspiring messages, can capture attention in a saturated, highly-competitive market. 

Finally, inclusivity is key. 

The U.S. is a diverse country, and stories that embrace this diversity — showing understanding and respect for different backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles — will likely appeal more broadly and foster a sense of community among consumers.

By mastering the art of storytelling, foreign companies can create a strong emotional bond with American consumers, which is essential for long-term success in the competitive U.S. market.

2. Crafting Your Compelling Story, American-style

For a foreign company that wants to connect with U.S. customers, one thing that can help you stand out from others: create a compelling story that resonates with American values. 

These values are deeply rooted in the American psyche and include ingenuity, liberty, audacity, and individuality. 

Americans often see themselves as brave, independent pioneers. 

Side note: This is, in my opinion, one of the reasons  that the video game “Oregon Trail” was a huge success in the 1980s: because it tapped into the American sense of going out to explore new frontiers, being brave enough to risk your (virtual) life to reach a bold goal. 

It became such a part of American pop culture that most people of the generation born between 1977 and 1985 (including me!) grew up playing this game. And now, we are sometimes called “The Oregon Trail generation”! 

To create your brand’s own “pioneer story”, include ideas in your storytelling that reflect the aspirational aspects of the American identity. 

This includes presenting your product or service as a tool for achieving success through hard work and determination. If appropriate, emphasize how your brand can help in the pursuit of personal goals. This speaks to the American ethos of ambition, self-realization, and achievement.

When appropriate, create your storytelling to align with regional preferences and the unique characteristics of local identities. 

Starting with a focused strategy targeting a specific region can be more effective than attempting nationwide appeal at once. 

This localized approach helps in understanding and connecting with the various cultures and subcultures within the U.S., making your brand’s story more relevant and engaging to different segments of the market.

3. Integrating Storytelling in Marketing Strategies

Now that you know how powerful storytelling can be in your US marketing strategy, HOW can you do it? Here are some ideas:

    • 1. Create a Relatable Narrative: Your brand’s story should reflect a journey or struggle that American consumers can identify with. This could involve overcoming challenges or innovating to make life better. The narrative should be authentic and emotionally engaging, allowing consumers to see a part of themselves in your brand.
    • 2. Emphasize American Values: Include aspects like independence, ambition, and resilience – qualities that many Americans admire. Show how your product or service aligns with these values, making it a part of their aspirational lifestyle, not just something they buy. 
    • 3. Localized Storytelling: Understand that the U.S. is diverse, with regional differences. Customize your storytelling to resonate with local cultures and preferences. This might mean creating different versions of your story for different regions or demographics.
    • 4. Use Multiple Channels: Disseminate your story across various platforms – social media, advertisements, your website, and even packaging. Consistency across channels is key, but so is adapting the storytelling format to suit each medium effectively.
    • 5. Incorporate Customer Experiences: Americans value peer opinions. Include testimonials or user-generated content in your story, showing real-life applications and satisfactions with your product.

Case Study of a Company Excelling at Storytelling: Apple in the USA

Apple’s Approach in the U.S. Market
Emotional and Innovative Storytelling:

Apple, an American technology company, excels in storytelling by creating narratives that blend innovation with emotion.

Their marketing often highlights how their products enhance lives, connecting with American consumers who value technology that is both cutting-edge and personally meaningful.

Product-Centered Narratives:
In the U.S., Apple’s storytelling centers around its products, portraying them as not just gadgets but as essential elements of a modern lifestyle.

For example, the iPhone is presented not merely as a phone but as a gateway to connectivity, creativity, and convenience, resonating with the American emphasis on efficiency and innovation.

Inspirational Brand Messaging:
Apple’s marketing campaigns in the U.S. often feature stories of individuals using their products to achieve extraordinary things, from everyday creativity to groundbreaking innovations.

This aligns with the American ideal of individual achievement and the transformative power of technology.

By mastering the art of storytelling, Apple has successfully tapped into the American psyche, presenting their products as integral to the American way of life.

This strategy has not only solidified Apple’s position as a leading brand in the U.S. but has also deeply connected with American customers who see technology as a key part of their identity and aspirations.

Incorporate Customer Feedback and Testimonials to Successfully Break into the US Market

The importance of customer feedback & reviews in American business

In the USA, customer testimonials and feedback are very important for companies.

They can have a big effect on how successful a business is. Some might even say that online reviews can make or break a business! This might be more important in the USA than in some other cultures.

In the US, people often trust what other customers say about a product more than the company’s own advertising.

When people see good reviews and positive stories from other customers, they feel more confident to buy the product.

Feedback also helps companies know what they are doing well and what they need to fix. If customers don’t like something, the company can change it to make it better, AND communicate around the fact that they did so!

This also shows “We listen to our customers”, which is important for Americans’ high standards of customer service.

And careful, Americans often share their opinions online. They write reviews and talk about products on social media A LOT.

This makes feedback and testimonials even more powerful in the USA, and like I said, can even make or break a business, especially service-based businesses.

Showcasing Testimonials and Reviews

For a foreign company entering the U.S. market, effectively showcasing testimonials and reviews is vital for building trust with American customers.

One effective strategy is to make customer reviews and testimonials a prominent feature on the company website and to share them regularly on popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Americans often rely on social proof before making purchases, so seeing positive experiences from other customers can significantly influence their decisions.

Additionally, incorporating video testimonials can be particularly impactful. In the U.S., consumers are drawn to visual content, and videos of real customers sharing their experiences can be more engaging and persuasive than written reviews.

Including customer testimonials in both online and offline advertising campaigns can enhance their effectiveness, as American consumers tend to trust peer recommendations more than traditional advertising.

Finally, it’s crucial to engage with customer feedback by responding to reviews.

This not only shows that the company values its customers’ opinions but also demonstrates a commitment to excellent customer service, further enhancing the brand’s reputation among American consumers.

By adopting these strategies, foreign companies can establish a strong foothold in the competitive U.S. market.

Learning and Evolving from Feedback

For a foreign company entering the U.S. market, effectively utilizing customer feedback is essential.

American consumers are outspoken about their preferences, providing a rich source of information.

Companies can use surveys, social media, and direct interactions to gather this feedback, which is key to understanding and adapting to the American market.

Analyzing this feedback helps identify consumer trends and preferences, guiding product development and service improvements.

If customers express a liking for specific features, the company can incorporate these into their offerings.

Moreover, American consumers value transparency and responsiveness. Companies should actively respond to feedback, addressing complaints and acknowledging customer input in shaping their products.

This responsiveness not only improves products but also builds brand loyalty.

By prioritizing customer feedback, foreign companies can better meet American market expectations and establish a strong presence in the U.S.

This approach is crucial in maintaining customer satisfaction, a core value in American business culture.

Case Study of a Company Excelling at Incorporating Customer Feedback and Testimonials: Amazon in the USA

Amazon’s Approach in the U.S. Market
Leveraging Customer Reviews

Amazon, a global e-commerce giant, has effectively utilized customer feedback and reviews in its U.S. market strategy.

The platform’s review system allows customers to share their experiences with products, providing valuable insights for other potential buyers.

Enhancing Buyer Decision-Making
In the U.S., Amazon’s integration of customer reviews directly into its product pages empowers consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Reviews often include detailed accounts of product performance, quality, and usability, catering to American consumers’ desire for transparency and peer opinions.

Continuous Improvement Through Feedback
Amazon actively analyzes customer feedback to identify areas for improvement in both its product offerings and overall shopping experience.

This responsiveness to customer needs and preferences has been instrumental in shaping Amazon’s market dominance in the U.S.

By prioritizing customer feedback and making it a central aspect of its marketing strategy, Amazon has fostered a sense of trust and reliability among American consumers.

This approach has not only enhanced the shopping experience for U.S. customers but also contributed to Amazon’s reputation as a customer-centric brand.

Embracing Cultural Sensitivity and Inclusivity When Breaking into the US Market
Understanding American Cultural Nuances

For a foreign company entering the U.S. market, grasping cultural nuances is essential for success.

The U.S. has significant regional differences and diverse social norms and values, and this influences consumer behavior.

Understanding regional variations is crucial because marketing strategies and product preferences that work in one part of the country may not be effective in another. Tailoring approaches to suit these regional distinctions is key.

However, there are some tendencies that apply broadly to American consumers. Typically, they value individualism, innovation, and convenience, and they are often motivated by personal achievement.

Aligning marketing and product design with these values can enhance your brand’s appeal.

Inclusive Marketing Strategies

For a foreign company entering the US market, inclusive marketing is key to success.

The US is known for its cultural diversity, and advertising should reflect this.

Showing that a company values all customers, regardless of their background, is crucial in connecting with the American audience.

In advertisements, it’s important to feature people from various races, ages, and lifestyles, demonstrating respect for the country’s diversity.

Understanding different cultures in the US is also essential to create ads that resonate with these groups.

Using real stories from diverse individuals in advertising can make the product more relatable to a broader audience. Additionally, being open to feedback and ready to adjust advertisements if they are seen as not inclusive is important.

This aspect of inclusivity and diversity is much more important and present in American advertising than in many other countries.

And inclusive marketing helps foreign companies connect with a wide range of American customers, showing respect for the diversity that defines American society.

Inclusive and diverse marketing & advertising is often overlooked by many foreign businesses, but can significantly enhance your brand’s appeal in the US market.

Avoiding Cultural Faux Pas

For a foreign company coming into the US market, it is very important to avoid cultural mistakes.

These mistakes can make American customers feel upset or not respected and alienate your business. Here are some things a company should to to avoid cultural mistakes:

1. Learn About American Culture: I know this one sounds obvious, but I’ve seen so many mistakes on this because people thought they “understood” American culture because they’ve attended a few US conferences, and like to take vacations to the US.

Before making ads or products, the company should learn a lot about American culture. This includes understanding what is important to Americans and what might be offensive.

2. Use Cultural Experts: It’s a good idea to work with people who know a lot about American culture. They can help the company make sure their marketing and products are respectful and appropriate. If you need help with this, book a meeting with us today.

3. Be Careful with Language: Sometimes, words or phrases or humor that are okay in one country can be rude or misunderstood in another. The company should check that the language in their ads is clear and respectful in American English.

4. Test Marketing Materials: Before using ads widely, the company should test them with a small group of Americans. This helps to find and fix any cultural mistakes that you may not be able to see.

5. Be Ready to Change: If Americans say that something the company does is insensitive, the company should be ready to change it quickly. Take it seriously, and don’t brush people off as “overly-sensitive” or “woke.”
Taking their remarks into consideration shows that you respect your customers and are serious about doing well in the US market.

Case Study of a Company Excelling at Embracing Cultural Sensitivity and Inclusivity: Coca-Cola in the USA

Coca-Cola’s Approach in the U.S. Market

Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion 

Coca-Cola, an iconic global beverage company, stands out for its commitment to cultural sensitivity and inclusivity in its marketing strategies in the U.S. 

Their campaigns often feature individuals from diverse backgrounds and communities, reflecting the rich tapestry of American society.

Inclusive Advertising Campaigns

In the U.S., Coca-Cola’s advertisements frequently showcase people of different ethnicities, ages, and lifestyles, embracing the diversity that characterizes the nation. This approach resonates with American consumers who value representation and inclusivity in brand messaging.

Supporting Cultural Events and Initiatives

Coca-Cola actively participates in and sponsors cultural events and initiatives across various communities in the U.S. 

This engagement demonstrates their commitment to understanding and celebrating the unique cultural nuances of different American subcultures.

By integrating cultural sensitivity and inclusivity into its marketing strategies, Coca-Cola has effectively connected with a broad spectrum of American consumers. 

This approach not only strengthens their brand image in the U.S. but also aligns with the values of a significant segment of American customers who appreciate and support brands that recognize and respect cultural diversity.


In conclusion, navigating the American market requires a blend of storytelling, customer feedback integration, and cultural sensitivity. 

As we’ve seen from companies like Apple, Amazon, and Coca-Cola, excelling in these areas can significantly enhance your brand’s appeal to American consumers, and beyond. 

Each of these strategies plays a pivotal role in resonating with the diverse and dynamic U.S. audience. If you’re a foreign company looking to break into this vibrant market, understanding and applying these principles is crucial for your success. 

And if you missed them, be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this 3-part series. 

Are you ready to explore how these strategies can be tailored to your brand? 

Book a meeting with us today, and let’s discuss how we can help you connect with and convert your American prospects into loyal customers. 

Your journey to success in the American market starts here, so let’s go! 

Coming up in next week’s article: 

One of the quickest & easiest ways to get your brand ready for the US market is to start by optimizing your LinkedIn profile in English, to attract American customers. 

And that’s what I’ll talk about in January, with a whole series dedicated to making your LinkedIn profile a magnet for getting more American clients. 

Sign up to my email list today so you don’t miss that essential series! 

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