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Global Content

Entering International Markets Through Global Contests

The global economy developed when it became possible for businesses and brands to move goods, services, and capital transnationally. Whether your brand is looking to obtain a bigger global footprint or keep the one it already has will require strategic marketing initiatives. One way to become or stay relevant across the globe and expand your brand’s reach to new markets is to run an international contest. However, executing one requires international compliance with a myriad of country-specific laws and regulations to ensure fairness and legality.

Luckily, there are promotional agencies that can help administer your global contest so you can focus on the benefits of running one:

  • Exposure to new perspectives, cultures, and networks
  • Increase sales from new markets
  • Grow brand recognition

The cost to execute an international contest can be high due to the need to ensure compliance in every jurisdiction where people can participate. So, it is imperative to decide which countries are integral to your brand’s growth instead of trying to cast a broad net. Here are some of the most common issues that you may encounter when organizing an international contest, and some tips on how to deal with them.

Be Aware of Legal Issues with International Contests and Sweepstakes

International contests may involve legal issues such as intellectual property rights, data protection, where entries reside, whether the promotion structure is legal, taxation, registration/permits, and liability. These issues can vary depending on the country or jurisdiction where the contest is held or where the participants reside. To prevent this challenge, you should:

  • Consult a lawyer or promotional agency about the legal aspects of the contest
  • Comply with the data protection laws and regulations of the countries where you collect, store, or process personal data
  • Know if registration and permits are needed and what deadlines exist to obtain them

Don’t Let Language Barriers Hurt Your Brand

Depending on the contest rules and legal requirements, you may have to translate the official rules, advertising, and entry mechanism into the native language of each country. Indeed, some countries require this while others merely recommend it. This can pose difficulties in terms of communication and comprehension. It can also become an expensive endeavor for the brand sponsoring the contest. To overcome these challenges, you should:

  • Be laser specific when deciding which countries are most important for your brand’s growth
  • Use experienced translators who specialize in legalese
  • Clearly explain the tax implications of winning a prize in the Official Rules

Understand the Nuances of International Prize Fulfillment

One of the challenges of awarding prizes globally is knowing what kind of prize restrictions exist. If you are awarding a physical prize make sure it can be sent; FedEx, USPS, UPS, Western Union, and DHL have different guidelines and restrictions that are more complicated than simply how much a box can weigh. For example, jewelry, works of art, and perfume are restricted from being sent. Plus, cash can’t be sent to several countries in any of these forms: money orders, checks, vouchers, securities, bonds, coupons, promotions, and credit cards. Furthermore, Awarding cash in some countries is illegal. Even sending cash prizes to winners in countries that allow this type of prize can pose a problem due to banking and political regulations/sanctions which are subject to change at any time.  Set your contest and the winners up for success by doing the following:

  • Hire a promotion administration company or law firm to research if the prize you want to award is legal
  • Know if it is possible to get the prize to a winner in another country
  • Use a promotional agency with experience in sending prizes internationally

International contests can be a smart promotional tactic to help achieve your brand’s marketing and business goals if you are well-prepared and well-informed. By following these tips, you can avoid or overcome some of the common issues that may arise when organizing an international contest. Being strategic about where you run an international contest will save you money, and headaches, and avoid hassles from federal regulators in the United States and the countries where you run the contest. Good luck!