What Is Transnational Strategy? Benefits, Challenges, and Examples

blog post thumbnail

Written by

Adedamola Ojedokun

Guzzling sake with Tokyo’s bon vivants is not the only benefit of going translational.

There are also higher revenues.

Risk diversification.

Better brand recognition.

There are many more benefits and challenges of transnational strategy.

Too many to cram into one intro.

So feel free to skip it to learn:

-What is transnational strategy?

-Benefits of implementing a transnational business strategy

-Challenges of transnational strategy

-How to develop a transnational strategy

-6 examples of transnational strategies

Pro tip: Enhance your market penetration and global success by incorporating localization management tools like Centus into your transnational strategy. Learn more.

What Is Transnational Strategy?

what is a transnational strategy

A transnational strategy is a business expansion strategy that combines global standardization with a degree of local adaptation.

The strategy integrates numerous areas of business operations (like production, marketing, and distribution) across different countries while aligning with local market conditions and preferences.

Note: Transnational strategy is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It only benefits companies capable of combining global resources with local knowledge.

Benefits of a Transnational Strategy

A transnational strategy offers several benefits for businesses that are interested in expanding their global reach.

Enhanced market presence and reach

a warehouse with goods

Source: Unsplash

A transnational strategy gives your company a one-way ticket to the global stage. It's like being the leading man in a global movie, with your products and services reaching every corner of the globe.

By going transnational, your brand can become a global sensation, from the bustling streets of Tokyo to the lovely cafes of Paris.

Economies of scale and cost efficiency


Source: Pexels

A holy grail of business is generating more while spending less. That is what a transnational strategy does for your company.

A transnational strategy can help you centralize certain operations, thereby helping you get economies of scale that would make even the most frugal accountant crack a smile.

This brings about bulk purchasing, streamlined production processes, and shared resources, all of which drive down costs and boost profit margins.

Knowledge sharing and innovation

two people communicating and taking notes

Source: Pexels

Have you ever had an epiphany while talking with a friend? When you engage across boundaries, the same magic happens. A transnational strategy brings together creative minds from all over the world, igniting a symphony of creativity.

Fresh ideas, various viewpoints, and inventive solutions converge in a spectacular display of intellectual fireworks.

Adaptation to local preferences

People dancing

Source: Pexels

A transnational strategy allows you to modify your offerings to local preferences in the same way that you adjust your sail when the wind changes. You're the resourceful navigator sailing through turbulent waters, whether it's changing flavors, colors, or features.

Your local subsidiaries rapidly evolve, seamlessly fitting in with different cultures and offering exactly what people crave.

Risk diversification and resilience

graphs and a laptop

Source: Pexels

Let's face it: the corporate world can be a chaotic roller coaster with unexpected twists and turns. But don't worry! A transnational strategy does not put all of your eggs in one basket. You're like a talented juggler, juggling numerous balls at once.

When one market experiences turbulence, you can seamlessly change your focus to another, thereby keeping your business balanced and successful.

Challenges of Adopting a Transnational Strategy

While we can’t deny the allure of conquering global markets, the path to achieving transnational success is filled with obstacles that would make even the bravest entrepreneur think twice.

Let's take a look at the challenges you'll face as you embark on this task:

Cultural and social barriers

Picture this: You're launching your cutting-edge device in a market thousands of miles away from your headquarters. The specifications are excellent, the design is stylish, and the excitement is palpable.

However, the colors that represent fortune in your culture may scream misfortune in the local market. Ouch!

Breaking down cultural barriers can be likened to hosting a global party where everyone's invited, and the dress code is cryptic yet crucial.

Regulatory and legal issues

A transnational strategy requires compliance with many regulatory frameworks, legal systems, and government regulations.

Each country may have its own set of rules and regulations, which might range from import-export limitations to environmental standards.

Just when you think you've got things right, a new tax regulation is introduced. In this situation, legal experts for all local branches are your best partners.

Coordination and communication challenges

Maintaining seamless coordination between teams that are thousands of miles apart can feel like conducting a chorus via a shaky internet connection.

Miscommunication and misunderstandings can easily occur, turning your strategic masterstroke into a chorus of uncertainty.

Balancing global consistency and local variation

Balancing global consistency with local variation is a challenge that requires a skillful approach. Sure, your brand's characteristic turquoise may be an instant smash in your native country, but it may be out of place in another culture.

Finding the sweet spot between keeping your global brand identity and adapting to local preferences is like preparing a meal that mixes your grandmother's secret sauce with unique spices from distant regions.

Talent management and human resource issues

Workplace culture, expectations, and even language differences can all contribute to misunderstandings and blunders. Maintaining a balance between cohesion and cultural awareness is the key to unlocking your global workforce's true potential.

How to Develop a Transnational Business Strategy

Creating a transnational business strategy requires maintaining a balance between global integration and local adaptation. It involves careful preparation, effective communication, and a willingness to regularly react to changing market conditions.

Here are tips to consider when developing and implementing a successful transnational business strategy:

how to develop a transnational business strategy

#1 Conduct market research and analysis

Comprehensive market research and analysis are two of the core elements of a successful transnational strategy.

Before entering new markets or expanding operations, you must have a thorough grasp of the different factors that can affect your operations, both internationally and locally.

Here are tips you can use to carry out comprehensive market research and analysis:

Properly define your scope

Imagine yourself as an explorer planning an expedition. You must first define the scope of your quest before embarking on it.

Will you conquer distant lands, vibrant cities, or untouched markets?

Make sure to properly define your geographical boundaries, target demographics, and product or service offerings. A laser-like focus here will keep you from wandering and wasting precious resources.

Collect market intelligence

Now that you've charted your course, it's time to find the hidden treasures of market intelligence. Search through information, such as demographic trends, economic statistics, and consumer behavior.

Examine the peaks and valleys of demand cycles, the ebbs and flows of purchasing power, and the peculiarities that define local preferences.

These information sources will influence your strategy, ensuring that your products profoundly resonate with each local market you penetrate.

Embrace the power of competitor analysis

Knowing your market is not enough. You also need to know your opponents.

Examine their strengths and limitations, as well as the international business strategies driving their success. Are they ignoring a specific market? Are there service gaps? These insights can help you outmaneuver your opponents on the global stage.

Examine regulatory requirements

No adventure is without challenges, and the global business scene is no exception. Explore each market's regulatory landscape. Learn about the legal intricacies, trade policies, and commercial rules that will govern your entry.

How high are tariffs? Are there compliance requirements? Complete awareness of the regulatory environment serves as your compass, preventing you from running into legal issues.

#2 Establish a clear organizational structure and decision-making processes

A well-defined organizational structure and seamless decision-making processes are critical components of a transnational strategy.

Chaos can occur in the absence of a clear organizational structure and effective decision-making systems, resulting in uncertainty, delays, and wasted opportunities.

Here’s how you can create a clear organizational structure and decision-making processes for a successful transnational strategy:

Hierarchical harmony

Define clear reporting lines as well as duties and accountability. Consider a matrix structure that blends global functions with local divisions, allowing for centralized control while also allowing for local response.

This harmonic hierarchy facilitates smooth communication and decision-making across boundaries.

Establish a clear decision-making process

Decisions, decisions, decisions! The lifeblood of any business strategy.

Create a clear decision-making process that outlines the power and responsibility levels at various organizational levels. Allow local teams to make operational decisions daily while delegating higher-level decisions to centralized leadership.

Knowledge sharing

Imagine a global brainstorming session in which ideas fly across time zones and cultures. That is the power of cross-border communication and knowledge sharing.

Encourage an open discussion culture in which teams from different parts of the world share insights, innovations, and best practices.

Tailored training

To navigate the varied landscapes of a transnational strategy, your teams need to master the art of adaptation. You can provide your teams with the necessary tools by offering cross-cultural training programs.

Examples of these training programs include language proficiency courses and cultural awareness workshops.

#3 Ensure effective cross-cultural communication and training

The ability to navigate the vast tapestry of cultures, languages, and practices that make up our diverse globe is critical to the success of a transnational strategy. That's where effective cross-cultural communication and training come in.

Here’s how you can develop an effective transnational strategy by considering cross-cultural communication and training:

Embrace cultural diversity

Recognize that diverse cultures bring unique perspectives and skills to the table, enhancing your innovation and problem-solving abilities.

Encourage open dialogue about cultural differences and create a workplace where people feel respected for their uniqueness.

By embracing diversity, you’re laying the foundation for a successful transnational strategy.

Cultural intelligence training

Cultural intelligence (CQ) is your secret weapon when entering new markets. Provide extensive CQ training to your personnel, preparing them to navigate unknown cultural terrain.

This training goes beyond stereotypes and delves into the complexities of communication styles, social standards, and etiquette.

Language proficiency

Language is the bridge that links cultures, and it is an essential talent in the world of transnational business. Encourage your team members to learn important languages for your target markets.

While fluency is not always possible, even basic language abilities can help demonstrate respect for another culture and break down communication barriers.

Intercultural communication workshops

Organize interactive intercultural communication training to model real-world events that your staff may face.

These seminars provide a secure environment for participants to practice cross-cultural interactions, allowing them to fine-tune their communication methods and adjust their behavior to various cultural circumstances.

#4 Leverage technology and information-sharing platforms

Technology has become the foundation of successful business operations, especially when pursuing a transnational strategy. This method entails merging numerous functions across multiple countries and sites while keeping a consistent vision.

Here's how to effectively use technology to execute a successful transnational strategy:

Unified communication systems

Establishing a unified communication system is critical for bridging geographical gaps. This includes the use of tools such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and collaboration platforms.

Regular virtual meetings promote a sense of solidarity by ensuring that everyone, regardless of physical distance, is on the same page.

Knowledge management platforms

Transnational businesses thrive when they draw on the pooled expertise of their various workforces. Putting knowledge management platforms in place promotes the free flow of ideas and best practices.

Data analytics for informed decision-making

Informed decision-making is essential for effective transnational strategy. You can gain crucial insights from different marketplaces and customer behaviors by using innovative data analytics solutions.

Implementing customer relationship management systems allows you to track consumer interactions and preferences on a global scale, thereby allowing you to modify your services accordingly.

Virtual training and learning management systems

It is crucial to provide consistent training and skill development while working with cross-cultural teams. Virtual training and learning management systems (LMS) will help you develop, deliver, and track training modules.

This ensures that all team members, regardless of location, receive the same level of education.

Pro tip: Use a professional localization management suite Centus to localize your products for the global market. Learn more.

#5 Monitor results and refine your strategy

Adopting a transnational approach is a continuous journey that requires constant monitoring and adaptive improvement.

Follow these tips to ensure that your transnational strategy remains effective and aligned with your business goals:

Real-time data gathering

Set up systems to gather real-time data from all aspects of your global business. Sales data, customer feedback, supply chain analytics, and even social media sentiment might be included.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Create a set of KPIs that are specific to your transnational goals. These could include regional sales growth, customer satisfaction levels, time-to-market for new products, and even cultural adaptation indicators.

Regularly assess your KPIs to determine the efficiency of your approach and discover opportunities for improvement.

Cross-functional collaboration

Encourage open communication and cross-functional collaboration to gather different perspectives. Meetings, brainstorming sessions, and regular feedback loops help produce new ideas and insights, allowing you to fine-tune your multi domestic strategy.

Agile decision-making

Allow your teams to make decisions at their respective levels while adhering to the overall international plan. To keep your competitive edge, respond quickly to emerging opportunities or threats.

6 Transnational Strategy Examples

Here are 6 examples of global companies that have used transnational strategies to expand their global reach and achieve sustainable growth:

#1 Costco

Costco store Source: Costco

Costco is an excellent example of a company that has successfully implemented a transnational strategy.

The company has established a consistent brand image while also adapting its product offerings to the interests and wants of local markets by delivering a membership-based strategy that focuses on bulk purchases and cost-saving.

Costco has used this method to expand into new international markets and become a retail behemoth in several cultures and countries.

#2 Unilever

Unilever office Source: Unilever

Unilever has perfected the art of striking a balance between global scale and local significance.

The brand has been able to build a diversified portfolio of products that appeal to consumers worldwide while combining region-specific ingredients and flavors thanks to its transnational strategy.

Unilever has used this international strategy to establish strong brand loyalty and acquire a competitive advantage in markets ranging from Asia to Europe and beyond.

#3 Google

Google headquarters Source: CNBC

Google's transnational approach is evident in its commitment to providing globally accessible products and services while complying with local laws and cultural standards.

Google ensures that its services remain relevant and valuable in several regions by adapting its search engine algorithms, user interfaces, and content offerings.

The company has been able to maintain its dominant position as a leading search engine and technology provider across multiple linguistic and cultural environments because of this strategy.

#4 KFC

KFC burgers Source: Getir

KFC has adopted a transnational strategy by tailoring its menu offerings to local tastes and preferences while maintaining a consistent brand identity.

The brand has successfully capitalized on the draw of both global familiarity and local originality, whether by adding distinctive menu items in different regions or combining culturally meaningful marketing efforts.

This strategy has helped KFC develop a robust presence in international markets and become a symbol of American fast-food culture.

#5 Samsung

Samsung headquarters Source: Samsung

Samsung's transnational strategy is distinguished by its capacity to develop new, high-quality products that appeal to consumers worldwide.

The company continually delivers products that meet both global and local demands by spending extensively on research and development and staying abreast of global technology developments.

This strategy has driven Samsung to the top of the electronics industry and cemented its status as a globally trusted and renowned brand.

#6 Nike

Nike store Source: Nike

Nike's transnational strategy relies on using its renowned brand and creative products to meet the needs of athletes and consumers worldwide.

Also, the brand has created a sense of inclusivity and relevancy across many cultures by partnering with local athletes, sponsoring international events, and customizing its marketing strategies.

This strategy has helped Nike retain its position as a leading athletic footwear and apparel brand while building a strong global community of brand enthusiasts.

To Sum Up

A transnational strategy provides a compelling roadmap for businesses seeking to succeed in today’s interconnected landscape.

You can create a path toward sustained development, resilience, and global influence by embracing the benefits, understanding and managing the challenges, and adhering to the guiding principles.

Localization management tools, like Centus, can help you achieve a competitive advantage in the global marketplace by helping you adapt your products and marketing campaigns to local market preferences. Learn more.


What is an example of a transnational strategy?

KFC is an example of a transnational strategy. The business is present in over 145 countries and territories around the world.

While the main menu items, such as chicken, are the same across the board, KFC does make some adjustments to cater to local tastes. KFC, for example, provides a vegetarian burger in India and wine on its menu in China.

Why use a transnational strategy?

Here are reasons why you might choose to use a transnational strategy:

  • To achieve both efficiency and local adaptation

  • To enter new markets quickly and effectively

  • To build a strong brand reputation

  • To stay ahead of the competition

What are the features of transnational strategy?

The features of a transnational strategy are:

  • High local responsiveness

  • High global integration

  • Flexibility

  • Interdependence

  • Knowledge sharing

Why do companies become transnational?

There are several reasons why businesses become transnational. These include:

  • To access new markets

  • To reduce costs

  • To gain access to new technology

  • To diversify risks

  • To build a global brand

How does KFC use a transnational strategy?

KFC uses a transnational strategy in the following ways:

  • KFC has a standardized menu that is served in all of its restaurants around the world

  • It has a centralized marketing team that develops marketing campaigns aligned with a global strategy

  • It has a centralized supply chain that sources ingredients from all over the world

More to explore
What is Software Localization: Everything You Need to Know!

Software localization allows you to launch your software in new markets and multiply your users. Read our guide to software localization to do it the right way.
Market Penetration Examples: Strategies to Scale Your Business

Market penetration is about increasing the sales of your existing product or service in the existing markets. Want to learn how to boost it for your product?
What Is Market Expansion Strategy and How to Expand Your Company? + Examples

A market expansion strategy focuses on growing the customer base in new and existing markets. Want to learn how to build a strategy for your expansion? Read on!