Effective Localisation Begins With Brand Values
For some time now in the ecommerce world, brand value has been principally associated with underpinning technologies; with price; and with current market share. The gradual commoditisation of retail products has exacerbated this trend. However, the move towards more sustainable living, cleaner lifestyles, and greener responsibility has seen us increasingly value brands on the basis of what they stand for, and how they communicate.
What is the articulation of the brand? It’s in the tone of voice, imagery, glossary terms, and the way social content is communicated – these are the mouthpiece of the brand. It’s also a living articulation of what they stand for. Tone of voice encapsulates your values, your spirit, your endeavour, your journey. In a more commoditised landscape, where businesses need something special to beat convenience, it is the brand story that wins loyalty.
As you expand into wider global markets, it’s important to get the tone of voice right – overuse of words such as ‘luxury’ can devalue a brand, and its communications can sound like a slushy advert, rather than something that really connects to you.
Those that get it right capture the consumer’s heart and build a relationship. As a result, they jump on that journey with you. Take Bloom & Wild – the online flower business. They don’t have the painfully anodyne ‘customer services’ – which smacks of ‘computer says no’ – but rather ‘customer delight’, whose role is to exceed expectations in a very human way. Who wouldn’t want them to be successful? They seem like great guys. Their people come across as empowered and their CRM tone of voice is human, friendly and excitable. You might think this is irrelevant, but this is absolutely the core of the brand in a subscription business. This is the brand – it is one of the interfaces with the consumer. A consumer you genuinely care about and want to be successful. Far more so than any faceless corporate.
So, if you’re looking to expand into new markets, simply translating your core content won’t work. It’ll feel like you’re reading a translation and it may even be penalised on Google search if it appears to be auto-translated. The playful, evocative hue will be lost.
In order for the whole narrative construction to come across as happy, playful and naïve the structure will need to be very different in Danish as it is in French. The story sits behind the brand and the words need to generate the same sense of emotional connection as the original. For instance, high-end products in Swedish websites use simple plain language, they don’t litter copy with hyperbole – do that, and your brand will be reduced to a cheap imitation.
In order to get localisation right, you need to first have a very clear view about what your values are, your tone of voice. Establish a glossary that ensures that your tone is consistent wherever you communicate. You then need to talk to those who have done it before; those who have made all the mistakes that you might be about to repeat.
We’re always happy to share learnings from the work we have done. Opening-up a new market for your brand can be like your child going off overseas for the first time – your precious life. Give your brand a 1st class ticket with high-quality transcreated content from local linguists who understand the context, and power it with localised SEO. You won’t regret it.