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How can companies make sure their marketing is properly localised?

How can companies make sure their marketing is properly localised?
in Retail and Ecommerce

Global brands need to make sure their content is properly optimised in order to appeal to their worldwide market and make sure they consider all of the cultural difference separating countries. 

There are plenty of different considerations that companies need to keep in mind in order to successfully execute a worldwide strategy. Language, cultural changes and media laws all need to be accounted for by marketers and any failures could lead to significant reputational damage. 

One example of this is when HSBC Bank rebranded its worldwide global private banking operations after introducing an American campaign worldwide. The project was meant to use the message “assume nothing”, though it was translated in many nations as “do nothing”. 

Ultimately, the bank had to spend a total of $10 million to alter its tagline to “the world’s private bank”. For HSBC, it was possible to amend this mistake with large spending, but most organisations do not have such large amounts of money to spend on their marketing.

The message is clear; it pays to give translation your attention when deciding on branding strategies.  Mistakes like HSBC’s are far more avoidable than some of the problems associated with localisation, as there are many other factors to consider as well as what the actual translation is. 

How can companies make sure they consider cultural sensitivities? 

Businesses need to make sure that they keep cultural sensitivities in mind when they are introducing branding projects across the globe. 

Translation in the Digital Age by Michael Cronin looked into the “nation brand” is one that “marries positive associations to the profit imperative”. Mr Cronin explained: “These are associations that help bring foreign investment and tourists into a country, while also acting as stimuli to the sales of nationally produced goods and boosting the international image of the country.”

The book also looked into how automated translation has affected the quality of communication from global brands. Cronin explains that while the automated technology promotes autonomy, it encourages dependency at the same time. 

“As has been noted earlier, many commentators on translation automation have described its main impact as an area of indicative translation or gisting,” Cronin explains in the book. 

The book also looks into changes in language, questioning whether society is moving towards an age of “post-print translation literacy” and what the consequences may be in regard to how translation services are produced and utilised. This highlights how businesses need to make sure that they keep track of developments in English language and make sure all of their communications are localised properly. 

Find a brand message that transcends language 

It can be challenging to create a marketing message that resonates with people all over the world. No matter how much research is put into localisation and the cultures of different countries, it can be hard to find something that is truly relevant for a global audience.

Chris Bolam from marketing software provider Percolate has addressed global marketing, recommending that brands should be positioned behind a “core mission” to solve “important human needs”. Mr Bolam believes that this approach can “traverse cultural differences to provide their markets with truths that can transcend language barriers”.

This is an important lesson for marketers. When creating a new plan, it is important for organisations to make sure they keep a global audience in mind at all times and focus on promoting products and services that are appealing worldwide. By doing this, translation work will be much easier to complete, as promotional work can be built around the appeal of the products or services being sold. 

Before rolling out a global marketing plan, businesses need to review their promotional work from the perspective of customers from different countries. While a European chief executive officer may be confident about the plans, will they be well received in South America? 

By keeping a global audience in mind at all times, businesses can make sure their marketing plans are as successful as possible. 

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