Brand Globalization Strategy: Tips for Localizing and Expanding Reach

By CIOReview | Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Localization is the most significant element in the digital economy. Modifying an existing website to usable, accessible, and culturally suitable to a local audience help global enterprises overcome cultural and language barriers, and market their product and services promptly. However, in the ever pacing era of providing a seamless experience to the customers, brands are surely under pressure. Some of the highlights that can affect the way brands localize are:

• Cultural Context: The decision to introduce a business into other markets should always be preceded by deep and thorough research. One may consider partnering with the local agencies. It can help in meeting the standards of local and match up to their culture values. Sometimes ‘colors,’ though not so critical, it can also have hidden cultural meanings. Korea, for example, pink represents “trust,” in India red represents “purity” and in China yellow represents “nourishing.”

• Web Content Translation: Web translation doesn’t just mean vocabulary, grammar, style, and level of speech; it involves more data-driven analysis and culturally aware adaptation. For e.g. KFC’s slogan—finger licking good, translates to “eat your fingers off” in Mandarin (A Chinese language). Also, the American Dairy Association’s famous “Got Milk?” campaign becomes “Are You Lactating?” in the Spanish-speaking countries.

• Global SEO: The most important aspect of reaching your target market is by making the localized website visible to search engines. For marketers, developing a global footprint propels tremendous value in global SEO. During localization, data-driven analysis, testing, and competitive analysis should be the core of every SEO project. One needs to think and imagine how the locals would start searching on a search engine if they need a service like theirs.

• Legal: Along with the varying legal requirements in the target market, there are country’s own, terms of service, regulations on privacy, complaint procedures, customer support, taxes, and so on. Again, one can consider hiring a local legal specialist to keep in line with local law. Then there are regulations behind accepting payments and charging customers. For e.g. some countries do not trust PayPal and people may expect a check out process through locally popular payment methods. In Brazil, country people are accustomed to paying in installments and will always look for that option.

The list is endless, but the goal is the same—offer a seamless experience to users at their place or location. Many other factors such as maintenance, marketing specific issues such as measurement, calendar, holidays, testing ideas, and  feedback survey, mostly affect how one localize with their brands. To grow internationally is a like running a marathon, not a sprint. We have many successful companies in the digital economy who have understood that localization is the key—Apple, Netflix, Amazon, to name a few.

“Our electronically-configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition,” wrote McLuhan in 1967’s ‘The Medium is the Massage’. “We can no longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step because instant communication insures that all factors of the environment and experience co-exist in a state of active interplay.” The statement is more relevant today than ever.

Here are some useful linchpins of your globalization strategy:

Be agile: Agility comes with technology; an updated one. Catering services in other location would need adding features which local competitors are unable to provide.

Connect Socially: Mobile platforms do make up the significant portion of localization efforts; however, brands presence on popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and others should be used as the strategy to proliferate.

Stay Tech Enabled: To quickly enter a new market, companies need to move away from the vintage model of translation. Adopt an integrated, cloud-based translation management system and tech-enabled language services providers (LSPs)—enables continuous, 24 by 7 translations. Besides these, there is a lot more to localization—several technical components including aspects such as font size, website layout, and design should feel natural and familiar to them.

To expand internationally and gear on a faster track, aspiring organizations have no option but to incorporate these techniques into their localization strategy.