Last Updated: July 4, 2019 8:16AM
If you want to promote your company in foreign markets, you need more than savvy spending to get your slogan on billboards and your ads on television. If you’ve translated your marketing materials poorly or without regard for cultural sensitivities, you could be spending your department dollars on damaging your company’s reputation and lowering your market share.
How can you avoid pitfalls and make your marketing content shine? With translation and localization services specialized for marketers. Here are five key services global marketers need.
What is the difference between translation and localization services for marketers? Straight translation converts sentences from one language to another word by word. On the other hand, localization considers complete global marketing campaigns. For example, localization considers questions like:
- Do we need to consider any local marketing and advertising laws that would apply here?
- What formatting needs to change? Does the new market use different units of measurements, ways of writing dates, or phone numbers?
- Will the content still appeal to the new market, considering different cultural norms?
- How will the new audience interpret the graphics and photos in the source content?
- Does the campaign include any messages or representations that would be taboo in the new market?
In this way, localization helps you globalize your marketing message by making it locally relevant for each target group. By employing localization services, you can improve the resonance of your content and avoid costly marketing blunders.
Global Brand Strategy
You need your customers—all your customers—to recognize and trust your brand. That means your brand identity needs to resonate in every market in which you do business. Global branding is an extremely challenging task, because it requires the development of a unified marketing strategy that will be relevant in markets that may have very different values, norms, and tastes.
But when done correctly, a global brand strategy cultivates consumer trust. A unified global brand emphasizes dependability, consistency, and accountability—all of which consumers value highly. What’s more, companies typically find that customers will pay a premium for a product in which they have confidence and from a brand they trust.
Consistency, Not Uniformity
A successful global marketing campaign balances a central duality. It must adapt to the needs of different markets without sacrificing brand recognition.
For example, consider the Red Bull energy drink brand. Its global brand strategy is so well conceived that customers across the world think of it as a domestic product, though its headquarters are in Austria. Red Bull manages this with a brand image that is both consistent and easily adaptable to varying cultural tastes.
Associated worldwide with athleticism and drive, Red Bull sponsors professional teams in countries including Ghana, Austria, and Germany. The company even participates in extreme sports and televises many of its events. Red Bull’s brand voice and overarching slogan (“Redbull Gives You Wings”) remains the same in every country; only the details of the content shift to suit each culture.
Digital Experience Adaptation
Successful global marketers don’t just localize their words and print campaigns. They also painstakingly localize their company’s digital experience.
Localizing digital content means ensuring high-quality translations that are also appropriate within the new cultural context. This covers everything from the formality of the language on the website to the local resonance of graphics.
Global digital marketers need to consider elements like layout, especially if they’re transcreating content from a left-to-right reading language into a right-to-left language like Arabic or Hebrew. As a result, marketers must shift the text and making sure their design accommodates the reader’s focus on the right side of the page.
Successful marketers will consider dozens of other variables. Will call-to-action buttons be the right size if the translated words become longer or shorter? Is software encoded to display all of the characters in the target language? What happens if the target market speaks more than one official language? Savvy marketers will have answers to these questions.
Multimedia Translation and Localization
More users in more global markets increasingly demand video content. In the US, 85 percent of Internet users watch online videos at least once a month, and in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, 95 percent of users prefer video to print content.
That’s all great news for marketers. After all, Internet users are 95 percent more apt to remember a call-to-action received via video than from text alone.
But it also means that global companies can’t treat video as an afterthought. Marketing localization teams need to include experienced audiovisual professionals who know how to localize video content, animation, and audio.
Like website localization, effective multimedia localization goes beyond translating dialogue and narration. Teams have to decide whether subtitling would obscure nuances of meaning. If it would, someone familiar with the content and the language has to develop a dubbing script. Then, technical experts have to make sure that the voiceover coincides with the video.
Multilingual SEO Auditing
First, marketers need to know the search strategies and phrases common in the target culture. Then they need to optimize their content according to the preferences of native search engines. Finally, they need to drive traffic through paid ads and backlinking in the digital environment.
This last step can be the most complex, because different cultures will respond to different traffic generation incentives. Effective multilingual SEO requires a complete strategy, and sometimes even a distinct site, for each market, highlighting the need for a skilled multidisciplinary team.
The more types of media you have in your global marketing campaign, the more complex your localization and translation will be. At Lionbridge, we have thousands of experts who can transcreate your campaign into any culture and any language, leaving you with an unlimited capacity for expansion. Reach out to us today to get started on your next global marketing project.