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How Linguistic Excellence Can Drive Digital Transformation and Global Expansion

5 internationalization takeaways from the PIMpoint webinar 

As brands expand to new markets, how can a company maximize the results in each region it is targeting? The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated growth in the digital sphere, putting companies who already delivered a global customer experience at an advantage. In a recent webinar with product information management provider inRiver, Lionbridge CMO Jaime Punishill explains how to develop a globalization strategy that centers on linguistic excellence.

Lionbridge and inRiver have helped global brands like Yamaha, Volvo and Haglöfs streamline processes and translate content at lightning-fast speeds. Contact Lionbridge to learn more about our translation and localization services.

Read our key takeaways from the webinar below.

Linguistic excellence is key to global expansion.

The companies that are most successful in operating across markets are shifting their thinking from being a multinational company—or a collection of local operating units—to being a truly global company that is designed to operate in the multiverse. These companies operate in multimarket, multilingual, multichannel, multimedia, multimodal and multicultural spaces.

"You cannot reach your global TAM—or total addressable market—without a world-class internationalization strategy that harnesses language and localization as strategic differentiators,” Punishill said.

Leading global brands localize into nearly 30 languages today, double the number they localized a decade ago. They also demand faster and faster turn-around times (TATs) in translation and localization—with leaders expecting two to three-day TATs. By translating content, product information and experiences so quickly, these companies are able to operate almost simultaneously in all markets. Consider the enormity of Apple’s recent global launch, with dozens of markets ready on the same day to sell and deliver the newest iPhones.

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A new, digital, global normal

The global pandemic has prompted a sudden and meteoric growth in e-commerce accelerating many trends already challenging companies:

  • Digital experience and digital transformation is now a must
  • B2B buyers operating like B2C buyers
  • An explosion of content trying to drive discoverability and pre-commerce

As digital transformation becomes a key strategy in many companies, having an accompanying internationalization strategy is of paramount importance. And that means reaching customers in their own language, currency and buying journey, wherever they may be.

“Without internationalization, you can’t achieve true digital transformation,” said Punishill. “Your industrial era processes and systems will keep you from generating the content, experiences, speed and agility needed to meet the demands of today’s digital consumer.”

Internationalization is a methodology of rethinking your planning, people, processes and technology to create everything with the consideration that it will be used to sell your products in multiple markets. Therefore, your processes must be adaptable to do that optimally.

Not internationalizing—or internationalizing poorly—yields lost sales, fewer renewals, slower operating speeds and higher production costs, all while undermining your brand overall.

The customer experience is emotional.

Customer experience is widely regarded as a competitive differentiator among companies. Great customer experience feels personalized, and there is nothing more personal than a customer’s language and culture.

“It’s how people feel about you that drives satisfaction, advocacy and loyalty,” Punishill said. “What drives that emotion? How relevant it feels for folks.” Without achieving linguistic excellence, it is impossible to create a consistent customer experience across channels and markets.

To meet your customer’s expectations, provide a frictionless path to purchase by taking customers’ language, currency and market-specific buying preferences into account. Even simply localizing product descriptions and currency will yield roughly a 40% increase in local sales; localizing manuals, support and customer service will unlock even more.

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Create a global framework.

Consumers in many countries prefer global brands they know over local brands. Provided the global brand can provide a localized experience, consumers will pay a 30% premium to buy a product from a global brand. In creating a unified approach to multi-market customer communication, leading global brands strive to balance global consistency while still achieving local relevance—with a tie going to consistency.

By creating a global framework, companies can eliminate uncoordinated, disparate creative agencies and ad campaigns, saving time and money. For example, Lionbridge and inRiver helped Swedish company SkiStar transition to a simplified translation process using the Lionbridge-inRiver connector. This switch reduced the complexity and cost of localization across all channels and markets and enabled faster deployment of global web content. SkiStar was able to reduce their turn-around times by 90%, lower their translation costs and cut their teams’ work by 50%.

Optimize your discoverability, content and technology.

Most firms understand that today’s buying journeys rely on content to drive behaviors, yet many firms fall down trying to scale that content across many markets. Just 10% of most companies’ home country content typically gets localized. The main reasons for global content failure are siloed decision-making processes, a lack of a global framework, no lack of controls for translated brand materials, no visibility over global customer community dialogue and no cost controls over content produced by their many markets.

To combat these failures and achieve multi-market success:

  • Upgrade your infrastructure and internationalize your process and approach to global content, including your product information management system, content management system and digital asset management system
  • Ensure cultural relevance and local compliance in your content. Use adaptive design and creative transcreation to reuse content in different markets
  • Boost your content discoverability through globally optimized search and learn what content may work best in certain markets through social listening and AI-driven content analysis

Maximizing your multimarket growth starts with linguistic excellence. Meet customers in their market, language and preferred medium, and combine digital transformation with an internationalization strategy to connect better with your customers.

Want to learn more about how Lionbridge can help you transition to the digital and global age? Contact us today.

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