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Going Global 101: What is a Localization Strategy (And When Do You Need One?)

Part 7 in our Going Global Series

You're ready to go global.

Ready to spread the word about your product or service to potential customers in new markets. Excited to adapt your global brand story to local cultures and customs in ways that create resonance. Prepared to make global reach and local nuance a key part of your process.

If your company has created a globalization strategy, it has:

Thus, with an eye on globalization, your company has approved budgets. Created deadlines. Identified KPIs.

So, what could be missing? Just a key part of going global: your localization strategy.

What is localization strategy?

Localization strategy is how a company adapts its message to a particular language or culture. When entering a new market, you need locally consumable websites, social media, marketing campaigns, and more. Localization strategy is your plan to make any needed modifications in tone, imagery and subject matter to successfully connect with the local customer.

When should you create your global localization strategy?

By now, you probably understand that localization is a crucial aspect of going global. With that in mind, when should you consider localizing your global brand content and experience?

The most successful global companies consider global localization at the beginning of their globalization process. So, if you are considering going global, you should already be considering how to localize most effectively and efficiently.

Localization Guidelines: Three Things to Keep in Mind

As you prepare for the localization process, keep these three things in mind:

Think Ahead

As we've mentioned, it's never too soon to localize. From the very beginning of your globalization process, consider how you can structure your content to communicate with as broad an audience as possible. That means you should:

  • Prioritize messaging that works across multiple local markets

  • Encourage the development of multicultural buyer personas

  • Avoid over-personalization in favor of universal human experiences, which feel personal for as many people as possible

Above all: if you can create source material that consumers in multiple cultures can understand, you will reduce the time and resources needed for effective translation and localization.

Catch Up

Have you already begun the globalization process without a firm content localization strategy? Don't hesitate--the best time to localize content is now. First, determine which parts of your site are the highest priority for localization and translation. Second, develop a strategy by answering questions like:

  • What are our target global markets and languages?

  • How does our company name, logo, and tagline translate into those other languages?

  • Do we have a global SEO plan that's optimized for the dominant search engines in those markets?

  • Have we spoken with in-country staff members for their opinions?

These questions form a starting point. They can thus help you visualize the scope of your global localization go-forward strategy.

Keep it Simple

Both B2B and B2C companies are embracing personalization as a major trend in their marketing strategy. For example:

  • More than 75% of marketing pros believe that real-time personalization is essential

  • 94% focus their resources on analytics and customization

  • 60% of marketers find effective personalization very difficult to accomplish

But what's the first step in personalization? Speaking the same language--literally. At Lionbridge, we find that the more we strive to find common ground despite language and cultural differences, the better we can personalize content through our localization services.

As you prepare to go global, try to minimize pieces of content that need to be culturally specific. That way, you can make your content relevant to the broadest possible audience.

Are you ready?

For more tips and tricks download our Going Global Whitepaper

Part 1: Going Global 101: What Does It Mean to "Go Global"?

Part 2: Going Global 101: So You Have a Website. Are You a Global Company?

Part 3: Going Global 101: Going Global Glossary

Part 4: Going Global 101: Where Are You Going?

Part 5: Going Global 101: How Your Competition Can Be Your Best Resource

Part 6: Going Global 101: Optimizing Your SEO Strategy

Part 8: Going Global 101: How to Create a Localization Strategy

Part 9: Going Global 101: The Going Global Quiz

Part 10: Going Global 101: Top 10 Takeaways

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