Amplify Content Globalization by Localizing Story Selling

May 15, 2018


BEST PRACTICES SERIES

Global content creation and localization processes are undergoing constant evolution in the digital age. Established ways of doing things are challenged by the need to meet increasingly demanding speed, quantity, and quality requirements. Storytellers will also find themselves changing with the times. Obviously, it’s still important to convey key messages in a compelling fashion. However, a new focus on adopting and reflecting content standards that immediately catch the attention of customers and keep them fired up throughout their journey is more important than ever. So it may be worth relabelling storytelling as “story selling” in order to make it an asset that is embedded in product and content lifecycles.

Ultimately, selling a good story means paving the way to selling a product or a service. Here are three ways localizing content can help you achieve that goal faster.

  • Localize content so that it is, or becomes, a sales-enabler. Localization practitioners and leaders have to see digital content such as product sheets, banners, or unassisted support properties as content that drives sales. Boundaries between informational and commercial content are blurring online as brands struggle to get customers’ attention as quickly as possible. In other words, there is no time to make customers think a lot, and there isn’t much time to give them opportunities to determine whether a product or a service is useful or useless. Therefore, content meant to inform customers should be localized to generate demand and activate sales along the way. As always, localizers have to accomplish the mission of tailoring points, descriptions, and benefits according to local requirements and aspirations. Specifically, they have to use the most immersive and inclusive vocabulary, terminology, and tone—delivering the most frictionless experiences within all expected ecosystems.
  • Localize narrative and descriptive content to make it truly customer-centric. Selling a great story starts by walking in the shoes of the customers who need to act on it. That’s why localization is the first step to customizing stories for audiences in multiple countries and regions. Localizers must ensure content effectiveness by tuning stories that are perceived, and received, in a natural way by local customers in light of their experience standards and requirements. To do this, they must localize the content by putting customers (back) at the center of stories, using active wording, positive incarnations, and simple statements to translate product-centric or service-centric features into customer-centric experiences.
  • Localize stories to enrich reach, resonance, and reaction upfront. In order to deliver on customer centricity, localization may have to add value to content by taking it to the next level of reach and reaction. When global stories lack room for flexibility and neutrality, localization leaders should jazz content up and insert local references or focus points (in addition to adapting it linguistically, culturally, and functionally). 

But these efforts should not lead to re-creating the content from scratch or denaturing original messages. They should help strike the balance between global effectiveness and local relevance. That is why localization leaders should work closely with local content contributors and reviewers who refine and upgrade stories that will resonate with customers faster. Localizers should also think about delivering stories that are more integrated with the real lives of customers, who move physically and digitally more than ever before. In some cases, less content is more effective in telling a story that sells. Not only does it depend on cultural and functional factors in markets in which customers are more or less keen to spend time before, when, and after making a purchase, but it is also tied to their disruptive journeys through multiple channels and locations. As a result, prioritizing snackable content that they share and remember allows you to “premiumize” stories.  


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