Another Road to Content Globalization

May 26, 2017

Article ImageAn announcement made the headlines just a few days ago that could help recalibrate and accelerate globalization in a sustainable way. China announced it was going to invest $124 billion in order to strengthen the new Silk Road (also know as One Belt, One Road) aiming to boost global development, trade, and cooperation. While a number of countries and institutions are involved in this initiative, the fact that China took a leadership role in this initiative did not really come as a surprise considering its efforts to champion globalization. It will be focusing primarily on bringing Asia, Africa, and Europe closer together with improved infrastructures and tighter commercial connections.

As the agreement is doomed to cover highly multilingual, multicultural, and multifunctional markets, digital globalization should play a key role in moving the new Silk Road forward and deliver immersive experiences in each country and region. Obviously it remains difficult to predict and define exactly how content globalization will be leveraged within this framework. Yet it sounds reasonable to bet on a few ways it should contribute:

  • Content globalization should fuel multipolar and multifaceted digital globalization. By doing so it should increase the importance of world-class content, specifically in a context where well-established multinational organizations are challenged by ambitious start-ups and scale-ups. Talent is everywhere and great content is anywhere, so this rule should be applicable more broadly than ever before. In addition, it may put a decisive end to the “taking the best from West” era when great content was assumed to be created in the Western world, and delivered to the rest of it. Successful content globalization may become a tougher and longer race, but it should reflect more customer diversity and centricity when reaching the finish line.
  • Content globalization should increase need for content that is linguistically, culturally, and functionally customized. More product and service offerings should be supported by more relevant content in order to stand out from competition. Content creators and localizers will likely have to team up to unify their skills and leadership to deliver truly local content across formats, channels, and subject matters. Hyperlocalization and collaborative localization practices may help enrich content and strike the balance between locally created and localized content.
  • It should boost internationalization, localization, or innovation of global content within multiple industries. Nowadays trade cannot go without digital vehicles whether it is about payment, marketing, or communication. Therefore increased content globalization effectiveness may be expected in financial industries, advertising, or information technology, to name just a few examples. Major players in the localization industry have already organized themselves into verticals to better serve demanding clients, and should get more benefits from their segmented positioning and value proposition here as well. In particular it should highlight the importance of globalizing content at the speed of now and at the scale of where-it-matters.
  • Content globalization should lift up content stakeholders in a number of emerging markets in Asia and Africa. For decades these markets have been categorized as Tier 3 or Tier 4 targets when prioritizing and delivering on globalization and localization plans. Sometimes they were completely off the radar screens of global expansion. The new Silk Road should put a number of them (back) on the maps either as target markets or as active enablers of content supply chains. Volumes and (quality) standards of content that are tied to these markets will have to be raised and tuned accordingly. More multinationals have included fast-growing locales-- like Nigeria, Morocco, Cambodia or Myanmar--in their digital properties and that trend should continue. Rather than simply changing the digital globalization game it should better reflect the real world of diverse customers.
  • Technology enabling content globalization should gain in efficiency and openness. Optimized search and machine translation engines are examples of recent breakthrough achieved by Asian companies in such technology. Continued research and development in this area will be timely to cope with incrementally increasing amounts of content and higher speeds of delivery. Local content intelligence will continue to prevail to ensure global flows content meet complex and evolving experience requirements.

The new Silk Road is expected to deserve a revisited content globalization roadmap to keep up with a changing pace of action. It should imply a more granular vision of content imperatives and execution. Most importantly it should be articulated around the “old” mantra stating there is no great local experience without global content excellence.

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