Global Omnichannel Journeys Require Local Experiences

Nov 23, 2016

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Digital customers are getting used to enjoying omnichannel journeys when searching for products, making purchase decisions, or looking for assistance. While delivering content across multiple channels has been a requirement for years, we must now appreciate that customers move across channels and cannot be missed in any of them at any time. Therefore there is no surprise that omnichannel goals are embedded in digital globalization plans, and have become another facet of processes and practices to create global content, and deliver on local experiences. It is all about making content relevant, appropriate, and engaging for customers internationally and keeping content effectiveness at the center of all efforts to ensure it meets expectations across channels and at all times. In order to succees, four major types of challenges should be focused on.

Challenges Related to Content Objectives

The first step is to align content and contexts with local and personal ecosystems. This is crucial to maintain the same level of memorability, readability, accuracy, and consistency in all channels. It is primarily enabled by investing in the awareness and understanding of local standards and drivers--or enhancing it, both collectively and individually. Content does not only have to be received and consumed naturally. It has to trigger reactions and actions wherever it appears.

Challenges Related to Content Creation and Management Activities

Content has to be structured to be delivered in the right and agile way and fit nicely in each channel. Content writing and authoring practices should be adapted to content deployment in multiple and diverse ecosystems. That may mean editing text to make it stickier in source and localized versions. Along the same lines, graphics and imagery need to make the strongest impression from the outset in all localized channels, which often requires improvement, adaptation, and selection in terms of formatting and delivery planning.

Challenges Related to Organizations and Resources

Product managers and content owners are at the forefront of omnichannel strategies. They have to work closely with regional and local subject matter experts, and other stakeholders, to define the most granular engagement tactics and experience objectives within their respective markets. They also have to bring content creation experts such as marketing writers, information engineers, graphic experts and media producers aboard to ensure content effectiveness globally--while shaping it so that it is as easy to localize as possible for each channel.

Challenges Related to Experience Objectives

There has to be no compromise when addressing the diversity of customers globally (i.e. to delight who they are and align with what they do during their own omnichannel journeys). In addition to behavioral requirements, functional criteria must be incorporated as content is used in various ecosystems including operating systems, browsers, devices, or bandwidths. Even one single market may cover a broad array of ecosystems that determine how far and how deep content has to be localized. Each market also imposes timing, legal, and cultural requirements underlying the environments customers are in.

Considering all these challenges establishing a robust and adapted content supply chain proves to be highly necessary. Assessing needs comes first to create content components in scope for localization. This modular approach enables content leaders to use and deliver content more or less consistently and extensively according to channel specifications. Omnichannel experiences require this level of flexibility, as the meaning and impact of conveyed messages prevail regardless of the amount of content used to get there. Localizing comes next to tune content to specific requirements of markets where channels are or will be used. Here again speaking the actual language of customers matters. So does mastering the various forms this language may take in multiple channels. We should always bear in mind that content is more than content since text, images, videos or applications have to be tailored to be functionally, linguistically, and stylistically effective. Localizing content is making it work on top of making it look appealing. Certifying it from this perspective is a must do. Finally clustering gives the touch that brings the right content to the right channel at the right time. Omnichannel journeys do not tolerate any faux pas and glitch when engaging with customers both individually and collectively. Digital ubiquity does not mean varying effectiveness. Close engagement remains the name of the game and no channel is an exception to that experience rule.

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An 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.