Leveraging Creativity to Ensure Global Content Effectiveness

Apr 22, 2016

Article ImageConcerns about forced standardization and diluted creativity are frequent pitfalls on the way to executing a global content strategy. On the one hand local or regional stakeholders may be skeptical or reluctant to digest and deploy content that their customers may not consider as actionable within their market. This viewpoint may lead to slow or no acceptance. They may even see digital globalization efforts as the output of a big factory that rolls content out in a number of geographies while focusing the role of content owners on sign-off tasks. On the other hand, global leaders want to ensure a good level of coherence and consistency so the right messages are conveyed to target markets in a way that preserves the value of brands, products or services. They have to keep a strong relevance and impact across multiple markets and for diverse customer in balance with global objectives. So there is a major challenge in international customer experience.

Since the undisputable business objective is to deliver compelling, sustainable, and holistic digital experiences rather than some sort of normalized and mainstream experience globally, all parties involved in content management, and customer experience have a stake in creating and maintaining creative content. It becomes even more sensitive for marketing and communication content where creativity contributes to making or breaking content meaningfulness and effectiveness ultimately. The following few points may help when debating how creativity should be fostered to boost local digital campaigns:

  • Creativity is not a single block or concept- Creativity resonates with everyone through a broad range of cultural, linguistic or personal practices. Subjective factors in that area must be clearly understood and leveraged to make the most of creative content for each target audience according to customer aspirations, emotions, and sensitivity. That means demonstrating more agility, and leveraging robust insights and analytics to hit creativity targets before and after content delivery. That is the price of precision creativity based on segmentation and end-to-end centricity. For example, it enables measuring cultural customization and cross-cultural sensitivity of digital ads and properties and adjusting them in a timely fashion. From this perspective, digital platforms and solutions from major travel, hospitality, and e-commerce players provide great examples of how creative design combines consistency and coherence (e.g. branding components) with customer centricity (e.g. look-and-feel components) successfully. Such a combination also unleashes the value and efficiency of granular localization that is essential to engage with each customer
  • Hyperlocalization may save localization- It is interesting to hear some content owners moving from translating content to re-creating it for local markets without mentioning anything about localization. In some cases it is because they think translation and localization is the same thing-which is not true. In other cases they complain about the lack of reach and resonance affecting selected audiences and customers in target geographies. As a concept and as a practice, localization has always gone much further than translation. Its purpose is to adapt content according to all requirements and facets of customers wherever they are, work, buy, and live. As customers become more demanding and diverse, and as powerful digital experiences do not tolerate any faux pas, localization might be perceived as too "light" to engage with them. If so, hyperlocalization does help by addressing cultural, social, and linguistic sensitivity even more deeply and broadly and therefore delighting customers in an even more natural and fluid way. At the same time, localization retains all its benefits-like getting key points in global branding and messaging across, and maintaining consistency and coherence over time. Many retailers have adopted this approach.
  • Local eyes are local experts (and vice versa)- Tapping into the expertise and experience from local experts pays off when it comes to taking creativity in global content to the next level. Obviously linguists, translators, copywriters, user experience professionals or cross-cultural experts should become true business partners mastering creativity and putting it into practice. They also bring their external point of view and input that is so important to look at creativity through the eyes of customers rather than with company-centric considerations only. Content and customer-centric companies have got that right. Local employees and resources can turn out to be great creativity advisors and referees. They live and breathe where local customers do, and a number of them may be engaging very closely with these customers and therefore confirm do's and don'ts. They walk in the shoes of customers whenever they contribute to creativity efforts.

Well-managed creativity across markets plays out in global content effectiveness as it supports most indicators. Needless to say, digital content that is seen and accepted as creatively accurate generates more customer interactions or enhances memorability, acquisition, and loyalty directly. At all times connecting global creativity to global experiences and growth is paramount to make it tell the right thing rather than making it tell something.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)