Leveraging Digital Content Globalization and Localization to Increase Brand Effectiveness

Feb 13, 2015

Article ImageGlobal marketing and commercial leaders are under more pressure than ever to make the right balance and choices when it comes to positioning and strengthening brands. What's more is they have to do this across a number of diverse markets and multiple channels for consumers. Shaping budgets and justifying investments in each country and on every screen are challenges in the advertising world where the digital evolution has been fast and strong over the past years. This is an ideal framework to leverage digital globalization and proven localization practices and to make marketers profit from value they can add to their own efforts.

Several methodologies have been designed to measure brand effectiveness around the world. However some of them may not cover two specific areas in the best possible way:

  • Capturing and identifying variances and imperatives of customer experience in each country
  • Linking findings from good or poor effectiveness to preceding activities in the content supply chain

Let's consider global brand experience, which should be addressed by every comprehensive digital globalization strategy. Assessing and measuring international customer experience should be a part of it in order to understand if global design and localization of content have been successful. And the related metrics must help measure brand effectiveness as well by addressing common sensitivity drivers that make global campaigns meaningful, appropriate, and memorable like:

  • Visual components such as imagery, symbols or colors that make promoted brands truly appealing for local audiences. Using inappropriate components that may be hard to localize, impossible to localize, or offending if localized is a major pitfall here. Whenever such objects are considered as not accurate, relevant or differentiating enough, the best practice of making them ready for globalization (aka internationalization) can definitely enable brand managers and campaign designers to find solutions and ideally anticipate issues before they come up
  • Textual components such taglines, displayed text, or keywords that make promoted brands much more actionable and findable for global consumers. Opting for partial localization of text, or assuming that words, terms, and idioms are universal without cultural, linguistic, or legal checks may cause serious issues in the short and long run. In marketing localization quick mistakes mean time consuming curation in the minds of local consumers

It is not surprising to spot "glitches" in global branding efforts and campaigns which are similar in nature to those to be found in poor or fragmented international customer experience. In both cases, the devil is in a combination of details that lead to missed targets and stickiness issues.

Local consumers refer to quality, accuracy, and relevance more or less consciously, but they always go for what they feel is good for them eventually. This is also why it is crucial to adopt a holistic problem solving approach by looking at what has gone right and wrong in the whole content value chain rather than changing a picture or a word on the fly. It is where brand, design, marketing, and globalization leaders can become partners in crime to review the workflow and add steps to address gaps or loose ends. Here are a few suggestions to establish this partnership smoothly:

  • Make any brand-driving component as world-ready as possible. Knowing that translation, localization, and transcreation are necessary at a later stage, team work allows addressing cultural, linguistic, stylistic or technical dependencies from the outset. Checks may be made globally with experience experts and locally with marketing and commercial teams prior to and during creative activities. It usually makes everyone more comfortable and streamlines development or deployment tasks. This way of working applies to storyboards of campaigns that may be designed in a clustered fashion to be more flexible and scalable
  • Agree on globalization guidelines and rules for creators and developers who can frame their work accordingly. By creating and leveraging assets like geo-specific personas, style guides, linguistic conventions, or list of terms, it is easier to determine the level of acceptance, the scope of content to translate, localize, and transcreate as well as the number of sensitivity variances. Avoiding future iterations and faux pas becomes embedded in design activities
  • Define and maintain translation and localization processes for marketing content which must be agile enough to be adjusted according to effectiveness metrics. Quality and performance of these processes are good indicators of successful local branding and campaign management too. Narrative and descriptive content requires more granularity as it is consumed and rated more subjectively. For example, it may be useless to assume that a campaign made for Mexico will be equally effective for Spanish-speaking consumers (aka Latinos) in the USA. Localization tools and assets can also help to manage content accurately and consistently like author memories, translation memories, and multilingual terminology tools.

Finally, brand effectiveness metrics should also be used to confirm that branding design, development, and localization processes are on the right track. When capturing and measuring international customer experience in a globalization strategy, it is as important to know why people are delighted as to understand why they are not.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)

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