Managing Globalization to Enable International Customer Experience


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BEST PRACTICES SERIES

Article ImageIGNORING CONTENT GLOBALIZATION IS NO LONGER AN OPTION IN INTERNATIONAL business environments, and questions and comments may come up on how to best define, optimize, and execute against a strategy-and how the expected ROIs and growth can be ensured and measured effectively. Generally speaking, creating and developing awareness around global challenges remains crucial to align and change mindsets-which is the foundation of the organizational and process transformation needed to take up these challenges. Once the stage is set, processes can be defined and implemented in line with global business objectives and enabling technology and resources can be identified.

While it is not easy to summarize the latest and greatest in the area of digital globalization best practices and management, some key trends may be highlighted. These points are often raised at the executive level to create, increase, and capture value from effective globalization-whether it is referred to as global product, brand, or information management. Here are a few tactics you may want to consider if you have to start a digital globalization journey-as well as some enablers and accelerators if you are already on your way.

Set up a globalization team to ensure central management and local engagement-A cross-functional task force helps to align and manage processes, resources, and tools centrally, as well as to leverage these assets to ensure global content deployment in the most time-efficient and cost-effective way. Also, it facilitates engagement with local leaders and stakeholders by empowering these globalization "ambassadors" to execute with guidance and assistance. Although people involved in globalization work virtually and across time zones, they should realize that their joint efforts are made within the same framework.

Know and profile consumers and customers-Reaching out to audiences in the "rest of the world" is not enough. Cost-effective and time-efficient globalization requires targeting and talking to consumers and customers in "most of the world"-mostly on digital properties and platforms that are global by nature. Proper segmentation leads to increased value of profiles (aka personas), making it possible to know them well and deliver the experience they expect.

Invest in world-ready content-Each globalization life cycle starts with the design, development, and certification of quality content that has to be subsequently localized. Therefore, quality means linguistic accuracy, cultural sensitivity, and global acceptance-which are often covered by internationalization practices and checkpoints. Investing in such efforts up front pays off as it generates savings and benefits through reduced waste (e.g., iterations and corrections) and accelerated cycle times (e.g., faster time to market and reduced training efforts) at later stages. It is also one of the reasons why globalization should be considered and managed holistically rather than in a fragmented way.

Speak the language of consumers-Effective translation, localization, or transcreation is more critical than ever in order to talk to customers and consumers around the world and to meet the challenging needs of some countries and regions. While consumers have always requested or preferred products and content in their native language, the growing demands of some markets make the delivery of content in their language(s) more challenging. Still, the way we communicate does contribute to making or breaking international customer experience. Think about some developing markets in which consumers had to make due with poorly localized content (at best) and English-only content (at worst). The growing middle class in these markets does not accept that anymore.

Select suppliers and technology as business enablers-There are many service suppliers and tools in the globalization marketplace, covering internationalization, translation, localization, or customer experience management. This may lead to using too many of them, which eventually slows down program management and strategy execution. Therefore, it is advised to select suppliers according to the capacity, experience, areas of expertise, and, ideally, tools that they can offer. The more services that can be supplied by a small number of preferred one-stop partners the better. The same approach may be taken when selecting technology to manage content workflows, whether an end-to-end CMS or a translation management platform is considered. For instance, cloud-based translation management systems are highly recommended for fast, agile, and safe operations.

Deliver cost leadership-Implementing some of the practices and recommendations mentioned here should help make the most of globalization budgets for the sake of customer experience. Effective cost management should then open the door to cost leadership by doing the right thing at the right time, especially when your competition does not.


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