Naming Content Globalization to Make it More than a Label

Oct 30, 2017

Article ImageAgreeing to name content globalization properly is often a recurring issues and surprising challenge when setting the appropriate stage and sustaining it over time. A lack of convergence in this area often comes from the diversity of definitions that exist, as well as individual opinions on how to put the concept of globalization into practice. In addition global business may be seen as an abstract matter as revenues and profits are generated within regions and countries. In this view global business becomes the mere aggregation of locally driven actions. Confusion leads some business leaders and stakeholders to doubt how best to label content globalization leadership even before discussing and deciding where it should be best rooted to avoid creating a silo or letting it float around.

What is in a name here? A lot when it is well-defined and explained. A few important things should be considered to make it meaningful and effective in any business environment.

  • Content globalization may have various names--It is interesting to see how many leaders and practitioners in charge of this process do not have “globalization” in their job title. Reality shows that alternatives may range from “global content” to “global information” or “global operations” which may be tied to where globalization leadership actually resides in the business. Obviously job titles including “globalization” reflect the level of importance and the breadth of leadership that an organization wants to give to end-to-end global content effectiveness both internally and externally. This way of labelling it has a number of benefits for multinational organizations. Yet some do not take this direction and may still consider content globalization as seriously as others without making it as clear and shining. Potential risks in the long run include weakening central decision making, diluting leadership, fragmenting alignment, and losing grip on key performance metrics. The pros and cons on naming options are quite similar to those related to the positioning and sizing of other functions.
  • Content globalization should have only one goal--Globalization is neither a process nor a workflow. It is a set of processes, practices, and standards enabling business growth locally and solid execution globally. As this should be the sole goal of content globalization calling it “globalization” in an unambiguous and indisputable fashion adds real value. It brings the objective and the necessary mandate together based on visibility, velocity, and accountability. From this perspective it may be argued that we should not focus too much on the label just like we do not judge a book by its cover. However content globalization requires so many cross functional and fertilization efforts it cannot just stand on its own like surrounded by garden walls. Naming it differently may still allow executing all related activities and take all responsibilities but it may downgrade globalization as a second or lower priority while global business objectives remain critical. For example, would the leader of global content management feel equipped and recognized enough to connect with all key stakeholders across the organization and engage – or be engaged – with them on time? Similarly, would a leader of global marketing have the needed time and experience to commit to managing the global content value chain holistically in addition to core marketing imperatives?
  • Content globalization has to adopt the language of stakeholders—Content globalization has to be perceived and received as relevant and engaging. Just like selling products to customers implies telling a story that resonates with them, content globalization leaders have to select and use a language that speaks intuitively and contextually to the rest of the globalizing organization. Words matter here as well. Business terms replacing jargon can make a significant difference to initiate meetings, accelerate collaboration, and deliver on globalization objectives. For example, insisting on making content ready for global reach and local markets may catch more attention than mentioning content internationalization although it means the same thing. Also, highlighting local requirements and aspirations may make a bigger and longer impression than referring to localization immediately and without explanation. Customizing communication around content globalization according to groups of stakeholders is part of the foundation of all robust globalization programs. And it means leadership too.

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