An Introduction to Global Content: Three Pillars and Many Challenges

Article ImageRegardless of industry and company size, global content effectiveness relies on three pillars: global reach, local relevance, and personal resonance. These are the key enablers, as well as serious challenges. Since global content strategies are built and executed according to business factors, most success stories are based on these pillars. They push globalizing organizations to synchronize global content value chains with agile product or service lifecycles.

Content management issues may delay or stop critical efforts to delight local customers with the content they want. Therefore, you should start by discerning content issues from management issues. The best global content in the world won’t resonate with local customers if it is not managed to be locally engaging and actionable. And there is no point in leveraging the most developed processes with poor-quality content. So let’s pinpoint some actions that are worth taking to anticipate problems and make global content truly effective locally.

Content effectiveness depends on how well supply chains function. Content creators, localizers, and deployers must work hand in hand to design and shape content with international customers in mind from the outset. Doing so requires a thorough understanding of customer expectations and experience standards so that no text, image, or functionality turns out to be useless or inappropriate. Geographic or content centricity should be replaced with customer centricity. Designing and developing content that’s ready for the world enhances and accelerates subsequent phases—such as translation, localization, testing, and certification.

Effective content must also cover a variety of content types and connected ecosystems. This means that global content must be flexible and modular to be structured and clustered as necessary. Here, too, content creation and localization are crucial to craft seamless experiences where and when it matters. Flexible content needs agile processes to determine its scope, use, and purpose across channels. It boils down to gauging the level of standardization and customization in multiple digital environments. Some product information may be leveraged without (too much) change across ecommerce platforms, mobile applications, chatbots, and email campaigns. Some marketing and branding messages may have to be tailored to fit linguistically, culturally, and functionally everywhere.

Management effectiveness, conversely, has to be
data-driven. You can hardly manage something you cannot measure. Value and performance must be captured at every stage of the global and local content cycles. Typical key performance indicators (KPIs) include time- and cost-effectiveness metrics, such as timely completion, on-budget delivery, and proper resource allocation. Measuring global content effectiveness requires more data related to creation, localization, and delivery. For example, you must prioritize and control costs to translate, localize, test, and customize content and get performance reports from your suppliers in case of (frequently) outsourced services. So content management data have to be granular, and they should be tied to commercial and customer experience metrics as directly as possible.

Management effectiveness also calls for fostering leadership alignment and collaboration. Managing global content requires more than just cloning your usual domestic market processes. Digital globalization success depends mainly on how people interact and engage across functions inside and outside their organization. Therefore, central leadership goes hand in hand with local enablement and empowerment, which is a safe way to overcome resistance to full centralization or decentralization. Aligning teams, adapting responsibilities, and shifting mindsets are frequent calls to action. You have to start with the people in your organization if you want to transform global content into a profit driver. Processes and technology come next. Ultimately, global content management needs to be approached strategically and tactically from four angles: articulation, education, innovation, and differentiation.

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