As the classic song by Irving Berlin goes, “There may be trouble ahead…” While music and moonlight are always welcome, it is another ‘m’ that will help enterprises through potentially turbulent times ahead. Entering new ‘markets’.
With the OECD forecasting global growth to slow down to 3.3% for 2019 and 3.4% for 2020*, and growth having slowed sharply in China, the EU and potentially the US later this year, marketers could be forgiven for wondering where the growth they need to deliver over the next few years is going to come from.
The obvious answer is to seek out new markets. And with today’s technology that has never been easier – with a website and social media presence, customers around the world can find you, buy your products and get to know your brand. All at the click of a button. However, ad hoc sales alone will not be enough to fuel your growth or build your brand globally. As marketers, you know that the more you meet customer needs, the more engaged they are with your brand, the more sales you will see – and it’s no different with customers in other countries. Your content has to be right for these new audiences.
Let’s consider three key elements of content that will help you succeed in new markets:
- Local versus central management
- Language and translation
There is a never-ending tension between maintaining economies of scale and efficiency and granting freedom to those on the ground to execute what they think is best for their local market.
There are no hard and fast rules on whether you manage your brand and marketing activity centrally, or distribute decision making to a local level – most organizations operate somewhere between the two. From a content perspective, organizations need to balance:
- Brand control: Most organizations want to retain central control of the brand, for fear of local derivatives being created and the brand experience becoming muddied.
- Local engagement: Getting close to the customer, creating real engagement and brand loyalty often requires in-depth local knowledge and understanding. Without the flexibility to maneuver, competitive advantage and potential profits may be lost.
Without central control, local teams can deviate from the brand and you can end up with a multitude of different messaging, imagery and branding, leading to confusion amongst consumers as to who you are and what you do. However, too much central control inhibits the very value that local marketers bring: in-depth and personal knowledge about local culture and markets.
As consumers seek deeper experiences and products increasingly evolve into services, the need for local control and responsiveness in a digital world will only grow.
Global brands need to ensure that the people, processes and technology they use to go global work together. A unified technology platform and its related processes can enable globally distributed teams to co-ordinate, collaborate and unify the creation, translation and delivery of content that supports the customer journey wherever that may be in the world.
Language and translated content are fundamental to reaching global audiences. If your customers can’t understand you then it’s highly unlikely that they will buy from you. 90% of online users will choose a native language when available and, according to Common Sense Advisory, 78% are more likely to buy from a site in their own language.
The language barrier is always a hurdle when entering a new market. While translation services are not cheap, costs are reducing and efficiency is improving significantly with the use of translation management systems (TMS), machine translation, and Linguistic Artificial Intelligence (AI).
- TMS: Streamlined translation processes and the automation of translation workflows.
- Machine translation: The ability to use machine translation driven by a linguistic AI for standardized texts (FAQs, product descriptions) and initial market testing.
- Human translation, post-editing and transcreation: The ability to provide the value-added human touch to include local cultural nuance and greater impact for high-value content such as high-investment nuanced campaigns.
Remember that it is not just the obvious content that needs translating, such as your website – it is marketing collateral, packaging, product information, FAQs, videos, virtual assistants, and if you are opening physical stores, all the signage as well. Each of these different content types require a balanced mix of technology enablement and human expertise to translate.
A literal translation of your carefully honed copy will almost certainly lose something in the translation. The nuances, and more importantly, the meaning may be lost.
Transcreation helps you achieve the same reaction in each language by maintaining the message’s intent, style, tone and context and going beyond to consider the cultural factors that may affect your brand. Without transcreation the job of being understood in the new market is only half done. With it, your message will resonate better and help engage your new audience, while staying true to the essence of your brand – the same song with a different voice if you will.
While you may have people on the ground who may be able to help you with this, it really is the preserve of skilled linguists with deep cultural knowledge and a finger on the pulse of the culture. They will be the ones who are able to help you connect and engage with local audiences.
Transcreation can make all the difference to a campaign. When opening their first restaurant in China, KFC found that their famous ‘Finger lickin’ good!’ slogan had been translated as ‘We’ll eat your fingers off’, which to be honest isn’t very appetizing in any language. In contrast, using transcreation, Intel changed its global slogan of ‘Intel: Sponsors of Tomorrow’ for the Brazilian market. In Portuguese the inference was that this meant that Intel would not deliver on their promises immediately, so instead they went with ‘Intel: In love with the future’, which did convey the message they wanted to get across.
Growth is increasingly hard to come by in many parts of the world and marketers need to seek out new growth opportunities. Entering new markets is rarely easy but today’s technology makes it much easier than it was and in the future it will get even easier.
Once new markets are decided upon there is lots to consider if your entry is to be a success.
Striking the right balance between central and local control of your brand and messaging is hard but important to get right.
Making meaningful connections with customers in the country is fundamental to success, and those connections are founded on speaking to them in their own language, adapting your offering to local needs and culture, and making sure your marketing messages don’t jar or alienate customers but rather resonate and engage them.
If you'd like to learn more about engaging with global audiences, click here.