Organizations have traditionally taken a simplistic approach to global content creation, viewing translation of English-language content as “good enough.” This passive tactic is no longer sufficient, especially when you consider that 95 percent of the world’s consumers and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power live outside of the U.S. Companies that wish to succeed on a global scale must move beyond standard translation to create engaging native brand experiences.
At the core of every native brand experience is personalized content that reflects more than an audience’s language. Global content must take into account things like tone of voice and choice of imagery, in addition to word selection. It should demonstrate a command of local dialects and regional idiosyncrasies, take into consideration points of cultural sensitivity, and reflect target audiences’ customs and traditions.
Incorporating the following four key elements to personalize global content will ensure your messages and brand resonate in any language, all cultures and every market.
Exceeding expectations – We live in an on-demand world. The ability to access applications, services, information and products at any time, anywhere has changed customers’ expectations of the companies they do business with. Customers instinctively take the path of least resistance, so marketers need to make relevant and meaningful content readily available to them. Making content clear, simple and accessible will help you stand out in a crowded global marketplace.
Providing context – Word-for-word translations alone, especially when machine translation tools are used, are often unnatural, inaccurate and error-prone. Worst of all, they lack context. Organizations that are protective of their brand, and all messaging associated with it, should take precautions to ensure that the context of their messages aren’t lost in translation. Cultural nuances, use of local dialects and phrases, and awareness of the ‘voice’ of specific demographics in a given market provide the context that makes or breaks the all-important connection with any language-specific audience. Leveraging localization (adding cultural nuance) and transcareation (creating entirely new content for the right cultural fit) in conjunction with translation will help you master the context challenge.
Demonstrating cultural sensitivity – Companies that are committed to delivering native brand experiences must learn the traditions, superstitions and regulations that are important to the communities where they do business – and customize content for each target audience based on this knowledge. For example, U.S. companies doing business in Italy should know that while the number 13 is considered unlucky in America, it’s actually a sign of good fortune in Italy.
Ensuring messaging resonates – Understanding what drives buying behavior can be difficult when considering a single market. And, the problem is amplified for every market added. Messages that are considered clever in one country could fall flat in another. While it’s a tough balancing act to develop messages that resonate in each market you conduct business, doing so will yield maximize returns on your expansion investment.
A global content strategy that focuses on delivering native brand experiences with personalized content is a global growth strategy. Although it takes more effort, care and resources to create experiences for prospects and customers that are exclusively tailored for them, the approach will yield much higher returns. It will result in more meaningful and profitable customer interactions, as well as deeper brand penetration in more markets.
Judd Marcello is the vice president of marketing at Smartling, a New York-based SaaS technology company.