When you’re thinking of expanding into foreign markets, you have to optimize all of your web and marketing content, and even your brand, for the local audience. Now, this might have meant simply translating all of your content into the local language back in the day, but nowadays, translation alone simply doesn’t cut it, especially if you’re looking to actually make a positive impact and minimize risks in the new marketplace. Yes, the translation might take into consideration some cultural nuances and guidelines, and adjust the content accordingly, but if you truly want to build brand awareness and trust, you have to adapt your entire brand to the local audience.
This is where localization, or transcreation as it’s also called, comes into play. Transcreation delves deep into the culture of the market, and aims to tailor the content and the brand according to the unique likes and dislikes, cultural heritage, and customers of the local customers and the public. Needless to say, localization is a powerful weapon in your expansion strategy, so here are the five steps to localize your content and brand presence.
Researching the local culture
Every successful transcreation project starts with proper and meticulous research, especially if you are doing it in-house. Your first order of business is to prioritize the languages based on the level of localization difficulty, as some cultures are simply more nuanced or “stricter” than others. You will do this by analyzing the total investment needed to expand into that area, and then analyze other markets to find the one you can adapt your content for more easily.
That said, it’s not just about researching the local dialect, customs, and cultural heritage – it’s also about researching the idiosyncrasies of your target audience, and adjusting the content for that age group, their interests, and its genders. What’s more, it’s imperative that you analyze the performance of the local competitors and the practices that they use to connect with the local audience. This will help you discover market gaps and help you tailor your entire marketing approach.
Break the language barrier
Every language is permeated by history and culture, and hundreds if not thousands of years of linguistic evolution. Every language is, therefore, very unique, so you can’t hope to convey the same messages with the same level of success using the same approach you did back home. Your marketing messages might resonate well with your local audience, but somewhere across the globe, they might alienate or downright anger your customers. This is a recipe to get kicked out of a foreign market rather quickly.
To prevent such a marketing disaster, you have to delve deep into the subtle nuances of the language, and find the exact wording that will help you convey your messages in the right way. This not only means that you have to translate your content, but that you might have to write entirely new content with your existing content serving as only the foundation, in order to really appeal to your new customers.
Tailor the content for the local audience
When you’re crafting new stories and adapting your brand and marketing narratives to appeal to the local audience, you have to work with native professionals. There is no one better suited to handle the delicate transcreation process than an experienced team of local marketers and translators that know the ins and outs of the market. This will also minimize risks and errors, which will allow for a smoother project overall.
Unsurprisingly, this is one of the reasons why professional transcreation services have become so popular and in-high demand in recent years, as brand leaders that are looking to expand into foreign markets understand the potential risks if they fail to adapt their content to the local marketplace. The concept of transcreation perfectly combines the language aspect of the process with the cultural needs of the target market so that your brand can appeal to its target audience successfully.
Focus on localizing creative content
Content is a very wide notion that encompasses a variety of forms, and your content can range from a simple ad, an announcement, all the way to a complex infographic that utilizes plenty of data you’ve compiled. While simple translations will often be enough for your announcements that are brief and to the point, you should be mindful of localizing your more creative content formats.
For example, videos portraying the local culture are better than using a template video format with scenery nobody will recognize. Using locally relevant data and research in your infographics, linguistic forms preferred by the locals, and specific imagery all reflects your care and respect for the local audience, hence the need to get local with your creative content output.
Making the content functional
Although your lengthy articles, studies, video tutorials and similar content will always bear more relevance to your followers in your new target market, you should certainly pay attention to those pesky details on your website and social media, too. For instance, make sure that your work hours, contact information, office details, and the like are clearly stated and different for each region where you operate. The same goes for your currency, payment methods, and other technical details that make your website functional and useful for your new demographic.
Translation will always be a necessary element when your business moves into a new market, and working with language experts is essential. However, in order to establish a long-term bond, you need to take your content beyond language and use the cultural nuances specific to your new target market. Use these tips to localize all of your content and allow your brand to impress your new audience with ease.