Localisation: what is it?
Localisation services – who is it for and when should it be implemented?
Creating a company, establishing a network of reliable business partners and reaching a stable position on the market is undoubtedly challenging, often becoming an ever-evolving process stretched over a considerable period of time. Part of entrepreneurs who have successfully launched their own companies on a national level start to look beyond the borders of their own country; growth possibilities and international recognition of their brand push them towards this revolutionary step. One of the most important stages of such endeavour is building brand awareness among the target audience. Preparation of meticulously translated marketing texts and website content is just the beginning, though. Such activities require far more precise and targeted action – and this is exactly when an aspiring global entrepreneur should think about localisation.
Focus on localisation and leap forward!
Entrepreneurs often underestimate the power of localisation, treating it as an unnecessary and expensive step, needlessly lengthening the general process of brand launch preparation. Target clients, however, tend to trust the companies that speak their language, as well as understand and respect the fundamentals of their culture. It is an effort definitely worth taking, as all that it requires is finding a trustworthy partner – be it a native speaker of a given language, ideally a person educated in marketing or having some entrepreneurial experience, or a professional marketing agency who will take care of proper brand image. One might say that it is easier said than done; dealing with consequences of inappropriate or disrespectful advertising campaign, however, will be far less amusing. Iconic TV adverts or mottos linger in memory of target audience, with its members occasionally reminiscing about them during nostalgic conversations or in throwback posts on social media. Localising one’s content saves the entrepreneur from backlash that comes with ill-prepared campaigns, often considered by target audience members as plain disrespectful towards their culture.
When in Rome… - how to make a foreign brand seem local.
Growing up surrounded by a particular culture, observing national holidays and learning about the history of one’s homeland makes people bond closely with their motherland and the figures crucial for its technological and cultural development. No wonder that people are often feeling personally insulted by offensive campaigns targeted at the set of values and traditions embodying their ethnic identity. One should always bear this fact in mind while brainstorming marketing campaign ideas; this is the best moment to reach out to professionals specialising in localisation services. Translating the content is not enough - while the meaning may be fully conveyed, one also has to observe the words being used and cultural references (as some historical events might be considered as a taboo and are better left unspoken). And that’s still just the beginning – one has to carefully review brand’s visual identity as it might turn out that a neutral symbol in one’s culture is regarded as highly offensive in other parts of the world. Same applies to colour scheme - in some countries black usually denotes sadness and evokes immediate thoughts of death, while for people brought up in different culture such meaning can be ascribed to white. Language register, slang and metaphors also have to be taken into the consideration; you definitely want to make sure that your campaign aimed at i.e. finance professionals is not written in a language widely used by teenagers. Taking care of all these details in the beginning will bring extraordinary results in the future – a translator, no matter how professional his work outcome might seem, may be unaware of such nuances if they live in a different country. The least we can expect after a disastrous campaign is public backlash and loss of clients’ trust. The consequences can be far more serious, often involving legal trouble and financial woes.
The underrated value of localisation in international marketing
Localisation is not yet considered as a standard procedure and an integral part of the international marketing campaign preparation process. Big market players often use it to get closer to the target audience and create a convincing, authentic image brand image – sometimes it is worth to take a leaf out of their book, even if we are just about to introduce our services and products to new clients. Adjusting the cultural, linguistic and visual aspects of a company to the expectations of a target audience is undoubtedly an effort worth making.