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Think global, act local: Key stages of localisation6 min read

6 min read

In the latest Croud Academy Live webinar, Croud’s Senior Local Project Manager, Alice Wilkinson, and Local Project Manager, Georgina Lake, discussed the importance of localisation whilst outlining key stages of implementation. In this article, we share a round-up of the key themes and insights shared.

Why is localisation important?

Localisation is vital for any business at any stage. The reason being, localisation adjusts and adapts your marketing content to suit the nuances of a specific market. Failure to do this can lead to misinterpretation and, in some cases, consumer backlash. See this Pepsi example below.

localisation

Pepsi’s slogan ‘Come alive with the Pepsi generation’ was mistranslated to ‘Restore your ancestors with Pepsi’ or ‘Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead’. As a result, their Taiwanese consumers were unintentionally spooked. This is just one example that highlights the importance of ensuring your marketing content is accurately localised, regardless of how well-known a brand you are. 

By localising you’re able to engage with various markets more effectively, eliminating the risk of including local insensitivities. However, whilst it is very important for your business, successful localisation can be a challenge, one that requires a fair share of work. 

Creative and design

Different local audiences will have culturally different points of reference. So, to engage with them, you will need to ensure you’re aligning the branding, design and imagery to their values. For some markets, it can be as important as language itself. 

With visuals known to be crucial for engagement, how can you ensure you’re aligning them with in-market values? Firstly, there are a couple of questions you should consider:

  • Does your creative spark joy? And if not, do you know why?
  • Are you using branding or generic creatives across multiple markets? And if so, how is that performing?
  • Have you applied any local insights to your creative design and strategies?

Once you have understood this, you can look to further considerations. Particularly with visuals that include people, it’s important to be wary of gestures and poses to ensure they will be positively received in the market you’re trying to target. This is something worth considering when you are using stock photography in particular. Additionally, it’s worth questioning the relevance. If you are repurposing content used within other markets, will this still be relevant to this particular market audience? If not, it is worth adapting to ensure it is. A truly localised website can deliver business-changing results.

Content

Content is how you communicate your message to your customers. It is how you educate them and how you persuade them to convert. Therefore, it can cover everything from describing your products and services to blogs, FAQs and digital campaigns. For this reason, it is crucial that you are accurately localising your content.

In our international marketing report, we found that 62% of marketers aren’t using local audience insights to guide their market-specific campaigns. A common mistake that many marketers make is directly translating their content across various markets. And as we have already seen from previous examples, this can be detrimental to the success of your campaigns. 

Therefore, when planning content for different markets, there are a few things to consider. 

  • Are there any cultural differences that you need to adapt your content to align with? 
  • What are the in-market trends  and what is important, ie. sustainability, music or influencers?
  • What are the idioms or expressions that are most commonly used?

The key is to identify what will resonate with your audience most strongly. 

Global user experience

When looking at localisation, text translation is only one part of the process, you also need to consider the technical aspects. 

These are the parts of your consumer journey that could impact the chances of a customer making a purchase, or dropping at the point of purchase when you have already invested a lot of time and budget to get them there. The user experience on your local domain should align with what those local expectations are in-market. 

To effectively localise the user experience, you should consider the cultural preferences. This could be the preferred payment options, the most used method of delivery or commonly used devices for browsing and purchasing. This is important because you run the risk of customers losing trust. 

For example, not having certain purchase options available that they will expect. In the US and Western European regions, services like Paypal, Apple Pay and pay by debit are common, whereas in Eastern Europe you will need to consider offering alternatives like cash-on-delivery services.

You should also evaluate what kind of information you need to share with your customers about your products or services. It’s important to ensure this is also in a format that they are expecting to see. 

This may mean converting data into the correct metric system, using the correct date formats, checking currency and other symbols or providing local company information specific for each market. Namely delivery expectations, product return information and any other regulatory policies.

Additionally, if you provide any kind of online or offline customer touchpoints, consider if these too are tailored for the market. Consider whether you can offer a local language chat service or even a local area telephone number. This all can help boost your online engagement and build trust with your in-market audience.

Accuracy and consistency

Accuracy and consistency build confidence. Without this, you may struggle to establish a strong relationship with your new consumer base.

Some of the common mistakes marketers make when targeting new markets are relying on web searches to provide local insights, excluding local nuances, not establishing a local tone of voice and not consistently localising all of their content.

By doing this, you are putting your brand at risk of being misunderstood, as well as reducing your chances of gaining the trust of a new consumer base. Therefore it’s important to take notice of minor differences between markets, whether that’s grammar, spelling or use of alternative words – this may be huge to a native speaker. Ensuring to not mistakenly use both formal or informal language in the wrong context is also key to avoid alienating relevant audiences.

Consistency is proven to increase performance. As shown in the example below,  even just minor updates can make a big difference. By accurately localising UK English to US English, we were able to increase click-through-rate by 21% for one of our clients.

Localisation is crucial for any business looking to expand into newer markets, no matter how big or small. So, ensure you are doing your research and test to confirm your approaches. Avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach and in-market assumptions is the best way to ensure you’re truly tailoring your approach to engage with your local audience. 

You can watch a full recording of the session online here. To find out more about developing a localisation strategy, and how we can help, get in touch.