This level of attention to detail can be daunting, but it's essential for businesses looking to succeed in new territories. By investing in localization, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to the local community, build trust and loyalty, and ultimately drive revenue growth.
As a Language Services Provider (LSP), we know this may seem daunting. Scary even. We help businesses localize into markets across the world every day. It’s the job of an LSP to have the knowledge and global reach to make this process just another one in your business growth strategy.
If you're looking to expand your business into new territory, it's crucial to understand the importance of localization. In this article, we'll explore the key factors to consider and why it's vital for achieving success in a new market.
When companies take the time to localize their products and services, they are saying to their audience, "We see you, we hear you, and we care about you." It's not just about making a sale, but about building a relationship with the local community.
This means understanding their values, respecting their customs, and adapting to their way of life. By showing this level of care and attention, companies can earn the trust and loyalty of their target audience, which can lead to long-term success in the market.
So, if you want to be successful in a new territory, it's not enough to simply sell a product; you need to show that you care about the people who will be using it.
What’s In It For You?
Traction. Engagement. A loyal customer base. And yes, revenue.
I mean, unless you’re a non-profit, that’s why you’re there – to make money.
But you’re not a faceless, uncaring corporate monster (we hope), so you want to make money that people are happy to pay because your product or service makes their life better.
Isn't Localization Just Translation?
And ballet is just dancing. Usain Bolt was just a runner. Stephen Hawking was just a university professor.
Of course, we know that these statements are all true at a base level, but they have much deeper associations. The levels of complexity of the subjects, aren’t touched in those sentences.
It requires a deep understanding of the local culture, customs, and beliefs, and adapting everything in your product or business to fit the audience's preferences.
This means that all forms of media, content, and communication need to be considered, including video, audio, photography, social media, telephony, and even product packaging.
Failure to consider any of these elements can result in a disconnection with the local audience, which can negatively impact your business's bottom line.
Therefore, it's crucial to take a holistic approach to localization and ensure that every aspect of your operations is tailored to meet the expectations and preferences of the local market.
By doing so, you can create a strong, lasting relationship with your target audience, build trust and loyalty, and ultimately drive revenue growth.
Anywhere copy is used it needs to reflect the local culture. Going into South Africa?
Are you going to communicate in English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Zhosa or one of the other seven official languages? Or all of them? What community are you targeting?
When it comes to localizing video content, there are a lot of factors to consider during the process. Dubbing can be a costly process that requires a team of technicians and talented voice actors to recreate the audio in the target language.
Alternatively, subtitling may be a more cost-effective option, but it's important to ensure that the subtitles accurately reflect the message being conveyed in the video.
In addition to the audio, it's crucial to consider the visual elements of the video. Are the images representative of the target culture? Do they accurately reflect the ethnicity and lifestyle of the local audience?
These are important questions to ask during the localization process, as the visual elements of a video can have a significant impact on its effectiveness in the target market.
By taking the time to adapt the video content to the local audience, businesses can build a stronger connection with their target audience and improve their chances of success in the new market.
When it comes to audio localization, it's essential to find the right voice actors with the appropriate accents and dialects. This can be a challenging task, particularly for languages with regional variations.
In the United Kingdom, for example, a mild non-regional Scottish accent is known to perform well in advertising. It's believed that this is because the accent is perceived as trustworthy and friendly, making it an ideal choice for brands looking to connect with their audience.
However, it's important to note that this may not be the case in other regions. In some cultures, a specific accent or dialect may be associated with a particular social class or stereotype, which could impact its effectiveness in advertising.
Therefore, it's crucial to conduct thorough research into the local culture and preferences to ensure that the right voice actors are selected. By doing so, businesses can create audio content that resonates with their target audience and strengthens their connection with the local market.
When it comes to photography, it's essential to consider the cultural sensitivities of the target market. For example, if you're expanding into a strictly Muslim region, it's important to ensure that all photography reflects the modest dress requirements, and there is only an appropriate amount of skin showing.
Similarly, if you're targeting a city like Buenos Aires, it's crucial to ensure that the images on your website or marketing materials resonate with the local audience. If your current images are of rural Montana and don't relate to the target market, it's necessary to consider changing them to something more relatable to the local porteños.
It's essential to remember that visuals can have a significant impact on how your brand is perceived in a new market. By taking the time to ensure that all visual elements are suitable for the target audience, you can create a positive impression and build a stronger connection with the local community.
When it comes to social media, it's important to do your research on the platforms that are popular in the target country. For example, if you're looking to expand into China, you'll quickly discover that Facebook is banned in the country.
Instead, you'll need to focus your efforts on platforms like WeChat, which has over a billion users in China and is a crucial tool for socializing and conducting business.
By understanding the social media landscape in the target market, you can tailor your content and communication strategy to reach your audience where they are most active and engaged.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that the platforms you use in your home market will work the same way in another country. Take the time to learn about local preferences and adapt your approach accordingly.
Telephone communication is an important touchpoint between your business and your customers, especially when it comes to handling complaints. It's essential to make sure that the person on the other end of the line speaks the local dialect, as customers will quickly turn on your brand if they feel like they're talking to someone who has no idea about their local situation.
This means that your customer service representatives should not only be fluent in the local language but also understand the nuances of the dialect. They should be equipped to handle complaints in a way that reflects the local culture and customs, as this will help to build trust and strengthen your brand's connection with the local community.
It's also important to consider the technology and infrastructure available in the target market. For example, if you're expanding into a remote or rural area, you may need to provide a toll-free number or use a different communication method, such as text messaging or WhatsApp.
By taking the time to ensure that your telephone communication strategy is tailored to the local market, you can provide a seamless and positive customer experience that will help to drive revenue growth and build a loyal customer base.
Product packaging is a crucial aspect of localization that cannot be overlooked. It's not just about translating the text on the packaging into the local language, but also ensuring that the images and design are culturally appropriate and relevant to the target market.
For example, a popular brand of baby food once made the mistake of using images of babies on their packaging when expanding into a rural African area with a low literacy rate. The local manufacturers had the practice of putting pictures of what was in the cans on the packaging so that illiterate consumers would understand what they were purchasing. However, the images of babies on the packaging caused confusion and shock in the community.
The brand struggled to gain traction in the market until they realized their mistake and changed their packaging. They opted for images of the actual food, such as tuna, chicken, peas, beans, and so on, which helped to build trust with the local community and increase sales.
This highlights the importance of considering all aspects of product packaging when localizing for a new market. It's not just about translating the text, but also ensuring that the images and design are culturally appropriate and relevant to the target audience. By doing so, businesses can avoid costly mistakes and build a strong connection with their local customers.
Setting up an on-the-ground presence is an important aspect of localization that businesses need to consider. This involves hiring a team of local experts who can provide insight into the local culture, customs, and preferences.
When setting up a team, it's important to consider where you will hire these people from. Are there local recruitment agencies that specialize in the type of skills you need? Are there any cultural barriers that may impact the hiring process?
It's also essential to ensure that your team reflects the local community. This means hiring people from different backgrounds and ethnicities and providing them with the necessary training and resources to effectively represent your business in the local market.
By having a team on the ground, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of the local market and build stronger relationships with their target audience. This can ultimately lead to increased revenue growth and long-term success in the new market.
What Happens if You Don't Localize?
Well, someone else probably will. A competitor most likely. If you’ve seen an opportunity for your industry, chances are someone else has seen it too. Being first-to-market has its advantages, obviously, but being the first to be properly accepted by the market has longer term advantages.
Moving into a new market can be a daunting task for any company, but with the right help, it can be a smooth and successful transition. Localization experts can provide invaluable insights into the target culture, language, and preferences, ensuring that your communication strategy is tailored to the local market.
By adopting a localization mindset and considering all levels of communication, from audio and visual elements to product packaging and on-the-ground presence, businesses can build a connection with their audience and increase their chances of success.
It's important to have a genuine desire to understand the nuances of the culture and customs of the target audience. This means taking the time to conduct thorough research and involving local experts in the process. By doing so, businesses can create a positive impression and build a long-term relationship with the local community.
Localization doesn't have to be daunting, as long as you approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn. With the right approach and a dedicated team, any company can move into any market and achieve success.
At LinguaLinx, we prioritize your message and ensure that it's never lost in translation. With twenty years of professional translation experience and ISO 17100 compliance, you can trust us to handle your project with care.
Join the organizations who have already put their trust in us and take the first step towards successful localization.