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Localization Makes Content Smarter for Global Brands

Martin Witts | April 02, 2019

Localization Makes Content Smarter for Global Brands

So you want to conquer the global market? If your company has a global reach and you’ve been tasked with increasing brand exposure in worldwide markets, you’ll need more than buzzwords. Appealing to multiple markets and cultures is a specialty. It’s worlds away from merely translating your marketing content from one language to another.

Enter localization and transcreation, the way you can make your content fit and succeed, in different global markets. Sounds simple, right? Well, not quite. This goes way beyond translating. It means taking into account cultural nuance, laws, regulations specific to airing in certain markets, and cultural sensitivities. It means looking at thing like clothing choices, use of cigarettes and alcohol, gambling, violence, gender roles and much more.

Localization 101 

Localization, also often referred to as adaption, is the service of taking creative content and making it work in various global markets. It’s more than translating. It’s the process of taking creative and making it relevant, resonant and suitable for use in different countries and cultures.

It may sound simple, but it typically involves coordinating various logistics such as:

  • Determining the scope of what can be achieved with assets on hand: can localization be accomplished in post-production alone or does content need to be re-shot?
  • Considering changes to product labels and product designs based on the way it’s produced and seen on-shelves in various markets
  • Cutting down content or changing the story line slightly, while protecting the overall creative, brand identity, and messaging so that the content provokes the same emotional response from viewers
  •  Awareness of and a familiarity with cultural sensitivities and local broadcast laws and regulations
  • Anticipating and creating preemptive solutions to challenges while in the pre-production phase and considering which markets a campaign will be launched in
  • Delivering the final product to the correct media outlets in the correct formats and in the correct time frame
  • Ensuring all assets are usable and that the project is profitable

Experts in localization are brand guardians: remaining as faithful to the master creative, the established tone of voice, and your brand identity as much as possible all while adapting it for a market on the other side of the globe.

Look at the brilliance of the Share-A-Coke campaign and its ever-evolving localization efforts. It began in Australia in 2011 with a range of common male and female first names. China’s fascination with Coca-Cola products was not to be ignored, so localization experts gave that market a “new way to look at a classic”: Share-A-Coke bottles in China featured nicknames and compliments popularized on Chinese social media.

In 2017, Coke took it a step further by featuring codes and symbols popular in China’s online youth culture.

Transcreation 101

Transcreation is a service – a concept, really – that is widely debated within the world of marketing and advertising. Quite simply, it refers to creatively translating master elements of a piece of content. The script is typically the key creative in question. Experts in transcreation ensure that it is altered to be relevant with terminology that’s specific to a targeted demographic.

It is more than literal translation and the reach it provides is far more nuanced than Google Translate. Transcreation drills deeply into cultural understanding. It considers things like humor, accents, and plays on words to recreate messages and media that can elicit the same emotional responses around the globe.

Look at Procter & Gamble’s decades old move to sell diapers across Asia. Their marketing experts had their sights set on sales without considering cultural norms different from those in the United States. Whereas having pink diapers for girls and blue diapers for boys was trendy and accepted by American standards, unisex white diapers were needed in countries such as Korea and China. Why? Because every purchase of pink forced parents to admit they had daughters, not sons. Gender roles and expectations in the United States were real, but cultural realities in countries of the east came would come with far more intense backlash.

Coming together for smarter content 

Global brands can give pieces of global campaigns to different agencies to execute – or they can streamline content production by working directly with a creative and content production partner that specializes in localization and transcreation. At CreativeDrive, we offer end-to-end content production services and have insight into global markets through locations around the world. Our localization division, headquartered in London at CreativeDrive EMEA, gets involved in the early stages of content production to oversee which markets will be included in global campaigns and making adjustments to the existing creative to fit.

Having a unified content production approach allows brands to have control over their creative and ensure global campaigns have consistent messaging – driving various global audiences to purchase their products.

These specialties are a bridge that connects a rich mix of language, storytelling, and visual content designed to have a very specific effect on audiences. They give voice and power to subtle nuances that simply can’t be translated directly. That voice and power are the elements demanded of your brand by global markets – who want to connect to you and your products on a personal level.