David Ogilvy once said, “The brand is not just what you say it is, it’s the totality of what the consumer experiences.” Ensuring your customers have a good experience with the brand should be the top priority of anyone in marketing. But as your brand grows outside of local markets, creating a positioning strategy and overall message that resonate with all of your customers offers a new kind of challenge.
As a result, brands should make a concerted effort to create native brand experiences in every market they do business. For those not familiar with native brand experiences, here are a few core elements that help brands to make them:
- Command of local dialects as well as regional preferences and tastes
- Respect of cultural sensitivities in all markets – across your organization
- Awareness of market variables such as currencies, customs, and buyer behavior
You will notice that native brand experiences put the focus on the consumer rather than the brand. This is important because – given the influx of competition globally – there is a constant battle to maintain mindshare with customers. Brands that are winning this battle understand that control of their messages has shifted to the consumer, so it is imperative to speak to them in their language and on their terms.
It’s no longer enough to just translate your website. Everything from the words on the page to the images on the screen need to be taken into account and localized. A vast majority of your messages will be universal in any language, so it’s important to take the time necessary to make sure the parts of your messages that aren’t transferable still resonate.
While it’s an urban legend that when Chevy entered Spanish markets with the Nova, the name of the car was translated as “won’t go”, there are plenty of examples where brands were damaged (or at the very least embarrassed) by sloppy translation and localization. To avoid or mitigate such snafus, brands should employ local marketers who can catch possible mistakes before they go to market.
Steps to Achieve Native Brand Experiences
The key to consistently creating successful native brand experiences is getting buy-in across your entire organization, from the founders and executives to the back office and front desk. In the past this hasn’t been an easy task, especially when internal disagreements between departments create or reinforce silos within a company resulting in a lack of unified vision or strategy.
It is simply not enough to translate the website for a new market, from the C-level execs, down to the proofreaders, everyone needs to work together through each phase in the content strategy effort. If everyone isn’t on board, it will be difficult to put the right strategy and right technology in place to ensure the right messages are delivered.
Once buy-in is secured, it’s important to identify a translation management system that can streamline the translation and localization process, eliminate a vast majority of manual tasks that can be ripe with human error, and allows for in-context editing of content.
Finally, make sure you have the right message in place to engage your audience locally, so you can resonate with them on a personal level. Brands that incorporate native brand experiences into their global content strategy will be set up for success now and in the future.