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How to Build a Creative Localization Strategy

At its core, marketing is about conveying the essence of a brand. Successful global marketing campaigns depend on creative localization – the right message, delivered in the right medium, at the right time, to the right audience. Here are a few simple tips that will help you localize your content as effectively as possible.   

Content localization is the process of taking content that’s been produced for a primary market and adapting it for new target markets. It’s NOT the same as translation, even though these terms are often used interchangeably. At its most basic, localization takes translation a step further, making translated content culturally relevant and easy to understand in context. 

Let’s say you’re taking content written for the American market in American English and using it to enter the Australian market. Both countries speak English as their first language, so you might be tempted to save time and money and just recycle the content. Unfortunately, the same words can mean different things in different countries, even when they speak the same language. For example, in Australia a “thong” is an item of footwear, while in the United States it’s an extremely revealing bikini bottom. The potential problems this could pose for a manufacturer of clothing and footwear are not difficult to imagine.   

Content localization eliminates issues like this and improves user experience on your website. Remember, if you make a user’s experience personalized, easy, and enjoyable, you’ll find that it’s easier to convert traffic into customers or clients. Still not convinced? The numbers back it up: 

  • Content that is locally targeted has six times more engagement than posts designed for the global market. 
  • Almost half of marketers surveyed said that geo-targeting gives the highest return on investment when it comes to advertising. 
  • A failure to localize content can drive customers away – apps that fail to localize can lose as many as 8% to 13% of their customers. 
  • In China, which is set to become the world’s largest consumer market, 92% of the most popular and top-grossing iPhone apps are written in Chinese and have Chinese names. 
  • 86% of the localized advertising campaigns outperformed the English campaigns in both click-throughs and conversions. 

Now that you’ve been thoroughly convinced on the need for creative content localization, here’s what you came for – a few helpful tips toward building a creative content localization strategy.  

Know everything there is to know about your target markets and languages. 

First things first – identify your strongest markets, the places where you have already established an audience and where you have some room to grow. Make use of the built-in social analytics tools that every social media has. For instance, on Twitter, you can go to Twitter analytics to see the list of languages and countries where your followers come from. You might be surprised at the location of some of the markets engaging with your content! A good way to get started is to pick two or three languages from markets where you’re seeing the most growth, and then scale up from there. This lets you try out your new global strategy in a fairly low-risk environment and gives you a chance to implement and refine your workflows.  

Create unique social media accounts for localized content. 

If your main strategy is for your business to become a “permanent resident” of a foreign market, you’re going to need a separate account for your localized content. But before you go about it, there are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself:  

  • What makes each of your business locations unique? 
  • How does your audience differ from region to region? 
  • What factors should you consider when speaking to each local market? 

Don’t be afraid to learn from corporate behemoths like Ikea, Coca-Cola, and Maybelline, all of whom have social media accounts for every country they operate in. All content on Coca-Cola’s Instagram page in Poland (for example) is localized, including hashtags and orthography. Having a unique account for their target audience in Poland helps them stay relevant and tailor their marketing strategy to the needs of that audience.  

Go local when it comes to choosing translators. 

It’s a simple but undeniable truth that nobody knows a given culture better than a local. That’s why it’s important to put the “local” in “localization” and tap into native experts and translators from each of your target markets. If you are translating from English to French but the target market is Quebec, a local translator from Montreal will have a better understanding of the culture and local customs than a translator from Paris. Marketing campaigns that are targeted to one specific region usually can’t be applied to a different country without significant adjustment. Keeping that in mind will guarantee the most accurate localized experience for your customers.   

A Chilli approach 

Our colleagues at Chillistore are experts at creating relevant and inclusive content that can break down the linguistic and cultural barriers that keep you from accessing new markets. They will help you build your online presence in new markets at competitive prices and with the highest possible quality, thanks to their spicy twist on the core values of linguistic quality assurance. To learn more, get in touch with them or contact us here.  

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