Why localization is a lot like running for president

Why localization is a lot like running for president

As the country – and the world – wait with much anticipation to see who will win the most coveted job in US politics, we’ve been just as spellbound as everyone else. It’s safe to say that this presidential race tops them all as far as dramatic flair, last-minute floor-crossing and social media battles go. Winning over an entire population isn’t a simple, nor easy, endeavor. In fact, capturing the hearts, minds and votes of millions is a lot like the localization process. Whether you’re a diehard Democrat or staunch Republican, there are lessons to be learned from the way Clinton and Trump have played their cards.

Currying the favor of an audience that consists of 319 million people requires a strategic approach.

You can bet your bottom dollar on the fact that both parties have an army of staff dedicated to building a strategy that’ll win them the Oval office. While their approaches differ wildly, they both know that a sure fire way to lose supporters is to champion or condemn a cause that’s close to the heart of their followers. While some of the presidential candidates are better than others when it comes to putting their proverbial feet into their mouths, both know that they need to equip themselves with accurate information about their supporters: their demographics, their financial standing and their belief systems. The localization process is much the same. Instead of winning votes, you need to win the patronage of your new market. This calls for a foolproof strategy that’s based on accurate data, and importantly, takes cultural nuance, sensitivity and context into account. In short, you need to cater to your market in the way that appeals to them the most.

The key to wooing a population lies in the degree you’re able to tailor your message.

Both Trump and Clinton know that their keynotes, addresses and debates are that much more effective when they address the issues most topical in a certain area. In other words, they’re masters at rolling out a targeted approach that resonates.

If you’re expanding your brand into several foreign markets, you can’t afford to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Each market segment needs to be catered to in a way that’s tailored to its unique characteristics. The language and dialects you use, the price point you sell your goods at, and the channels you add to your marketing mix are just some of the things that need to be aligned to the unique characteristics of your market.

The most effective way to gain traction in a new market is to base your USP around its most pressing needs.

Both Trump and Clinton are masters in painting themselves as their supporters’ biggest ally. They know when to emphasize a certain solidarity or belief, and when to play others down.

In the same vein, the success of your localized brand, product or service is that much greater when you build it around the things your market cares about most. For example, Starbucks changed their formulaic store layout for their customers in China, adding extra seating and areas for groups in order to accommodate the fact that Chinese patrons see drinking a hot beverage as a social occasion. The brand further adapted their offering in line with their Chinese patrons’ preferences by adding tea and other popular Chinese beverages to their menu. By integrating their brand into the established culture, instead of expecting the Chinese market to adapt to their offering, Starbucks have successfully penetrated the Asian market, and continue to expand Asian operations due to their success.

We’re a Localization Service Provider that helps leading local and international brands to get their message across – no matter who their audience is. Download our latest eBook, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Global Product Expansion’ to learn about the best way to approach a brand new market.

Image Credit: pexels.com

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Six essentials for a successful global marketing campaign

Six essentials for a successful global marketing campaign

In theory, executing a global marketing campaign is simple. You take your message or slogan, translate it into a couple of languages and voilà. Unfortunately, the reality is far less simple – though many a brand has rolled out a global marketing campaign that’s designed with only the theory in mind (somewhat unsuccessfully we might add). Whether you’re about to launch a global marketing campaign, or have already implemented one, read on for the six most crucial considerations you need to be cognizant of.  

1. Get your core message right from the get go.

Without a rock-solid, easily-understandable message at the heart of your global campaign, you run the risk of your message being diluted to the point where it loses all meaning. If you’re building out a campaign from scratch, make sure that your message is actually translatable in the first place. This applies to both the copy and the underlying message. Slogans or catchphrases (or even ideas) that rely on idiom, nuance or innuendo rarely retain their meaning when translated into another language. HSBC learnt this lesson the hard way after the leading financial provider was forced to rebrand its entire global marketing messaging after its slogan “Assume Nothing”  translated into “Do Nothing”. Besides the cringe factor, the re-branding effort reportedly totaled $10 million.

2. Choose the most audience-appropriate channels.

The most successful global marketing campaigns owe their efficacy – in large part at least – to the fact that they’re broadcast on the channels that are most appropriate to each market. The potency of your media mix plays a crucial role in the efficacy of your global campaign, and choosing the right combination of traditional and offline platforms can be the difference between a message that reaches (and resonates with) your intended audience, and one that gets lost in the ether.

3. Conduct exhaustive – and extensive – market research.

As we’ve written time and time again, the depth and breadth of your market research dictates the success of any expansion into a foreign territory. After all, it’s infinitely harder to appeal to someone you don’t know the first thing about. The reason why brands like Starbucks, for example, are so successful in their global expansion efforts is because they’ve made a concerted effort to understand not just the culture at hand, but the sensitivities, nuances and context thereof.

4. Ensure your campaign is cohesive and uniform.

McDonald’s golden arches are instantly recognizable, regardless of where you are in the world. While localizing your marketing campaign is important, so too is maintaining the ‘golden thread’: the core message that ties all of your marketing touch points together. For McDonald’s, this is their signature red and yellow branding, their golden arches and the seemingly immortal visage of Ronald McDonald. Uniform marketing does more than cement your brand firmly in the mind of your market; it conveys a sense of reliability and trustworthiness too.

5. Prioritize proactive project management.

Launching and managing an international marketing campaign requires an exhaustive, detail-orientated schedule that leaves nothing to chance. That said, having a detailed plan is useless if it’s not being followed to the T. Making use of a project management team who’ll take the reins and firmly steer all stakeholders in the right direction is key to meeting deadlines and covering your bases.

6. Seek the guidance of an experienced Localization Service Provider.

Rolling out a global marketing campaign across time zones and language barriers is no small feat. The stakes are high, which means that you can’t afford to drop even one of the many (many) balls that you’re simultaneously juggling. Having the expertise and insight of an LSP, however, can make this process a lot more streamlined (not to mention less stressful).

We’re a global translation services provider who helps firms – big and small – to get their message heard. Download our eBook, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Global Product Expansion’ to learn more about the ins and outs of successful foreign expansion.

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Around the world in 80 emojis

Around the world in 80 emojis

Since the dawn of time, human beings have communicated through pictures. The 21st century equivalent of Hieroglyphics, emojis* add nuance and context to our everyday digital conversations and have changed the way we communicate across digital platforms – for the better. The Unicode 9.0 update (the industry standard for digital text) is set to add 72 emojis that will soon be rolled out on Android and iOS. Heeding calls (most notably from Google) for increased gender diversity of the emoji ‘alphabet’, the new additions in Unicode 9.0 include gendered pairs like a female Santa Claus, a dancing man and a groom. Following suit from the 2015 introduction of modifiers for skin tone, 2016 has been dubbed as the year emojis become fully diversified to include female representations of professional roles that are currently only available in the male gender. (Whether or not this comes to fruition remains to be seen.)

Emojis, and our use thereof, are a direct reflection of the current zeitgeist.

In the wake of the Orlando shootings – an act which highlighted the ongoing debate around gun control – a proposed assault rifle emoji was scrapped after Apple and other influential tech companies voiced their displeasure. As our on and offline lives become increasingly intertwined, it makes sense that popular sentiment and real life current events spill over into the digital sphere, influencing one of the primary tools of modern day communication.

Initially touted as the great equalizer, our use of emojis is far more dependent on our unique cultural idiosyncrasies than first thought.

The way you conduct a conversation with your boss is vastly different to the way you catch up with a friend. While both interactions rely on the same language, your use of individual words and phrases, your tone, and the subtext are dependent on situation and context. It makes sense then that the use of emojis – essentially another tool with which we communicate – differs (vastly) across genders, ages, demographics and cultures. Swiftkey recently analyzed over 1 billion pieces of emoji data across 16 languages and regions – and the results provide some interesting (and amusing) insights into the way different cultures are using emojis.

Despite (or maybe because of) a spate of tragic and violent world events, ‘happy faces’ still beat ‘sad faces’ in the popularity stakes.

In addition to smiling emojis, love is in the air, with hearts and romance-themed emojis coming out tops around the globe. As far as culturally-unique emoji usage goes, Canadians are fondest of using the smiling poop emoji, while Brazilians are the most prolific users of the cat emoji. Australians make their fondness for vice apparent, using “double the average amount of alcohol-themed emoji, 65% more drug emoji than the average, and leading both junk food and holiday emoji [in usage].” In addition, Arabic emoji users send plants and flower emojis four times more than any other nation, while Americans use the most LGBT emojis out of all of the countries surveyed. What’s more, US citizens are also the most frequent users of the chicken drumstick, aubergine, birthday cake and bag of dollars. (You can read the full report here.)

The findings from a recent study confirmed that the way we use and interpret emojis is dependent on our societal status, location and cultural context.

In an experiment run by Group Lens, researchers examined the different ways participants interpreted emojis. For example, 2015’s most-used emoji, the ‘face with tears of joy’ (recently named as Oxford Dictionary’s ‘word’ of the year’) was equally interpreted as both positive or negative. Jacob Thebault-Spieker, one of the researchers told NPR: “The understanding that we have from theory suggests that people build shared meaning of communication and interaction over time….These [emoji] are new. People are building up their new norms within a group of friends or within a geographic region or perhaps even within a culture and those things may start to even out over time.”

Our use of emojis serves as a reminder that even in an age where we’re more interconnected than ever before, the ways in which we communicate are still influenced by our unique cultural and demographic qualities.

As a leading global translation services provider, we know that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to getting your message across. You can find out more about our approach to the translation process here.

*Debate around the plural form of emoji rages on. For sake of clarity, we’ve chosen to use emojis.

Image Credit: pexels.com

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Blog roundup: 2016 so far…

Blog roundup: 2016 so far…

The first half of 2016 has been a bumper year for the Rubric team. We’ve helped companies big and small with the localization and translation of mobile apps, training collateral, web copy, videos, and a whole host of multimedia content.

We’ve rounded up the best of the best of our 2016 blogs to date, so before you set your sights on the second half of the year, make sure you haven’t missed out on the latest insight, advice and opinion on the translation and localization industry.

Video games, cultural awareness and your brand: lessons worth learning

The video and mobile game industry is big business. (Dare we even mention the real-life ramifications of Pokemon Go?) As video games become more sophisticated and immersive thanks to rapid advances in virtual reality and animation, one aspect that’s remained the same is a notable lack of cultural awareness. The gamer demographic is vast and diverse, which means that culturally sensitive content should be a no-brainer, yet it’s not. Find out what your brand can learn from the video game and cultural awareness conundrum, here.

Need to know: Six website localization dos and don’ts

Website localization is a crucial consideration for any company with an international presence. In a digital world, your website is more often than not, the first interaction someone has with your brand. Unfortunately, subpar website localization can trip up even the biggest of brands, resulting in a negative brand image and potentially jeopardizing your success in a foreign market. The good news is, if you’re aware of the potential pitfalls associated with localizing a website, you have a much better chance of steering clear of these blunders. Read all about it here.

Marketing messaging for a global audience on social media: A how-to guide, part I

Marketing messaging for a global audience on social media: A how-to guide, part II

In our social media-obsessed age, brands who aren’t making use of Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and the like are missing out on a powerful way to broadcast their message and increase their brand awareness. That said, if you’re targeting audiences across several territories, your social media marketing needs to be localized to the unique cultural contexts of each.

In our two part blog series, we look at the best ways to go about localizing your social media messaging, crucial considerations to be cognizant of, and the potential pitfalls to avoid when implementing a social strategy in a new market. Read about how to go about this here and here.

Are you considering the following when mitigating potential marketing translation errors?

Google ‘translation errors’ and you’ll be met with pages and pages (and pages) of dire examples of translations gone horribly, horribly wrong. And when your market is a foreign one, this is a scenario you never want to encounter. Besides the embarrassment factor, inaccurate translations can cost you your reputation, a substantial amount of money, and the success of your entire foreign expansion to boot. Read more to find out what you need to keep in mind in order to avoid the fallout from marketing translation errors, here.

If you’d like to chat to us about our localization services, you can get in touch with us here.

Image Credit: svcontact.nl

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The Rubric Approach to Localization Services [Slideshare]

The Rubric Approach to Localization Services [Slideshare]

Not all localization services are made equal. But what makes the Rubric process different to our competitors? As it turns out, several things in fact. Our SlideShare highlights the fundamental building-blocks of our localization services, from beginning to end, and everything in between.

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