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May 4, 2018
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Companies take many factors into consideration when setting budgets. More often than not, localization is seen as an additional cost, making it extremely difficult to do business across borders. If you take a different approach though and look at localization in relation to the volume of additional sales it generates, the picture looks quite different. In many companies localization generates $1,000 for every dollar spent on localization. That puts it into perspective, doesn’t it? Which is why it’s so vital for you to ensure that localization is being implemented correctly.

As part of your role, you’d also want to ensure that you are getting the most valuable solution for your company, which is why you would want to measure whether your current service providers and translation agency are actually providing that value. The good news is that you can do this through the Common Sense Advisory’s Localization Maturity Model (or LMM).

The LMM is a framework created to make sure that everything your organization needs for their localization and globalization plans are met, that they are tailored to your specific needs and for you to understand your current standing in the process. No matter which LMM stage your organization is at, there are a set of steps to take to ensure it is successfully implemented. The step we will focus on in this blog post, is that of governance and how benchmarking it will help you to track your most important metrics.

What exactly is governance?

According to the Common Sense Advisory (or CSA), localization governance is explained as “The processes that ensure the efficient use of resources to achieve an organization’s global business goals and compliance with agreed-upon policies and procedures.”

Here are some areas you may want to look at:

  • Where does the money come from?

The finance and/or purchasing departments typically allocate funds to translation. The question, however, is how is it done? Is it part of the general funds allocated (for example, you have x allocated to marketing, y to sales, etc.) or is translation ring-fenced? Does it have its own specifically allocated funds?

  • Service Level Agreements

What Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are in place to ensure localization quality meets required standards? Similarly, what SLAs are in place with regards to linguistic quality, customer service, turnaround, etc.?

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Are KPIs linked to costs? What about linking them to revenue? What about customer satisfaction? Is it measured at all? Is your company measuring Total Cost of Ownership (outsourced + internal effort/expenditure)?

  • Functional silos

Is there interdepartmental cooperation and sharing of knowledge? Are there coordinated translation efforts with might lead to a smoother localization path?

Ultimately, you want to ensure that you implement the LMM and conduct the governance step to track your localization efforts and learn on how to improve on them.

Simply put, governance is important because it allows you to ensure the highest standards possible across the board. From ensuring high-quality localized content to keeping within budget and making sure that employees spend their time efficiently. The important thing to remember, is that it’s not just good enough to implement governance processes in place to achieve localization – it can’t be seen in isolation. All the steps to the LMM are important for the optimum localization strategy and success. Interested in finding out more or understanding how this can come together in your business? Contact us at Rubric today.

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash


May 4, 2018
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As the global marketplace expands and becomes digitized, it’s important to ensure that your services are localized. There are no two ways about it, you need to speak directly to your customers in a language they understand. But localization is not merely a matter of translating products into various languages. It’s about creating a strategy that is understood and consistent across all of your company’s departments.

The great news, is that these days, localization is easier than ever – and this is thanks to the Common Sense Advisory’s Localization Maturity Model (LMM). In simple terms, the LMM is in place to ensure that your requirements for localization are carried out by the best teams and processes and are based specifically on your unique needs and market.

Not sure if the LMM would be right for your company? Then take a look at what incorporating it could mean for you:

The LMM takes the localization journey to a new level

The LMM is structured according to nine levels or stages of localization maturity. Each level has a strategic process in place in order to propel a company to the next level – until full localization (stage nine) is reached. Technically, the nine levels are divided into two categories: mature and immature. While localization should always be on a trajectory towards growth and improvement, there are companies that can be deemed as ‘localization immature’. In essence, there are five maturity phases and four immaturity phases. They are as follows:

Maturity phases:

1 – Reactive – At this phase, workflows are kept relatively ad hoc, things are done as they need to be done and there is a lot of uncertainty around roles and responsibility. There aren’t proper plans or strategies in place.

2 – Repeatable – At this level, there are a few processes in place and some of them are updated and used regularly.

3 – Managed – There are signs of things being much more formal and documented at this stage. Localization is actively being managed and various vendors are used.

4 – Optimized – In this phase, there is an optimized and managed system of localization. It’s a priority for the company, standards and processes are adhered to, and tools are shared internally.

5 – Transparent – In this phase, there are well-implemented systems, processes, and tools in place. They are constantly being improved upon and scaled. Localization is an integral part of the company and all products and release planning are based on it.

Immaturity phases:

0 – Negligent – This is the categorization for companies that do not see the need for localization. They therefore have not even thought about implementing any processes or applying it to any of their products.

-1 – Obstructive – This is the phase for companies that let things such as budget get in the way of localization. It’s the category for operations that have something ‘standing in their way’.

-2 – Scornful – This often happens when people have tried the process before and it didn’t work. Disillusioned from their experience, and thinking it’s bound to fail, they feel that implementing any localization processes is futile.

-3 – Discouraging – People who categorically are anti-localization. It’s a very negative phase where people are often under pressure due to strict budgets that need very thorough reports and information to justify any costs.

The LMM is designed to help companies progress from whichever stage they already are in to a more optimized stage using strong strategies and processes to move through the levels. It also helps them to understand where they have come from, where they are currently, and what they need to work towards.

The LMM can give you a better return on investment

The reality is that with the LMM implemented you are empowered to select the best vendors, create solid and successful strategies, implement streamlined processes, utilize the ideal tools and set up the most important KPIs. This in the long term will ensure that you are able to achieve the lowest total cost of ownership and increase your ROI.

In a personal capacity, using the LMM in conjunction with a localization service provider to achieve everything we just mentioned also gives you better access to the key decision makers within your organization. This will allow you to achieve more in less time and show your value to the right people.

The steps to implementing the LMM are simple

Each core element of implementing the LMM is essential to the success of the process, and the steps to incorporate them are simple:

Governance

Governance is the process of ensuring that everything that is done is tracked and is in accordance with agreed-upon policies. This can be done by looking at KPIs that can be monitored and tracked.

Strategy

It’s vital that a firm strategy is created to achieve localization. This is where companies will set long-term goals and budgets for expansion and growth. This is where a conversation about localization needs to be opened throughout the company and filter through to all departments so that it can form part of the company strategy and in order for people to see the value of localization. This requires a content audit in order to see which markets are your biggest and smallest, and what content you currently have in order to see what can be leveraged. This is a process that will take some time to fully integrate.

Process

For localization to be successful, there needs to be a set and defined process, or set of processes, in place. It’s crucial that this process is documented so that everyone in the internal team can all be on the same page. This document can be agile and can be added to as the processes evolve. You can kick this off by listing any processes you might already have in place.

Organizational structure

This links to the point above. It’s crucial that once you have implemented localization processes, they are clearly communicated to the rest of the team. Make sure that the concept of localization, best practices, style guides, and glossaries are shared, explained and discussed. Ensure that your upper management understands the importance of the Center of Excellence.

Automation

The wonderful thing about localization is that operations can be automated, this doesn’t necessarily impact every department, but it’s a vital part of the process and worth understanding.

Your exact steps will be dictated by your current position in the localization journey. If you would like to find out more information about the LMM or are looking for help in implementing the right processes for your business, then contact us at Rubric.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash


March 27, 2018
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Global Content is the bread and butter of a successful international marketing strategy. If you get it right, your company can enjoy heightened success in overseas markets; but if your Global Content is lacking, then you risk jeopardizing not only expansion into new markets, but your overall brand reputation as well. This is why it’s so important to ensure that all of your Global Content is designed for international use right from the start.


March 27, 2018
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Expanding into global markets is an exciting prospect for any business. It holds the promise of reaching new customers, driving profitability, and adding international depth to the brand’s reputation. But as with every opportunity, there is a degree of risk and uncertainty. Will your brand messaging be effective at addressing local cultural sensibilities? Will local markets respond to your product design and packaging?


February 27, 2018
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Once you’ve invested time and resources into developing a Global Content strategy, it’s important to know what to look out for to ensure that everything is on track and going as planned.

By its very nature, a Global Content strategy is a broad undertaking with many moving parts. This large-scale focus can make it tricky to identify quick wins or notice immediate results. After all, organizing Global Content is ultimately about redefining the status quo—effecting change on a fundamental level to positioning the company for consistent and long-term international success.

That being said, any strategy worth its weight in gold—that is, demonstrable ROI—offers a number of ways for its executioners to know they’re on the right track. The trick: simply knowing where to look.

Here’s what to look out for to know your Global Content Strategy is working:

International sales are the benchmark

The biggest measure of a successful Global Content strategy will inevitably be its impact on international sales. If global customers are engaged by high-quality content, then they’ll be more inclined to purchase your product or service. If you segment international markets and contrast international sales with the expenditure of each, you’ll end up with a general indication of the effectiveness of your Global Content strategy in terms of ROI.

Keep an eye on your international helplines

Another interesting metric is to look at is the number of calls logged with your international helplines. When your Global Content messaging is unclear, poorly translated, or simply doesn’t click with a certain overseas market, your company is likely to see an uptick in calls asking for clearer information. If you do see such an increase, try to link those customers to the corresponding content (or lack thereof) and make adjustments to improve its suitability.

Your website is a great source of data

The performance of your international web site should directly correlate with the success of your Global Content strategy. Just make sure you pay attention to the right metrics and conduct regular analysis. Key website performance metrics include the number of visitors, the length of their stay, and how well the site ranks for certain keywords. It’s also useful to track the geographic location of your visitors with a tool like ClustrMaps, so you can see the direct impact of new Global Content on traffic from targeted regions.

By organizing your Global Content, your company will be in a better position to capitalize on globalization and enter new international markets with consistent success. If you would like to discuss these benefits, please get in touch.


February 27, 2018
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When many key decision makers in a business think about translating their content for new international markets, they view it as a reluctant cost. It usually sounds something like this: “We already have the content…and now we need to shell out for translation? What a pain!”

But this is a misleading way of looking at the issue. Translation isn’t a cost to be begrudgingly accepted. Rather, it’s an opportunity for your brand to grow and reach corners of the globe never before possible. And from a financial standpoint, the benefit of having content that’s accurate, engaging, and culturally on-point far outweighs the cost, as there will be a significant increase in potential revenue from new international markets.

But considering that it’s rarely feasible to translate your Global Content in its entirety, how much translated material do you actually need?

Your translation investment should match market potential

Companies often segment international markets according to their potential size and profitability. For instance, if 50% of all products are shipped to China while only 5% are shipped to Norway, then China would constitute a larger market than Norway.

This can be a handy guide for determining how much translated material you need for any given region. The bigger the market, the more value you are likely to receive for high-quality translated content. To use our previous example, a large market like China might qualify for translated brochures, product descriptions, website, and videos, while a smaller market like Norway might only receive translated brochures.

Above all, your Global Content should be useful

The most important factor that should be driving your Global Content efforts is usefulness. If certain content would increase in value—and usefulness—through translation, then by all means it will likely be worth the investment. A few key indicators of the usefulness of Global Content include: impact on your brand’s reputation, legality in the country of distribution, relevance to the target market, and how easily people can find it through strategic promotion and online SEO best practices.

If you would like to talk to someone about organizing your Global Content for international success, do connect with Rubric.


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