The importance of effective brand localization

Over the last few decades or so, we have seen how radically connected the world has become as a result of globalization of the world economy which has bought about greater benefits in terms of economics, politics and many other sectors.

This globalization movement has thus set the stage for an increasing number of firms to expand and establish their presence internationally, however when businesses venture into foreign markets, they are usually faced with the tough challenge of adaptation as product names and marketing messages might become meaningless or even offensive after translation into a different language.

An example of what happens when global branding goes wrong would be the case of Pepsi. When Pepsi entered the Chinese markets, they discovered that their slogan “Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation” was literally translated in Chinese as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead” and as “Come out of the grave with Pepsi”.

Examples of such blunders are endless, but it all boils down to the same point: there is a need for businesses to be communicating clear and precise messages that convey the true meaning of the original text.

Therefore before further expansion into their target markets, it is imperative for businesses to have effective brand localization strategies through the understanding of the target market’s language and culture, as it is illogical to market products and services through extravagant campaigns if consumers across the globe cannot understand the message being brought across.

Below are some fundamental practices that businesses should adhere to before going any further with their marketing strategies.

Anticipating and Highlighting potential pitfalls
By anticipating and highlighting potential pitfalls that are based on cultural difference, it allows businesses to carefully select messages to communicate what the brand stands for in the context of the target markets.

Conducting Cultural Analysis
A cross cultural analysis allows businesses to examine essential cultural elements such as values, norms and artefacts of the target markets.

Ensure that the product is properly localized for the target market
Last but not least; businesses should ensure that their products are properly localized to suit the target markets before officially releasing the products itself.

To develop any content for today’s global multicultural audience requires accounting for linguistic and cultural difference from the very inception of the product to the very end of distribution
- Tom Edward of Multilingual

With consumer demands becoming more diversified with a wider variety of choices, it is thus essential for businesses to implement effective brand localization strategies based on the different markets to cater to their target audiences; this would in turn enable businesses to acquire the competitive advantage in their target markets, ensuring that consumer experience is consistent across all languages and most importantly achieving global success for their brands and services.

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