Localization is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market. When you take your product or campaign global, it is vital that you first understand the cultural, religious and political impact it will have, and tailor your offer accordingly. Charging into a new market before conducting user and cultural research can spell disaster. You will gain more respect and customer loyalty by focusing on what is important to the customer.
How Culture Works Against You
When McDonald’s first launched in France, patrons expected an ability to order beer or wine at any restaurant. As such, McDonald’s began to serve wine and beer in their franchises (to great effect): sales increased in the following quarter. This was a mild setback for McDonald’s … more often than not, though, companies would face more disastrous consequences.
The Name of the Game is Language
In the fall of 2012, Kraft Foods suffered an embarrassing entrance into Russia, marketing all their products under the name Mondelez. What their research teams failed to notice before pulling the trigger was the resemblance to a popular russian slang term for “oral sex.” This comical mistake went unnoticed at Kraft for a few months before News outlets around the world mocked the snack giant’s embarrassing mistake (like thisarticle by Crain’s Business Chicago). As predicted, there was a catastrophic drop in Q3 sales. Unfortunately, the huge divide created between Mondelez and its Eastern European customers still haunts them today.
Localization is akin to Starting a New Business
Localization does more than help you avoid Kraft-esque mistakes — it builds the necessary respect and trust with your new customers to succeed. Regardless of size or industry, consider the unique characteristics of an international market before expanding to avoid significant setbacks. Customers will always prefer companies who speak to them in their native language and respect their cultural influences. Language can either carve out a competitive market share or spell ruin for your global reputation.
Language, It’s a Tool… so Use it!
Companies spend over $49 billion dollars per year on translation services, and a rollout strategy to a new market can take months to prepare. For many startups, the dream of expansion often means international; but they don’t have the resources to respond to unanticipated changes in the global market. Tech startups, especially, have to devote valuable time to reshaping the materials for the market that they could spend developing new features. Luckily, products exist to help startups with their translation needs.
Manage The Moving Pieces with a Localization Platform
When launching into a new market, the best way to manage the preparation of your marketing plan, while simultaneously conducting further research is utilizing a fully-featured platform. Luckily, we’ve built one for you.