Localization for an International Brand

Developing an effective localization strategy, for an international brand, is vital to the potential success of products, services and future brand engagement.

Companies that take the time and effort to localize and adapt their brand – logo, tagline, marketing strategy, packaging, and so on, are far more successful in new international markets than their competitors who simply translate their branding with little cultural relevance or awareness.

Brand Localization is a complex process that relies partly on language and translation, but more importantly, on adapting key aspects of the brand so they are in line with cultural norms and the target audiences’ expectations, so that the transition from one market to another is seamless and profitable.

An effective brand localization project will require help from a professional language services provider who has insider knowledge of the country, language, culture and markets. They can help with aspects such as:

• Translating and localizing brand names

• Localizing taglines

• Colour selections for packaging, logo, and customer facing services

• Competitor knowledge

• Market expectations

Design aspects for best website engagement

• Marketing strategies for successful integration and acceptance

Another beneficial feature of using a specialist localization team to support your firm through its transition into a new, foreign market is that they can also assist with any legal rights and patents.

For instance, if your brand logo has similar design concepts to an existing company, a localization team, with expert local knowledge, should be able to inform you of this in advance of any changes and save you money on adaptions, legal battles and potential customer confusion over brands.

They can also advise you on any derogatory, offensive or inappropriate associations that might be linked to your company name, tagline or product names (which is something that even multinational companies have fallen foul to over the years). This might include making tweaks due to local pronunciation, difficult to pronounce letters or words, or how the name appears when written.

For instance, Pepsi realised their products weren’t selling as well as expected in Argentina due to the difficulty Argentinian Spanish speakers had pronouncing the ‘ps’ part of Pepsi. It took a re-brand of their name to ‘Pecsi’ to increase brand recognition by 10% which in turn increased sales.

Going global will undoubtedly mean making some changes to your brand. While resistance to this is normal, after all it can take months to come up with the right business name, logo and so on, it will definitely be worthwhile.

The following points should be considered before release in any foreign market:

• How is your brand name received?

• Can it be pronounced easily?

• How does it sound to listeners, and speakers?

• Are there any negative connotations linked to the word(s)?

• Are there competitors with similar names?

• Is your logo culturally acceptable?

• Are there any colours in your branding that are considered sacred or negative in the new market?

• Are all your product names/packaging/colours acceptable?

• How will any changes to brand fit within translated websites? (For instance, longer taglines or new colour schemes)

While this list may seem daunting, as it involves an extensive knowledge of language and culture in your chosen market, using a professional language services provider can save you time and money.

They will spot potential flaws before releasing your brand to the public – saving your brand’s reputation and trust, so you have the best chance at success.

If you would like to discuss your plans for international trading, and require any language or localization assistance, please contact the experts here at Creative Word who are more than happy to help.

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