We all know that a company must make money to survive, especially if it has shareholders to answer to, but over the last couple of decades the face of business has changed and companies must now show a level of social responsibility which goes beyond operating for pure profit. Companies must show their consumers that they care.
For a small company, that operates only at a local level, this may be as straightforward as sponsoring a local youth sports team, donating to a hospice, or investing in their community, but for companies that trade on a global scale this can be a little more problematic.
Consumers want to know that the company they are purchasing from treat their employees fairly, invest in ‘green’ alternatives, promote equality and diversity, and utilise ethical business practises.
Consumers also expect to recognize, identify with, and experience these strategies and outcomes.
So, how can a global firm understand their ‘local’ consumer’s expectations and vice versa, especially when they speak a different language and are part of a different culture?
Localization offers a highly effective way for companies to communicate with consumers (no matter which language they speak or where they live) enabling a two-way dialogue that ensures consumers understand your brand’s values, purpose and ethics, while also ensuring you understand and appreciate the people, culture and society in which you are trading.
What is Localization?
Localization is primarily a language provision offered by professional Language Services Providers (LSPs) which considers all aspects of language, culture, society and location in order to offer a truly ‘local’ translation which is able to engage with the relevant audience on all levels.
Localization improves user experience, giving a culturally appropriate, linguistically accurate adaption so consumers are able to fully participate with your social media posts, customer service centre, website, marketing, and products or service.
The following themes are adapted during localization:
• Language – language is adapted for a local audience. Dialect, humour, colloquial speech, phrases and so on, are modified so that they are appropriately fitting for the local culture and people. A professional LSP will ensure that marketing messages are conveyed in the right tone of voice, with empathy and understanding.
• Images – visuals that are appropriate for the target market are adapted within localization.
• Design and layout – when content is adapted for left-to-right or right-to-left reading it can alter layout. This is overcome with localization with no negative impact on content or arrangement. Fonts, colours, emphasis, balance, and graphics are modified for best fit and design.
• Currency – consumers prefer to purchase in their native currency, localization ensures this is adapted for improved consumer trust.
• Weights and measures – as with currencies, consumers prefer to use their culturally accepted units for weights and measures. Localization ensures these are correct for each audience and target market.
• Dates, addresses and phone numbers – these can be displayed differently depending upon where the intended consumer is located. Localization will adapt these ensuring accuracy.
• Domain names – these should be specific to each country and location in order to give best results
• Taglines and logos – may require adaption to fit within a local market. Don’t assume that because it is your company logo it shouldn’t be expected to alter as taglines don’t always translate well and you might risk causing offence.
The overall aim of localization is to give the impression that the content has been created specifically for the target audience, in their native language, and with their core values at heart.
Localization – The Key to a New Relationship Between Company and Consumer
Research conducted by the firm Edelman, showed that “nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers around the world will buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue” and that “a brand must understand its audience and think long-term so that the stand it chooses authentically connects its values to its consumers.”
Consumers want to know your company cares, observing a genuine message with consistently matched brand values.
The best way to achieve this is with localization.
Using localization within your marketing strategy makes it easier to connect with consumers – they will understand your message, at their local level, and it shows engagement with their specific needs.
Similarly, listening to what your consumers want, and putting them at the core of your company, is vital in today’s competitive marketplace.
Building a strong base for communication between company and consumer is vital in this understanding and the formation of long-term relationships.
A professional LSP can advise and support your company on the appropriate cultural and linguistic expectations so that your brand always speaks directly to the heart of your consumers.
At Creative Word, we are experts in localization, use native-speaking linguists for all our language projects and understand the need to engage both consumers’ hearts and minds.
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