The challenge of producing sufficient volumes of content across markets can be a daunting one. Add to that having to satisfy stakeholders while keeping your content fresh and relevant to local markets on multiple channels, and it starts to seem impossible to cover all the bases. As various studies have shown website visitors’ preference toward sites that are localized to their needs and expectations, now is as good a time as any to evaluate your global content strategy and ensure you are creating truly compelling content.
In a recent study we published with Econsultancy, we compared how the characteristics of global content leaders and mainstream brands differ. The leaders were those whose organizations showed a greater ability to internationalize digital content while measuring the success of their global content strategies. Here, we will examine differences between each group’s views on the importance of localizing content, including smaller assets and social media.
Ditch the cookie cutter
Of 287 respondents, a whopping 62 percent of leaders agree strongly that content performs better when adapted for a local market, while only 22 percent of mainstream companies felt the same way. Henry Burr, Head of Optimization and Customer Insight at Kaplan International English, believes localization is especially important for blog articles and social media posts. The cookie cutter approach doesn’t bode well for subtle and sensitive cultural differences—specifically as it pertains to language.
While a one-size-fits-all approach can work, if you aren’t asking the right questions even at the planning stage, you risk missing the mark and losing potential customers. According to Jupiter Asset Management’s Head of Marketing (Continental Europe), Regula Stricker: “The brief needs to clear when you are originating content and going down the route of creating once and serving to many. You need to be clear about what questions you are trying to answer and what the specific client needs are. The better you understand what is required by the users across jurisdictions, the better the chance of success.”
Lost in translation (processes)
While translating content into relevant languages is the most obvious requirement for any business looking to localize, it can also be the most complex and time-consuming process. The solution? Having the right processes and resources in place, whether in-house, through a third party, or a combination of both. Epson is a good example of a business that utilizes both regional and local teams to ensure content resonates as strongly as possible—the company translates into 36 different languages in Europe alone, with HQ rapidly becoming their de facto center of excellence for translation.
According to Dr. Nitish Singh, Professor at Boeing Institute of International Business and Co-organizer of the Brand2Global Conference, major global brands have very tight control over the language they use from the moment their content is first produced. This ensures the content can be translated more easily and is as free as possible from misinterpretation of local expression. From the chart above, we can see that 52 percent of leaders strongly agree to this approach, while only 10 percent of respondents at mainstream companies are on board.
While the differences between leaders and mainstream are prevalent, it’s easy to assume leaders—by definition, more successful at measuring the success of internationalization—are more aware of just how imperative it is to ensure all content, including social media, translates effectively.
For more on how leaders and mainstream brands differentiate in their global content strategies—from monetizing assets to measuring success—please download the full report here.