The Era of Localization Influencers is Here:
Word-of-Mouth Marketing in the Language Industry
BY Stefan HuygHe
People buy from people. Although word-of-mouth marketing has been around since the beginning of time, it is only with the advent of social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram that it truly gained the proper reach to have an impact globally. It now accounts for $6 trillion of annual consumer spending and is estimated to account for 13% of consumer sales. That is a lot of talking power.
The question facing marketers now is: Have you taken adequate steps towards connecting with your customers and leveraging word of mouth? It’s no wonder the localization world is turning more and more to influencer marketing as well.
Our content consumption habits are changing rapidly. Consumers have grown more and more independent, and traditional ways of advertising are being challenged.
The most effective means to get your word out used to be through ads in magazines and commercials on radio and television. Audiences, however, seem to spend less and less time on these traditional channels. According to Forbes, the number of people who have cut the cord on their cable or satellite subscription (or never purchased a subscription at all) has more than tripled from 15.6 million in 2014 to a projected 50.4 million in 2021.
The rate of cord cutting is slowing down somewhat. According to a recent nScreenMedia report, the number of homes with traditional cable TV has fallen 22% in the last four years, down from 96.9 million to 75.6. Consumers have lots of cheap or free content choices to select from, making traditional satellite and cable offerings increasingly outdated.
Additionally, there seems to be a steady decline in trust of traditional media. Back in 2012, Nielsen reported that the number of international consumers who trusted word-of-mouth and recommendations better than any other forms of advertising had risen to 92%, gaining an incredible 18%, in just five years.
According to Statista, the average internet user spent about an hour on social media each day, in that year. By 2020, the number had over doubled to a whopping two hours and 25 minutes a day. With the Metaverse era around the corner and social media playing an ever-increasing role in the dissemination of information, the importance of influencers in the localization industry is growing rapidly.
Marketing experts agree that word-of-mouth marketing brings in up to five times more sales than paid media, and it influences the overbearing majority of all B2B purchases. It is estimated to give marketing effectiveness a 54% boost. In fact, 64% of marketing executives consider word-of-mouth to be the most effective form of marketing.
Brands that succeed in creating an emotional connection receive three times more word-of-mouth than those that don’t. This might be the best justification of why so many language-industry outfits are upping their online influencer game.
The first Nimdzi Influencer Watchlist was received with so much enthusiasm in 2020 that the language industry research outfit decided to make it a yearly feature. We thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at some of the high-profile localization stars featured on the list. Nimdzi’s 2021 list is simply alphabetical, so to make it a bit easier to see where everyone fits in, we have binned the influencers and selected a couple to highlight:
Elon Musk is leading the way in showing us how having a CEO online presence can have an enormous impact. Ninety-three percent of consumers believe that CEO engagement on social media helps communicate company values, shape a company’s reputation, and grow corporate leadership in times of crisis. Furthermore, 76% of senior executives believe that having a CEO on social media gives the brand more credibility.
Here are some of our industry’s most high-profile company leaders with a big online presence:
CEO Localization Influencers in the limelight
Surely you have noticed the salad bowls on LinkedIn in the last couple of years. The CEO of Beluga changed networking in our industry forever by starting the LocLunch organization in January of 2019, realizing that he knew very few people in the language industry in his native Hamburg, Germany. His company, Beluga, was working primarily with American clients. Without a local network, he decided to launch a grassroots movement that would allow localization professionals from all walks of life to meet once a month. What started out as a local movement has grown worldwide in the last couple of years. Inspired by the Spanish lunch traditions in Madrid, Spain, LocLunch invites industry professionals from both the vendor and client side to spend some time together over a meal without any sales pitches. The idea is simply to network and meet new people. Chapters have sprung up in many places from Berlin to Barcelona, Cairo, New York, Singapore, San Diego, Dallas, and many other locales all around the world. What started as an in-person monthly gathering over a meal has now also morphed into a hybrid format with online streaming. There’s also a virtual gathering in Zoom where localization people from all around the world make some time to get to know each other.
The newly elected Italian President of Elia is everywhere online. You can find him presenting at webinars, engaging with connections on LinkedIn, giving interviews, and even organizing his own LocLunches to give back to the community. In 2005, inspired by some of the mistakes he made in his early career, he decided to start his own agency. The focus is on creating a happy work environment where people could thrive. A lover of lifting others up and providing them with growth opportunities, he is the poster child for a new mold of empathetic business leaders.
Cecilia joined the language industry over 20 year ago and has worn many hats; from English teacher and certified English translator to co-founding, managing, and merging language service providers. As the President of Women in Localization Global Community, she labors for the advancement of women and the localization industry.
The CEO of Polish-based Argos entered the World’s Top 25 LSPs by acquiring Ireland-based Chillistore and US-based Venga Global in 2021. Prior to her role at Argos, she was CEO at Xplanation. Earlier in her career, Véronique held senior roles at Lionbridge and Moravia. A former GALA board chair, she is a frequent guest on industry podcasts and speaker at industry conferences like LocWorld.
Localization Champions on the Buyer Side
Who better to help us make the case for professional localization than those responsible for helping launch products abroad? Some of the best advocates for our industry can be found on the buyer side. Brilliant stars that shine the light on best globalization practices.
Buyer Side Localization Influencers in the limelight
Anyone who has read Nataly’s blog posts or attended one of her seminars knows she is one of the brightest stars in the localization universe. The HubSpot executive is one of the go-to experts on how to develop a targeted market expansion strategy. Her MARACA methodology to evaluate global opportunities for market availability, real-time analytics, and customer addressability have given internationally minded businesses the metrics they needed to plan for global expansion.
Author of the successful blog Yolocalizo, Miguel has over 20 years of experience in the software localization space. Heading the localization team at King, he is an user experience expert specializing in how people from different cultural backgrounds perceive everything from font type to beauty and the man behind the international success of Candy Crush. He is a strong industry advocate for integration of localization, countering the prevalent thought that localization is a standalone entity. You can find Miguel’s excellent courses as part of the Nimdzi educational programming.
Iti is the Leader of Localization and Globalization at Procore Technologies, a global B2B software platform that organizes all collaborators from vendors, company owners, and planners within the construction industry. Iti’s career began in Bollywood, and her unique journey through the film industry prepared her to tell stories for businesses via localization. Iti uses her storytelling expertise in her current localization role to contextualize content for various locales, face and overcome obstacles through adapting workflows across countries, and create cohesion within the nuanced and detailed construction industry. An advocate of ROI in localization she strives to bring localization to the forefront of international business.
Brand Champions and Localization Evangelists
These influencers are all over LinkedIn and Twitter educating and evangelizing localization wisdom. Original content is important because it makes you look good online. This crew is into authentic testimony. No cheating through rushed or keyword-stuffed content. No lazy reposting of other people’s content. Just the real deal. Going forward social media algorithms will continue eliminating bad information from their top results, meaning it’s even more important to get the right content out:
Brand Localization Influencers in the limelight
Javier Diaz Fernandez-Carvajal
Acclaro believes so much in the power of community that they assigned a full-time Global Brand Champion role to Javi. They even created a separate LocLife brand to support localization professionals worldwide, addressing taboo subjects like mental health, ageism, and inclusion in a regular series of webinars.
In a recent interview Maria was quoted as saying: “Most people think that in order to have a successful business, they need to put in long hours, sacrifice their time with family and friends, and basically do whatever it takes to make their business grow. But what if there was another way? What if you could have the lifestyle you want while also running your own successful business?” Maria is a “lifestyle” business trailblazer with a huge online following that loves her authenticity. In 2020, she was named one of the top six LinkedIn translation bloggers, and she regularly shares her LinkedIn success recipes, hacks, do’s, and don’ts with her readers.
Academics, Industry Advocacy Org Members, industry Press, Research and Consultants
Some are in the influencer space mainly because they are studying the localization field or simply in academics doing research on language or a related field. They, too, play an important role guiding our industry and reporting on any current developments:
Localization Consultants in the limelight
Talia Baruch and John Hayato Brandehorst
This dynamic duo founded GlobalSaké, a collective community of cross-functional global leaders involved with international expansion. They host a monthly webinar program that is interactive and holistically covers cross-functional challenges and solutions for building a global-ready and geo-fit strategy. They are leaving an imprint on our industry by trying to make products make sense in the global marketplace.
High-Profile Linguists in the limelight
Marina Ilari is an ATA-certified English-to-Spanish translator with over 15 years of experience in the translation industry. She has worked as a translator, editor, and quality assurance specialist for many companies around the world with a special focus on creative translations and video game localization. Marina is the chief executive officer of Terra Translations and cohost of En Pantuflas, the podcast about translation. She regularly shares her industry knowledge on LinkedIn as well.
Shaimaa Riad is an Egyptian translator in her 30s who has been passionate about language and culture since childhood. She was born in Egypt and raised in Qatar until she was 11, when she returned to Egypt. She lives and breathes MSA Arabic as well as the Gulf and Egyptian dialects and cultures. She translates and localizes from English to Arabic and has specialized in legal, U.N., and E.U. affairs, as well as general and documentary translations, since 2006. She manages the Clubhouse hashtag #Clubhousel10nInsights and its associated blog at transarabizers.com, of which she is the owner and founder.
UPS and DOWNS
CEO of Moving Words Translations
Founder and CEO of Creative Words
Vice-President of Product, International and Globalization of Procore Technologies
Founder of Translationrating.ru and Co-Founder of Custom.MT
Grew their audiences by more than 50% compared to 2020
Sr Director Localization & Content at Workday hasn’t posted on LinkedIn or Twitter since 2020 but did speak at MultiLingual Season Series in 2020 and at LocWorld in 2021.
CEO of Venga Global, sold his company to Argos Multilingual in 2021 and posts about once a month on LinkedIn.