Tag: Marketing


Five advantages of using marketing localization for your business

Localization, Localization Strategy, Marketing

marketing localizationMarketers are often plagued with a dilemma when reaching out to a new market: to standardize or to localize? To standardize is obviously easiest from an operation standpoint, meaning that you use the same marketing style and theme for all your products and services regardless of where you’re marketing them.

There are disadvantages and advantages on both sides, but when reaching out to a new market, it’s actually more advantageous for marketers to choose localization.

With marketing localization, you are able to create linguistic and physical adjustments to your existing products or services so it fits in with your new target market’s specific needs.

It takes a lot of work to customize and make adaptations of existing products and services, especially if there are multiple products to launch, but it allows companies to resonate with their customers, and resolve the deepest needs and desires of their new market from the market’s own perspective.

Marketing localization moves beyond merely translating existing standardized marketing collaterals to another language — it involves a thorough study of how culture and market conditions affect customers’ buying behavior.

There are five key advantages of marketing localization:

1. Marketing localization decreases barrier to entry

When introducing your company to a new market, there are several barriers to entry that may be observed. It could be government monopoly; limited or scarce channels of delivery of goods; tight competition; or lack of product or brand awareness.

Market adaptation is mandatory in many countries and so it makes perfect sense to localize marketing. This could be the translation of product packaging, removing/altering product ingredients or packaging, changing brand names and so on.

One classic example for this would be Coca Cola in China. Coca Cola is currently known as Kekoukele in China. This is because its original brand name, when translated into Chinese, means “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse fastened with wax,” which are unusual and inappropriate.

It would have been incredibly unappetizing to buy a drink thus named, so Coca Cola had to do a change to their brand name to adapt to the Chinese market.

They chose the brand name Kekoukele because it means “tasty fun” and it is close to the original brand name.

This dramatically changed Coca Cola’s image in China, and it helped them connect to locals in a more language-appropriate and personalized way.

2. Localization customizes customer experience

In many first-world countries, products are often sold in larger-container quantities, which is done based on both consumption and convenience.

On the other hand, the same products sold in third-world countries may not be affordable for the majority of consumers and that would greatly affect their sales. Due to these pricing constraints, companies may create products in different and smaller packaging, such as sachets or pouches, for the greater market to be able to afford it.

3. Localization breeds cultural respect and appropriation

It’s no secret that cultural patterns, religions and norms affect people’s habits, outlook in life, the media they choose and even the products they buy.

Advertising or identifying your brand with a Christmas or Christmas-related promotions, for example, in a largely non-Catholic or non-Christian country may not be accepted by the target market. On the other hand, advertising your brand with a Christmas theme in Christian and Catholic countries will be largely appreciated and remembered.

Outsourcing experts from bradfordjacobs.com have seen how hiring local marketing executives in Europe, where every border is a new country and culture, played a big role in providing contextually correct translations and preventing conflicts with the target market’s culture.

4. Localization results to better brand identification

Marketing localization “personifies” a brand, which helps it connect to its target market on a deeper level.

Some brands become an extension or expression of culture in some countries by integrating culture into their brand message and active storytelling.

It’s even been argued that Coca Cola created the modern image of Santa Claus because of its advertising.

5. Localization hastens local business development

To sum it all up, marketing localization accelerates business development. Creating a demand for your products or services is not your ticket to success.

Knowing your target market deeply and seeing their needs from their perspective is the key to providing products or services that are in demand.

You won’t be able to achieve this if you use the same standards for all your target markets all over the globe. This can only be done with marketing localization based on in-depth market research.


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Joevren Curmi works as a content writer for Keen, Ltd., and covers a wide variety of topics including business, food, travel, jobs and internet marketing.


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“Top” advertisements generate top dollar for companies — in fines

Localization, Marketing

China’s state news agency, Xinhua, released two updated style guides on the tail of China’s 2015 advertising law overhaul. Faced with these new regulations, foreign companies have experienced increased difficulties in the last few years when promoting products in the PRC. The guides and the laws are imposing stricter rules on the content of advertisements, such as a broadened definition of “false advertising” and the prohibition of certain superlatives. China has a wealth of consumers to be sure, but any advertising mistakes made in the country will have harsh penalties for a company.

The new Suzhou IKEA may incur fines for advertising a product as “top” level, so phrases such as “Reassuring Quality” are used instead.

Recent examples of companies that have run afoul of the revised advertising laws include IKEA and Marriott Hotels. An IKEA in Suzhou, China, may incur a fine of 20,000 to 1,000,000 RMB for its use of the word “top.” This superlative was used to describe the comfort level of mattresses in the IKEA, but under the advertising law’s Article 9, such phrases are banned.

Marriott Hotels was censored in early 2018 for violating Xinhua News Agency’s style guides, which include 102 articles in total. 51 articles contained rules about Chinese sovereignty. In a promotional email, Marriott listed Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Tibet as countries. Following the email, the Shanghai Information Networking Office ordered Marriott to close its Chinese website and official Chinese APP for a week. China’s burgeoning hotel market generates a revenue of $64.8 billion a year, so it’s easy to imagine what monetary losses Marriott suffered for this email. In short, China welcomes foreign advertisers, but companies are expected to follow Chinese laws and national views on sovereignty.

And Marriott isn’t the only company to be penalized for straying from the Chinese government’s opinion on foreign affairs. Companies such as Delta, Zara, Burberry and more have experienced similar consequences. Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube have been famously banned from operating in China.

As the struggles of IKEA, Marriott Hotels and myriad other companies exemplify, the new revisions have created additional difficulties for foreign companies. The revised laws add to the longstanding problem of cultural dichotomy between western countries and China, and their penalties make even a single mistaken word extremely expensive.

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Betsy Lin is part of the editorial department at Linguitronics. She has had a lifelong interest in words and their applications.


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Transcreation: Critical for global success


When Puma created a campaign modeling the United Arab Emirates national flag, the negative reaction ran so deep the company pulled the entire line and recreated the design without the use of the flag.

The fact that something is acceptable in one country doesn’t mean that it will be acceptable in another. If Puma marketing had been more informed about the concept of transcreation and cultural faux pas, they would have never chosen to put a flag onto a shoe, which is worn on your feet and is in constant contact with the dirty ground — and is thus considered by some cultures to not be an appropriate place for a symbol of honor.

Simply having a good product is not enough when it comes to expanding directly into a foreign market. You must also consider how to represent that product in a way that’s acceptable. It’s not enough to simply translate your messages. You really must understand the style, context and the tone of speech in the nation where you are localizing it. In order to adapt your content into another market it is necessary to understand the culture, humor, idioms and in some cases even the dialects of that area.

The goal of every marketing strategy is to create an emotional response within your target audience so that the user feels they can trust you and know that you understand them. Transcreation provides an understanding and a friendship with consumers which allows them to connect the product with their own lives.

It also means wholly adjusting your campaign to the country and nation you want to approach. As in the case with Puma, companies who want to be leaders in other countries must understand the smallest details in common behavior. This can be shown within new strategies and sometimes even the name of the brand used in a new market. Japanese car manufacturer Honda changed the name of their car “Fitta” to “Jazz” for use in the Scandinavian market, knowing that in these areas the word “Fitta” is considered vulgar there.

Catering to the global market is the first goal for any serious manufacturer and essential in ensuring your product is accessible to a wide audience. It’s imperative to check whether your name, logo or tagline means something different in the regions where you’re expanding. Otherwise you can commit blunders that can seriously harm your brand reputation. Have you ever tried a burger in any other McDonald’s in the world apart from the US? If so, you would have noticed that it is different in every country. It’s cooked differently, has a special taste and often caters to the habits, tastes, culture, beliefs and practices of those countries. Additionally, the religious obligations governing food consumption must be taken into account which animals are eaten in each country and the cooking habits for each of those nations. Lastly, the burger’s name must be recognizable and not offensive to the consumers of that area.

Despite being a highly recognizable brand, even McDonald’s knows that their name alone is not enough for global domination of the food market. Even the biggest companies have to make adjustments to compete in the global marketplace. Think global, act local. This is the simplest description of the connection to be made when transcreating on a higher level of marketing.

If you want an effective local strategy, here are some tips you can use to make your product more locally relevant:

  • Educate yourself about the culture of the area wherein your product will be sold. That means society, religion, habits, beliefs and practices.
  • Learn about word usage within the country and what to avoid in both language and marketing structure on visual and linguistic levels.
  • Do some research on the most popular and interesting brands in the country you are targeting.
  • Depending on the budget, consider hiring local copywriters. But be sure that it’s a professional who is informed about the market, keywords and audiences.
  • If you are not confident enough to create a transcreation strategy yourself, it is more convenient to hire the services of a translation agency.

Sergio Arboledas is marketing executive at Loveurope Group, a London-based advertising production services group. He is in charge of all things marketing (email marketing campaigns, social media, SEO, SEM, event organization, content creation) and supports all the Loveurope Group brands.


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Global Branding and those “Minority” Languages: Business Benefits

Language in Business

Superb article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper about the business benefits of branding using what are often snottily referred to as “minority” languages: Basque, Cornish, Irish, Welsh, and so on.

Read it here: Let languages shout out your business benefits.

Make no mistake, such languages offer a competitive edge for domestic and global brands. Using Irish (Gaeilge) for example drives a multi-million Euro market. Interestingly, these languages are particularly valuable to business when used in the food industry (the localization angle of which, along with sport, we do not hear about often enough).

Tayto Crisps: Irish Branding Gets Emoji. There's Irish-language Tayto Crisps too.

Ireland’s famous Tayto Crisps go emoji. There are Irish-language Tayto Crisps too. They don’t taste any the worse for Unicode! (Image: Ultan Ó Broin)

Of course, using language to engage consumers does not require sellers or buyers to be even remotely fluent in it, contrary to what Willie Brandt claimed.

Not that claims of minority language usage don’t come without their own problems.


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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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