One of the biggest and most common mistakes companies make in marketing localization is simply translating marketing copy and expecting it to win new customers. Didn’t they just spend a small fortune researching the competition, documenting key buyer demographics, designing logos and carefully-worded taglines, and interviewing focus groups about the campaign materials? Why would anyone assume the same materials will be just as impactful in a new locale, just by translating the words?
Launching a marketing campaign in a new market can be fraught with difficulties. Your brand, which includes your vibe, look/feel plus all the emotions you want your buyers to associate with your product, probably was developed with only one culture in mind. You must completely adapt your marketing approach. You want your new markets to love your product as much as your home market does.
We offer six tips for creating locale-specific marketing materials such as web content, packaging or ads.
- Share the creative brief. How else would your vendor understand the core attributes of your brand, the tone and vibe, and the emotion/resonance behind it? In addition, the creative brief should detail the demographics of the target audience. Ideally, the creative agency should present the creative brief to your transcreation team. They created the brief, so why not let the vendor pick their brains about it?
- Expect a different process. People who are experienced with the process of translating software, documentation, and other common materials might be surprised by the additional steps required for marketing localization, which serves to establish new relationships with people who are new to, neutral towards, or even cold about your brand. A transcreation project involves a lot of upfront brand study, highly specialized resources doing challenging work, intense in-country review, and a lot of iterations. Also, most often you will have two translators working their magic — a good way to get a truly customized result — and this will require a subsequent harmonization of their efforts.
- Have an in-country, native stakeholder review initial work. This will help make sure the translation provider is on the right track with the intent of your brand. Make sure this reviewer understands your company brand and the product intimately. Also, verify that he/she has the time to be thorough. (We see too many in-country reviewers who are too busy to be thorough or worse, non-native).
- Give it enough time. Don’t expect marketing content to be adapted overnight. While the wordcounts are typically much smaller than for any other type of translation project — 500 words versus 50,000, for example — all of the above steps simply take more time. And do not rush your resources: the linguistic work has a much slower throughput due to the creative requirements. Don’t hold them to any throughputs at all.
- Don’t cheap out. Recognize that price and quality are especially tightly connected on marketing translation projects. Quality is your priority here, right? High quality always costs more. Think how much a poorly launched campaign would cost you.
- Consider in-country focus groups to validate how the content “lands” in the market. You want feedback right away if the locale’s content is a misfire. Shouldn’t users have the final say? Why couldn’t you engage real customers directly through social media or online communities?
One astute CSA report (Reaching New Markets Through Transcreation) asserts that “talent and proximity to the customer determine transcreation quality.” With the right team, intimacy with the brand, and complete buy-in from the business’ stakeholders on the process, your marketing campaign can create the required buzz, required to build your business in your target language market.
Are there other tips you would add to enterprises considering transcreation?