“Digital is the main reason that just over half of the companies of the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000.” — Pierre Nanterme, Chairman and CEO of Accenture, 2016.
We at RWS Moravia have seen companies struggle for the same reason. We’re talking about the transformation to digital that global enterprises must pursue in order to thrive globally.
What is this digital transformation?
To start, it means offering customers a powerful, comprehensive experience online. It means building a digital presence that engages those customers and creates a conversation. It acknowledges that your business is global the day you appear online, and that you have to respond to the needs of your global audiences immediately. And it means you must account for the fact that customers are using new digital channels on their buyer journey.
You get it. Think of your own behavior: you buy things regularly online, you interact with your friends on social media, you don’t book a trip without reading online reviews, you watch videos to figure out how to fix something instead of looking for the user manual, and you tell Alexa to play music by your favorite artist.
If you think about it, you are a digital being, and the brands you surround yourself with are, too (or they’ve probably fallen from your favor). Your favorite companies survive and thrive by providing you with those experiences.
A shining example
One of my shopping-savvy colleagues gave me a perfect example.
Nordstrom has gone digital. They are very active on social media, have a slick yet easy-to-use mobile app, produce how-to videos, publish frequently on their blog and create other customized and personalized content that’s served up digitally. In fact, Nordstrom has invested heavily.
Some of Nordstrom’s online content
Guess which major department store gets her business?
What successful companies do
At Locworld38, Marcus East, the CTO of National Geographic and a regular speaker on digital transformation, enlightened a group of localization professionals and global companies with his keynote talk “Change is the Only Constant”. He outlined five traits of long-lasting digital companies:
- Agility – the ability to move quickly.
- Collaboration – bringing in experts from all disciplines to brainstorm, innovate and get work done.
- Measurement – how else can you gauge your success?
- Experimentation – try something new, see if it works and iterate it.
- Flexible tech – tech is a must, but it has to be integrated, customizable and fit-for-purpose both now and in the future.
Along with these five, Marcus underscored that the customer is king: above all, you have to listen to them and offer them the best possible experience.
Companies that use this framework for their digital transformation—and put money into these initiatives—have a better chance of sticking around.
So, where do you start in your transformation?
Localize your website—ASAP. Find your top markets and start there. Use a professional localization company so you don’t risk any damaging translation mistakes. The localization team might also switch out imagery and suggest new colors so that your website aligns with the target culture’s aesthetic.
Make sure your website has amazing UX. Do research on local preferences, adapt the design and content and test that users can do what you need them to do. You’ll lose consumer loyalty if the website is junk. Here are five ways to optimize your UX for global audiences.
Create a social presence. Find out where your global users interact online—it’s different from country to country. Create an account and hire a social media manager to post and monitor responses. This will help you have different, more meaningful interactions with your customers. See our five tips on how to manage social media across markets.
Create an app if it makes sense for your business. Make sure it has great UX just like your website. Test and test and test to make sure there are no bugs.
Once your users are active online, conduct sentiment analysis to see what they are saying. Did someone complain about your customer service? Make it right by contacting them. Is there negative feedback about your latest release? Fix it fast.
Localize your brand. Sometimes logos, colors and taglines do not work in other markets. Engage in-country experts to adapt your brand (while maintaining the power and emotion behind it) for each local market. Be careful—bad translations can really hurt you.
Create content for each market that’s impactful, culturally appropriate and useful. Sometimes you can localize the content you created for your source market, and sometimes you need to start from scratch.
Create content in multiple formats: it can be videos, blog posts, live streams, webinars or infographics. Find out what your users like and go from there.
Find a way to translate high-volume social content, product descriptions and user reviews. Machine translation can be a good way to get this done quickly and at ‘good enough’ quality.
Taking these steps will get you on the right path to global digital transformation. But if you don’t know where to start or need help with strategic planning, give us a call. We love to chat about this stuff.