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Marketing Localisation: Why Does It Matter?

May 2017

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Does your message come across in China as well as Zimbabwe and Germany?

In a world where the marketplace is increasingly global and things can go viral in seconds, it is important to get your messaging right every time.

We’re talking advertising, landing page copy, communications, legal documents, URLs, social media and so on.

Translating landing pages and marketing materials successfully is not always as easy as you may think. In order to convey your message well, you must have a deep understanding of local market preferences, cultural tendencies and the language in which you are trying to communicate.

‘Localisation is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale. The goal is to provide a product with the look and feel of having been created for the target market to eliminate or minimise local sensitivities’ We Are End Point

Think global, act local

If your business is growing and you’re ready to expand into unknown territory, then this is the mindset you should have.

While what you’re doing now might be working really well and while your engagement rates are through the roof ATM, it unfortunately doesn’t guarantee success abroad!

You’ve got to think globally, and act locally. Especially if you’re a bigger brand.

It’s not just about the language

Localisation is not just about translation. It’s about getting all the nitty gritty cultural quirks just right, and adjusting your messaging in a way so that the the people you are communicating with understands.

When localisation went terribly wrong

Big global brands are beginning to comprehend the importance of marketing localisation, but it’s taken a few bumps along the way. Here are some horror localisation stories from some of the most respected brands.

Nokia’s Lumia Launch

Back in 2011, when Nokia launched their new brain child Lumia they were ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, Nokia hadn’t triple checked the name of the new device across different languages. As Nokia rolled out their launch, they quickly became painfully aware that Lumia in Spanish, is a slang for ‘prostitute’. While they got a lot of media attention – it was for all the wrong reasons!

The Airbrushed IKEA Catalogue

IKEA has also had a localisation mishap. When they published their 2013 catalog in Saudi Arabia, someone at Metro UK noticed that a female model had been airbrushed out of a graphic in the Saudi Arabian version. The localisation effect caused a backlash that resulted in the Swedish equality minister commenting on the affair and apologising to the world on behalf of IKEA, and Sweden.

‘For Ikea to remove an important part of Sweden’s image and an important part of its values in a country that more than any other needs to know about Ikea’s principles and values, that’s completely wrong’ Nyamko Sabun, equality minister Sweden

Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From The Grave

Back in the days when Pepsi entered the Chinese market their slogan ‘Pepsi Brings You Back To Life’ was translated to ‘Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From The Grave’. Now this wasn’t great. China is a country where ancestor reverence is an important part of the culture. Well done Pepsi..

In marketing, there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ and you need to find a translation and interpretation expert if you are entering a new market! Not preparing your messaging for the people that will read and interpret it can be fatal to your business. The cost for repairing your reputation usually stretches far beyond the cost of localising your content before publishing. Get in touch today and let us help you find an expert that can help you localise your marketing efforts.

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