How Global Fluency Can Extend Your Brand’s Life

When a brand is launched, all eyes are on the future, where that brand can go, what that brand can achieve. But for countless reasons, brands rarely outlive their creators’ expectations, and often fall short, even after gaining recognition.

Does your brand have an expiration date and you just don’t know it yet? That question might still seem strange to some of you, but a report by Innosight found the lifespan of a brand has been shrinking considerably in recent years.

In 1958, a brand could expect to ‘live’ 61 years. That number shrunk to 25 years in 1980. By  2011, brands could only expect a lifespan of just 18 years. This decline can be attributed to a number of factors, but chief among them is increased competition from around the globe.

So what can brands do to sidestep this seemingly unavoidable decline to prolong their existence? By achieving global fluency and providing customers with native brand experiences that speak to them in any language, all cultures, and every market.

The days of doing business in a single market or a single language are long gone. Ambitious brands seeking a more dominant global position have to think outside the box – or more accurately outside their borders.

Now you’re speaking my language

Common Sense Advisory conducted a survey of 3,000 global consumers from 10 non-English speaking countries across Europe, Asia, and South America and found that 75% of respondents preferred to buy products in their native language, while an astounding 60% said they rarely, if ever, purchased from English-only sites.

For most brands, this information isn’t new or surprising. Brands that do business in other markets know the importance of translating their website, but translation alone is no longer enough to resonate. In order to beat the local competition and create messages that resonate, brands need to become globally fluent and provide customers with native brand experiences. But what does that mean? To start with, when developing a global content strategy, take into consideration things like local dialects, cultures, customs, and currencies.

While a vast majority of your messages will be universal across all markets and cultures, brands need to take special care with the portions that aren’t transferable. Messages that work in New York won’t necessarily work in New Delhi.

One of the keys to global fluency is context. Investing in killer content doesn’t matter if the context is all wrong. As much as it might pain you to admit this, brands only have control of their messages to a certain point. Once a message is sent out into the world, control is shifted to the consumer, and non-consumer commentators. By communicating with people on their terms and taking care to consider cultural differences that may exist, brands can take back a little of that control and be more confident that the messages they intended to send are the messages that are actually received.

The bottom line

Achieving global fluency might be difficult in the short term, but will pay dividends in the long run. Customers who engage with native brand experiences are more likely to be loyal, evangelize your product or service, and feel like their needs are being met and preferences catered to in an authentic way. Because of this, brands should make every effort to speak to their customers in ways that are familiar to them, even if this is means a new and exciting direction for the brand itself.

Learn More

Download our whitepaper, “Is Your Brand Fluent in Every Language,” and learn how attaining global fluency will give you the agility to respond in real-time to market developments, create messages that resonate with people in any language, all cultures, and every market, and achieve growth wherever opportunities are found.

Ready to get started? Smartling can help you to develop a global content strategy that will drive development of native brand experiences, enhance your market penetration strategy, propel you into new markets, fuel international growth and increase your bottom line. Contact us today for a demo of the Smartling Global Fluency Platform – so that your brand can be everywhere.