Moving from Translation to Native Brand Experiences

Ambitious brands have been looking to international markets to grow their business for as long as the world has had borders for business to cross. Up until recently, direct translation of a brand’s content was good enough to attract customers and increase revenues. But with the rise of local and global competition, it became increasingly apparent that to win both a customer’s trust, business and loyalty, brands need to do more for these customers. And to do this around the world, they need to achieve global fluency.

At its core global fluency is the ability to speak to your customers in any language, all cultures, and every market so your customers feel like you are speaking directly to them. Creating native brand experiences that feel personalized might take more effort and more resources, but it will result in more meaningful relationships with your customer and ultimately add to your brand’s bottom line.

Native brand experiences take into account cultural nuances like local dialects, cultural preferences, currencies, and customs, which help brands tailor their content and messages to cater to international markets. But many US-based companies still operate under a ‘lift-and-drop’ mentality where content, marketing campaigns, and product literature are created in US English and translated directly for other English and non-English speaking audiences.

You might not think this would matter much, but even when moving from US English to UK English, there are a number of subtle differences. If your brand fails to take these into account, you risk  turning off prospects, confusing customers, or worse, losing them forever to another brand.

Take the following differences into account:

  • Spelling: localization vs. localisation
  • Meaning: fries vs. chips vs. crisps
  • Phrasing: two weeks vs. fortnight
  • Formats: month/day/year vs. day/month/year
  • Naming conventions: snow peas vs. mange-tout

When you do business in any language, there will be such little nuances. In your own language, you won’t consider them as ‘different’ or out of place, meaning they often go unnoticed. But just like US and UK English, Spanish in Mexico will be different than Spanish in Argentina, which will be different than Spanish in Spain. Because of this, it is advisable to employ local marketers to help ensure that your brand’s messages are both translated correctly and in-context.

One oft cited example of messaging getting lost in the translation occurred when an airline promoted its new leather seats under a new tagline, “Fly in Leather”. This translated to “Vuela en Cuero” in Spanish and worked throughout much of Latin America, but unfortunately this slogan had a dual meaning in Mexico, where the phrase also means “Fly Naked”. Had this company invested in creating native brand experiences and hired local marketers, this situation could have been averted, and the embarrassment avoided.

In addition to making sure all translations are correct and in-context, native brand experiences also take into account the tone of messages and how buyer personas and buyer behavior differ across markets. For example, messages in the UK should take a thought leadership approach, whereas in Germany, consumers tend to respond more positively to immediate insight and information on features and benefits.

Organizations that understand these distinctions across the markets they do business, and respond to them with native brand experiences in their global content strategies, will see more devoted customers, who buy more and even evangelize your brand in their local market.

Learn More

Download our Whitepaper: Redefining How Brands Approach Global Content Creation and learn the importance of building native brand experiences with content that resonates with people in any language, all cultures, and every market – so that, at each touchpoint along their journey, customers feel like the brand speaks directly to them.