Three Obstacles of Effective Global Communications and How to Avoid Them

Most ambitious brands aren’t content with conquering a single market. They won’t be satisfied until they’ve achieved global domination, but that is easier said than done. One of the biggest hurdles organizations face when expanding globally is communicating with new customers outside of the brand’s native language.

What worked at home doesn’t always work abroad. Below are three common obstacles many organizations face when implementing global communications strategies along with tips and tricks to avoid them.

Lack of global vision

Any brand with an online presence is technically a ‘global brand’ – whether it aspires to be or not. But if a brand wants to succeed internationally, global communication plans need to be baked into its overall strategy from the beginning. Gone are the days when translating your web properties was an operational tactic most often considered as an afterthought.

Translation is just one piece of a complex and evolving puzzle. You need to think about offering customers native brand experiences that take into account not just language, but also local dialects, cultural sensitivities, customs, and currencies, while also factoring in the multi-device make-up of consumers.

In early 2013, nine of the top 10 web properties were based in the US, but 79 percent of their users were international. Just one year later only six of the top 10 were in the US, while the number of International users had risen to 86 percent.

There have always been plentiful opportunities for growth outside of the US, but now organizations have technology at their fingertips that gives any brand access to the global marketplace. If you aren’t taking advantage of this opportunity, you can be sure your competitors will be.

As the old saying goes, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ The status quo isn’t good enough anymore. If your goal is to grow your business – and isn’t that why most of people go into business in the first place – then you need to expand your horizons and think globally.

Outdated technology and processes

In the past, having a localization manager handling the translation process was enough. But with the explosion of global content in recent years, brands need to adopt translation management software to help them scale.

Having the right technology in place will improve the overall speed and quality of translation, by automating processes that were once manual and prone to bottlenecks, human error, or both. A good translation management system can detect new content created in a default language, pull that content and send it to translators; then, when the translators have finished, slot the content where it needs to go – automatically – freeing your localization manager from dealing with the minutiae of the translation process, allowing them to instead focus on the quality of translation.

Unwillingness to embrace change

Change is hard. Especially disruptive change that causes you to rethink the way you’ve always done things. The processes for translating content haven’t changed much over the years, even though the ways content is created, distributed, and consumed have changed drastically.

If organizations want to implement a successful and efficient global communications strategy, they need to think about how technology can help them scale to meet content demands in all the markets they do business. In the short-term it will take a lot of time and effort to adapt and fine tune the new process, but the time and money saved in the long-term will be well worth it.

Nobody said global domination was going to be easy. But if you keep an eye out for these obstacles, expand your vision to include global growth, implement the right technology to achieve ambitious goals, and accept the changes coming down the pipe, you will be several steps closer and lead the competition.

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, to create messages that resonate with people in any language, all cultures, and every market, and to achieve growth wherever opportunities are found.