When I was visiting friends this summer in Spain, I saw so many of my favorite US brands populating my social media feeds in Catalan, a regional dialect of Spanish.
The same thing happened even when I was browsing Amazon from home. Compared to my visit in northeastern Spain, I saw completely different product results that seemed to change based on my location.
Whichever city or town you are reading this from will shape the ads and content you see as you scroll. This is because of localization, the tried and true process of modifying branded, universal content to reach a new audience in a specific region of the world.
Localization allows content to resonate with an audience in their native tongue. Why is that work so important? Research reveals that 75% of customers prefer to buy products and services when it’s presented in their native language.
How do we go about enabling localization to help position your content, and all of its nuances, to your desired audience?
The Core Elements of Localization
As I discussed previously, it’s important to consider how content is written in order to optimize it for localization. Looking a bit more closely, there are three major elements that come together to help your content foster that local connection: the language, as well as visual and cultural factors.
1. Language embodies all of the ways your content is written.
Regional differences such as humor, culturally-specific references, and multiple meanings can confuse and alienate readers.
For example, US English and UK English are seemingly “the same”, but do you really think a farmer in Texas is going to digest content the same way a Londoner would? Methinks not.
2. Visual elements of your content include the obvious: pictures of locations, colors and themes related to the culture of a region.
Visuals can be a turn off if not properly executed. Airbnb is an example of a brand with excellent localized visuals and UX. They take users’ geo-targeted locations to display tailored content (like recommendations for restaurants, bars, and excursions) that appeals to the user in real time.
By including exciting pictures of local options and information for the audiences’ consideration (local flags, sports teams’ logos, and more), brands are connecting with users in a voice that feels familiar.
3. Culture is what we incorporate in order to appeal to a new segment of your demographic. For example, culture differs across the United States, let alone different countries around the globe.
In some regions of the US, we refer to our soft drinks as “soda,” but other locations will refer to them as “pop.”
It’s entirely possible to humanize your content while being aware of the ideologies and traditions of your audience -- and doing so will help your content feel familiar.
Another aspect of culture to consider is timing. For example, it could prove to be problematic to launch your brand new ad campaign on a day of remembrance, leaving your brand unknowingly in violation of a social expectation.
Hence why the unique culture of a region is such a critical element to recognize and embrace when crafting your localized content.
Successful Localization Leads to $$$ - the Stats
We’ve seen many successful customers that take all of the above into account to create solid, unique campaigns for various, different audiences.
71.5% of customer service leaders interviewed shared that when users are provided with support in their native language, their satisfaction with the support they received increases significantly.
Studies also show that companies lose $62 billion annually due to poor customer service. Simply put, localization is an effective way to help content not only reach a new audience, but truly engage and retain valuable customers, as well.
Get Started With Localization
Localization enhances the consumer experience and expands your brand reach. It can help give your business an opportunity to target a new consumer group and get more eyes on your services or products in a respectful, clear tone.
Smartling offers localization in addition to Cloud Translation services which, when combined, form a powerful and compelling platform to make sure your translations are top tier. You will cut down on spending, increase efficiency, and work in real time all while serving up customized copy to push your messaging to global audiences.
You can request a demo and someone will take you through options that meet your specific concerns. Or, join in on one of our free webinars and events, happening every week! You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to streamline your translation needs.
Laura Wyant is a freelance digital strategist and writer/editor. She is currently working with start-ups, tech companies, and health and healing spaces. Laura has been contributing to the Smartling blog on topics around cloud translation, digital strategy, and overall creative translation process. When she isn’t working in media, she is working to educate herself on matters such as intersectional women’s health and advancements in technology.