What you need to know about content localization for new markets

Guide to effective localization strategies for preparing your company to enter new markets.

What you need to know about content localization for new markets

Forget fancy campaigns. The key to rocking a cross-border marketing strategy is making your brand relevant through smart localization.

Localization is a game-changer for big brands building a presence in new markets. Think Alibaba, Netflix, Coca-Cola, even Google – they all mastered localization in their content marketing.

Done right, localization smooths your international expansion and delivers quick wins.

But localization ain't just pushing your content through Google Translate or asking your buddy from the same geographical area to handle it.

Botched localization can lead to product misunderstandings, lame marketing tactics, wasted resources, and PR nightmares.

This article dives into the must-do steps for building a localization strategy. By creating a solid plan, businesses can ensure their content resonates in new markets, paving the way for international growth.

Translation vs. localization

Translation focuses on converting words between languages, while localization digs deeper.  It requires understanding the target culture to adapt tone, references, and messaging for a strong connection with the audience.

Think of it this way: a funny joke in English might miss the mark overseas.  Localization helps avoid these misunderstandings.  By understanding cultural nuances, businesses can craft messages that resonate with international customers.

Pinpointing your target audience area

Setting a broad target audience can be tempting, but for successful localization, a more precise approach is crucial.  Many regions boast diverse languages, and assuming everyone understands the same way can lead to misunderstandings.  Cultural variations also play a role – a single strategy won't resonate everywhere.

To ensure effective localization, clearly define your target audience. Here are some key questions to consider:

  • Geographic scope: Are you aiming for a continent, a specific country, or a smaller region within a country?
  • Languages: What are the primary languages spoken by your target audience? Are there dialects or variations to consider, along with preferred formality levels?
  • Media consumption: How do your target customers access information? Do they rely on traditional media or are they active online?

By answering these questions, you'll gain a clearer picture of your audience profile. This profile acts as a guide for your language choices, communication approaches, and messaging strategies in all situations – campaigns, announcements, crisis management, and more.

Build an in-country team

Building a team within your target market area, who know the local culture and environment, is essential for expanding your business successfully. It's important to work with people who live in the area you're targeting because they understand the local way of life better than any online research or short visits can show. These local experts can spot flaws in your plan and help avoid big mistakes related to the economy, society's likes and dislikes, and more.

To get these insights, you can either hire people from the target area to work with your team or partner with a local PR and content marketing agency. An agency with experience in the local market can offer valuable advice on communication strategies, working on a performance-based system to minimize errors from misunderstandings of the local audience.

Whether you choose to expand your internal team with local hires or work with a specialized agency, you're laying down a strong foundation for your business to adapt and grow in new markets. This strategy simplifies the process of fitting your marketing efforts to new cultural contexts and reduces the chance of costly errors.

Content Collision provides performance-based digital PR services and B2B content marketing services for tech startups in APAC and beyond. Book a discovery call to learn more. 

Focus on relevant content pillars

Your existing communication strategy, including defined content pillars, may not fully apply to your new target audience. It's important to evaluate which content is most relevant and will have the realistic impact on the customer journey. Start by focusing on translating and adapting your website copy, product descriptions, marketing materials, and customer support resources, as these elements are crucial for engaging potential customers.

Adjust your content to suit the preferences and cultural nuances of your target market. Choose content that easily adapts to the local language and culture, emphasizes your products or solutions in the region, and remains consistent with your company's core messages. This strategy ensures your content is both relevant and effective.

Considering collaboration with a local agency can also be beneficial. They can offer fresh, original content that aligns with your communication goals while incorporating local context. A local agency's expertise allows for content that resonates well with your new audience, facilitating a smoother market entry.

Securing creative assets

Securing creative assets is a crucial next step after aligning your content pillars with the new market. This involves adapting your brand guidelines to fit the cultural nuances of the target area. The goal is to make your brand's presence feel natural in the new environment while maintaining its originality and avoiding any symbols that could be misinterpreted.

The role of imagery and design cannot be overstated in ensuring your message resonates with the audience. It's vital to choose images and visuals that are appropriate for the cultural context of your new market. Avoid using symbols or imagery that might carry different or unintended meanings to ensure your brand communicates effectively and respectfully.

The bottom line

Investing in localization also means fostering trust and building meaningful relationships with international customers. This is a continuous dialogue – cultural preferences may shift, and your target audience's needs may change over time.

This article has explored the key steps for preparing your company for international expansion through effective localization. Now, the journey begins! As you navigate new markets, remember:

  • Regular evaluation is essential: Markets are fluid – regularly assess the effectiveness of your localization efforts. Are your messages being understood? Are you connecting with your audience?
  • Prioritize input from your in-country team: They are your on-site experts. Their cultural knowledge is invaluable – actively seek their feedback and be receptive to their suggestions.

By embracing continuous evaluation and prioritizing input from your in-country team, you ensure your brand remains relevant in the global marketplace.

Content Collision provides performance-based digital PR services and B2B content marketing services for tech startups in APAC and beyond. Book a discovery call to learn more.

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