Building your startup in Indonesia: a guide to localized PR campaign

This guide explores localized public relations strategies for startups considering expansion into the Indonesian market.

Building your startup in Indonesia: a guide to localized PR campaign

Indonesia, with its population exceeding 270 million, presents a significant opportunity for international startups.  A growing middle class with disposable income indicates a market receptive to premium or niche products.  Furthermore, Indonesia boasts high smartphone penetration and a thriving e-commerce sector, highlighting a tech-savvy population. These factors combine to make Indonesia an attractive market for international expansion.

However, simply translating your offering isn't enough to establish a foothold.  Building a successful presence requires a deeper approach – effective localization that goes beyond language.

Localization vs. translation: speaking the local language

Imagine you want to tell a story to someone in Indonesia. Translating your story word-for-word might get the basic points across, but it might not be as engaging or impactful.

Localization goes beyond just translation – it's about adapting your entire message to resonate with the new audience.

Here's the difference:

  • Translation: This simply converts your message from one language (like English) to another (like Indonesian). It focuses on the words themselves.
  • Localization: This takes translation a step further. It adapts your entire PR strategy for the Indonesian market. This includes:
  • Language: Translating words accurately while considering cultural nuances (e.g., avoiding slang or puns that don't translate well).
  • Visuals: Adapting logos, images, and infographics to be culturally appropriate for Indonesia.
  • References: Using cultural references or stories that Indonesian audiences will understand and connect with.


Imagine your startup has a regional office in Singapore that puts out press releases in English. Translating those press releases directly to Indonesian would be a good starting point. But for truly impactful PR, you might want to take things a step further with localization.

This could involve tailoring the message to current Indonesian trends, adapting the humor to resonate with local audiences, using Indonesian pop culture references they'll recognize, or even swapping out the visuals for ones that better fit the Indonesian market.

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Challenges of localization

Localization can be a game-changer for reaching new audiences, but there are a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind:

  • Workflow complexity

Localization actually requires a bit of a workflow overhaul. Even if your PR and content machine is running smoothly in your current market, reaching a new audience in Indonesia means taking some extra steps.

The key is making sure everything makes sense culturally. This involves double-checking translated messages to avoid any misunderstandings or accidentally offending anyone. You might also need to tweak things like pictures, jokes, and references to fit better with Indonesian culture.

  • In some cases, major changes might be required: brand re-evaluation

In rare cases, a more significant brand re-evaluation might be necessary for the new market. This could involve minor adjustments to your brand name, logo, or core messaging to ensure cultural appropriateness and avoid any unintended offense.

Localization can be a bit of extra work, but it's worth it to make sure your message lands well in the new market.

Why localization pays off

So why go the extra mile? Here's the bottom line: it gets results. Localized PR campaigns can deliver several key benefits for your startup.

First, localization can boost your return on investment (ROI). By adjusting your message to resonate with new audiences, you'll see higher engagement, better conversion rates, and a more positive perception of your brand. This translates to more bang for your buck in terms of PR and content marketing efforts.

Second, localization helps you break into new markets. When you adapt your message to the local culture, you can reach a wider Indonesian audience and accelerate your overall business growth.

Finally, localization fosters stronger relationships. By showing respect for Indonesian culture, you build trust with local audiences, media outlets, and potential partners. This creates a solid foundation for success in the Indonesian market.

Strategies for localization for effective PR

In making PR strategies work well for new places, it's important to focus on a few main points.

First, adjust your messaging to fit the culture of the new market. This involves selecting the right tone and stories that locals will connect with.

Then, review your brand's visual components, like logos and images, to ensure they match what's culturally accepted and liked in Indonesia.

Lastly, collaborating with local PR agencies can be very helpful. They understand the market well and can offer advice on what works best locally. This can make your PR efforts more targeted.

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At the end of the day, doing well in new markets is about more than changing how you talk about your products. It's important to clearly show how your product or service can solve the problems that exist in the market. You need to make it clear why what you're offering is the solution to these specific issues.

This approach is key to not just entering the market but becoming an important part of it. By focusing on solving real problems, you make sure that people see and value what you bring to the market as a helpful solution to their needs.

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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