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cross-cultural marketing Tag

tips for a successful cross cultural marketing campaign

5 Tips for Launching a Successful Cross-Cultural Marketing Campaign

  |   CultureShocks Blog

Marketing in general is an extremely challenging practice. Virtually every niche is saturated with competitors vying for consumer attention and dollars.

To successfully have your brand’s voice heard, one must develop the right marketing messages, craft compelling and useful content, build a highly-active and engaged social following, and deploy modern marketing tactics that are capable of driving results.

When a brand makes the move to expand its horizons and enter the global marketplace, those challenges become exponentially more complex and strenuous.

Localising content, products, and brand presence requires a keen attention to detail in regards to cultural nuances, habits, restrictions, and relationships.

The ultimate goal is for materials to be so effectively localised that consumers feel as if the company is actually based in their region. This, however, is far easier said than done.

 

For example, when the Nestlé-owned baby food manufacturer Gerber entered the African market, the company elected to use the same imagery as it does in the U.S.

Their label, which features a baby, did not go over so well in Africa as many of its residents cannot read. Because of this, their consumers are used to package images depicting what is contained inside the package. In this case, a baby wasn’t accurate, understood, or well received.

 

All companies – small and large – are susceptible to this kind of blunder; that’s why we’ve compiled these 5 brand necessities for going international.

 

1: Begin with a Brief

marketing brief

At the beginning of your campaign assembly, it is vital to construct a brief which details the goals of the foray, who the target audience is and their defining attributes, and the tone and characteristics of the marketing materials that will be deployed.

Additionally, the brief should include information on the territories your brand aims to target, the languages in which materials will be translated, and which marketing channels will be leveraged.

This document will serve as a means to record the campaign’s requirements as well as an information delivery system to integrate other parties and providers into the fold in expedient fashion.

All of the outlined materials in the brief should be backed by extensive research and data, otherwise, your campaign is in jeopardy.

 

2: Study Cultural Specifics

study cultural specifics

Understanding cultural differences is absolutely critical to a successful campaign as each region has its own specific challenges, colloquialisms, and lifestyle habits. Even the largest brands can fail overseas if they do not delve deeply into cultural norms.

 

Soda giant Pepsi is one such brand. The company actually lost its lead in the South East Asian market when it changed its vending machines from deep blue to light blue. Pepsi was unaware that light blue correlates with death and mourning in the area, and they caused serious damage to their brand image with this small but impactful shift.

 

For this reason, cultural awareness needs to permeate through every single aspect of a campaign; from labels to messages, even down to the brand name itself. Everything must be analysed to ensure success in a new region.

 

Gerber is again a prime example as its brand name translates to “vomit” in French. Considering its consistency, that likely wouldn’t go over well in France.

 

Colloquialisms and translations aside, brands also need to gain a deep understanding of a culture’s societal values to better understand appropriate behaviour and messages, an understanding of regional symbols, along with other entrenching aspects like weather patterns, geographic challenges, political tensions, international relations, and basically anything else that can be unearthed.

For this kind of intimate research, it is best to develop a contact within your niche that is extremely well-versed on the culture, if not a native.

 

3: Intent is Everything

intend is everything when it comes to transcreation

Over 72% of consumers are more likely to buy a product if advertising is in their native language. This makes proper translation critical.

Translation alone is not enough. Brands must transcreate their materials, meaning that content is translated while still retaining its intent, tone, style, and context.

This is much more challenging than it sounds as each region of the globe may have similar sayings that reflect completely different meanings. For example, The United States and Britain both speak English, however, terms like “trainer” and “braces” mean wildly different things.

Now imagine simply trying to translate an English saying into Portuguese or Arabic; things can easily come off wrong or nonsensical.

If you really want to capture that 72% of consumers, you need to sound like a local, not Google Translate.

 

4: Research Top Marketing Channels

research top marketing channels

It should go without saying that using the same channels of advertisement overseas may not fare as well as it does in your native marketplace.

Many regions around the globe have significant marketing disparities in the physical and digital landscape.

In today’s world, social media is one of the most meaningful marketing channels available and is a massive driver of sales, awareness, and other goals.

If your company seeks to expand its presence to China, you’ll be unpleasantly surprised to know that social networks like Facebook and Twitter are banned there; its citizens use sites like Weibo instead.

The same thing goes for search engines. Google is not dominant in all parts of the world. This means that businesses need to optimise for engines like Russia’s Yandex if they hope to be found.

 

5: Work with Trusted Experts

work with trusted experts

All of these obstacles can feel overwhelming if you have no connection to the region you hope to reach. This makes it a critical necessity to hire a transcreation and localisation team to help ensure that your messaging, logos, content, and all other materials are up to par for regional markets.

When shopping for such a service, be sure to take into consideration which languages the company is capable of converting, its current track record of successes/failures, its experience within your specific industry, and the types of services it is able to offer to your brand. Ideally, the selected team should be able to transcreate marketing copy, video content, and audio formats such as podcasts.

 

Crossing over into other regions of the globe and achieving financial success is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of research, planning, and partnerships to develop a campaign that will resonate with global audiences. But if you want to go big, global is the only option.

 

 

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storytelling, travelling brand, creative translation, marketing consultancy, textappeal, cross cultural marketing

The Secret of the Time-Travelling Brand

  |   News

David Brand was in a rush to catch his Uber from the Textappeal offices in London. He planned to make a quick stop by his office to pull together a few charts with the final spending figures, followed by a late bite to eat, and hopefully a few hours of sleep before his 7:30 a.m. debrief with the CEO. A mad six months of global campaign preparation, but the finish line was in sight!

Despite Yuliya’s insistence on guiding him, he told the Languages Account Director of Slavic origin that he’d find his own way out.

She walked him to the lift and gave him a notebook with a pink cover: “For you, David. Text me if you need anything.”  “Spasio, Yuliya!” he answered, knowing it was more impactful to offer thanks in her native Russian, even though her English was perfect…

He stepped into the booth and mechanically pressed a button for the ground floor. Then something inexplicable happened, and everything went horribly wrong.

david brand using the elevator

Unfortunately David Brand fails to notice that instead of hitting “G” for the ground floor, he has accidentally pressed an unfamiliar button that says “-10,000”. The lift sails well past the ground floor, and continues on and on. A digital display above the door spins backwards from -250 then -1000, -5000. But before processing this predicament, he mindlessly checks his phone. The Uber is 1 minute away.

He feels his heart and pit of his stomach float for a few seconds before the infernal machine screeches to a halt. The overhead lights switch off. Silence. Blinking above on the display, a red display warns: -10,000. A millisecond that feels like an eon passes, and the door opens.

London has disappeared. Instead an unknown wilderness illuminated by a full moon lays before him. Instinctively, he checks his phone again. No service.

gif showing jack from Lost wakes up from the shock

As the shock recedes, he steps out of the doors and his senses adjust. A cold breeze whispers in his ear, he feels himself shiver. With impeccable timing, as if he has stepped into a campfire story, he hears a howling in the distance. Then, something else closer by…a scratching, perhaps? He nervously wonders if hungry wild animals already surround him, ready to pounce and rip him apart like a Waitrose prime beef cut.

gif with a tiger

And to think all he wanted to do was get his brand campaign translated and delivered to 110 markets, and be done with it. He remembers Yuliya had said something about stories being told in different ways, and recommended what she called “cultural validation” as if he didn’t know! Six months of market research, endless meetings with the agency…enough! The final brief was to come up with one big idea that worked everywhere: a universal story. He had spent a fortune on market research; battled with French and German operations who insisted they were “different”; been bamboozled by the law firm that had rejected 40 product names because they were supposedly already registered in places like Turkey, Vietnam or Argentina.

But now, here he is. A minor lapse in judgement and he finds himself surrounded by ferocious beasts and on the verge of dying alone, never to fly Emirates or Virgin again. If he isn’t eaten alive, perhaps he will perish from thirst and hunger, missing next week’s dinner at The Ivy without notice. It occurs to him that they wouldn’t hesitate to cancel his hard-earned table privileges over such an egregious lack of courtesy. Just before finding a mossy log to sit down on as his despair sinks in, he notices a small fire flickering in the distance. At the thought of warmth, his resolve stiffens and he makes his way towards the light.

gif showing savages dansing around a bonfire

As he approaches the fire, he sees figures huddled nearby, talking and eating. “People just like me!” he reassures himself, “but only dressed in animal skins instead of Armani suits!”  In a frantic voice, he greets the group in several languages; surely one of them must understand at least something he’s saying! “Hello! Guten tag! Moshi moshi! Privet! Tudo bom!” The group suddenly turns towards him, wide-eyed and with jaws gaping. They break into a loud babble of unintelligible cries, a clatter he can hardly recognise as a language. The tallest individual of the group swiftly moves towards him and seems to size him up. The Tall Man makes some strange, rapid gestures to the others. Then he pulls out a long, jagged flint knife that glows from being in the fire. He runs his fingers along the blade, almost exactly as David’s grandmother would when cleaning the Georg Jensen silverware. If the Tall Man is trying to say something to him, he can’t imagine that it’s friendly.

gif with a character from scary movie holding a knife

Seconds tick by as David runs through several options in his head. “Hand gestures are generally universal, right?” In a rapid succession of movements, he wildly waves towards the night sky and motions towards the wilderness in the distance. One of them sweeps his hand from one end of the crowd to the other and then points to himself again, circling his hand over his stomach while slowly explaining each gesture aloud in English.

The group looks on, mouths agape. Suddenly, the tallest warrior charges at David with several of his comrades-at-arms. They seize him and hold him aloft above their heads, marching him towards the direction of the communal fire. Just as he’s coming to terms with the fact that those gestures may have been mistaken for signals of aggression, he sees the crowd part to reveal two spits suspended over the fire: a skewered deer carcass slowly being spun over one, and the other, to his terror, unoccupied…

Seconds tick by as he runs through several options in his head. Once again, out of instinct, habit and nervousness, he looks to his phone and a single bar of service appears! Before he loses the connection, he shoots an SMS to Textappeal. “Stuck on Lvl -10,000. Pls help!” He eyes the animal-skin-clad group warily as a reply from Yuliya comes through. “On my way! Don’t say anything or make eye contact!”

An excruciatingly silent few minutes pass by until, out of the bushes, his Account Director appears. “So sorry about this,” she says, brushing a few stray twigs out of her hair. “We really need to get that lift fixed! Anyway, let’s get started.” She pulls an iPad out of her bag and begins scanning and swiping away at the screen. Just as he’s about to kindly protest that time is of the essence, her face brightens. “Aha!” Yuliya exclaims. “What we need here is a classic ‘Deus Ex Machina’ solution!”

Before the marketer can protest, she thrusts the iPad into his arms. A video is playing from his latest campaign. “Hold it up with two arms!” she commands. “This society is primarily animistic, and they will revere the light from the screen as well as from the video as being a deistic presence.”

homer simpson holdin a tablet and simulating different faces

Bathed in the glow of the screen, the group kneels in the collective presence of his brand video – a slideshow that highlights this season’s latest rack-ready fashion designs – playing on the screen. “It’s working!” he exclaims. The sartorial collection enthralls the group, as they sit cross-legged and murmur to themselves. While they tug on their own animal-skin coverings, they point to the screen in awe. When the video concludes, the tall, imposing member of the group with the flint knife approaches David Brand and his colleague. With the tip of his blade, the man points to the screen, then to his own rags, then to the marketer, and shrugs.

David and Yuliya face each other and exchange knowing smiles. By bridging this communication gap, they have stumbled upon a whole new world of potential early adopters who are clearly displeased with their own style, but are taking to the designs on the screen. He flips the iPad around and punches a quick message to his CEO. “Found an entirely new market with the help of Textappeal. Can you do a late-night briefing?”

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