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localisation Tag

japanese entertainment and how the xbox failed to localise in japan

How the Xbox Failed to Capture Japan

  |   CultureShocks Blog

Following the much anticipated reveal of their latest console, codenamed project Scorpio, Microsoft chose the E3 conference to unveil the Xbox One X. Given that this new, formidable spec will easily make this the most powerful console on the market, being 4k and VR enabled, it is unsurprising that there is global excitement in the gaming communities to give this baby a whirl. However, there is one place that the Xbox brand has never been able to gain a solid foothold: Japan.

Since the release of the original Xbox in Japan sales have lagged, with cheaper and weaker consoles taking up the market share. As the Japanese gaming market was estimated at being worth $12.4 billion in 2016, making it the 3rd largest in the world, it would be hugely detrimental for Microsoft to continue to allow this disconnect to stand. The question to ask is, what chance will the Xbox One X have of gaining cut-through if Microsoft are unable to address the fundamental issues they have with engaging the Japanese gaming communities?

 

Are Japanese loyal to local products?

The most commonly cited excuse is that Japanese consumers are typically hostile to foreign products, with their intense brand loyalty to the ‘home-grown’ giving Playstation the significant edge. This doesn’t ring true however, in that there are several examples of foreign companies dominating the market in Japan. Amongst these is in fact Microsoft, as their PC Windows platform is being employed on more than half the computers in Japan and by almost double the number of users of their nearest competitor, Apple.

Apple themselves have also seen huge success in the Japanese smartphone market. With smartphone use at almost 94% in the country, the iPhone has an amazing 51.7% of market share. As hard as it might be for Xbox marketers to admit, they cannot hide behind excuses, but have clearly failed to present their product in a way that engages with the Japanese market. One problem Xbox are still struggling with, and where the Microsoft OS and Apple smartphone have excelled, is the assurance of exceptional product quality which is integral to attracting the Japanese consumer.

 

Xbox vs Playstation: quality vs variety

The Xbox brand suffered a cataclysmic blow with the Xbox 360 ‘Red Ring of Death’ saga. The severe overheating issue which cost Microsoft around £1.15 billion and resulted in consoles needing to be replaced became an international news story, tarnishing the consumer trust in the Xbox brand. With Playstations lasting for 10 years without problems, the comparison would have only confirmed Japanese consumer’s beliefs that their money would be more wisely invested in Playstation.

Microsoft’s next launch, the Xbox One, would have been a huge opportunity to regain consumer trust, but sadly this too failed to capture the hearts of the Japanese consumers. Despite quality trumping localisation, when given the choice between two quality consoles, the general consensus indicates that the Japanese market has been swayed by the much larger library of games, both Western and Japanese, from Sony. By refusing to localise their offering, Microsoft are already alienating this market and losing their share of a vast gaming industry.

 

Did Xbox do right with localisation?

Stylistically, the Japanese game designers take a very different approach to storytelling than Western creators, meaning Western games are not necessarily going to connect as well with the Japanese audience. Deviating from the Western market’s love for the first-person shooter genre, the Japanese games industry skews heavily towards the JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) and slower paced, narrative driven Japanese video games. As is true of all consumer groups, Japanese audiences value feeling like brands are directly addressing their needs and values, but by excluding these from their catalogue, Microsoft show they are not strategising with the Japanese gamer in mind but maintaining a Western-centric approach within their local market.

 

Cultural factors are paramount

To gain a deeper understanding of what other cultural factors might inhibit this brand’s appeal translating into the Japanese market, we asked one of our expert Japanese transcreators for their opinion on what’s stopping the Xbox brand from connecting with their market:

“Firstly, Microsoft made a huge blunder by bundling the Xbox One with the Kinect, a motion detector that could also be activated through voice commands. For this technology to be successful it must always be left on. This fails to understand fundamental Japanese cultural factors such as the importance of privacy. An always on system is unappealing to most Japanese households because it’s a constant surveillance which naturally is incredibly intrusive.

Secondly, most Japanese apartments are so small there is almost no room to utilise the motion reactivity which is a key selling point of the Xbox One. There’s certainly no room to sufficiently move around for games such as Dance Central.

The design sensibilities of the Xbox series are clearly based on a western lifestyle and consistently fail to take into account an average Japanese person’s living conditions and environment. If Microsoft are unable to target the Japanese market with a more nuanced approach, I would have sincere doubts about the new console seeing any more success than its predecessors.”

 

How to connect with the Japanese market?

At the very least, Xbox are trying to address the issue of ignoring the Japanese viewpoint on their consoles. Xbox division head Phil Spencer’s recent trip to Japan has been publicised as a way that they are trying to connect with and gain credibility within the Japanese market. By getting Japanese game developers on board and discussing their anticipation of the latest console launch, Spencer seems to be attempting to quell the consistent fear that Xbox will continue to neglect the Japanese games market. Unfortunately, this also comes with the news that a number of games, including Nier, will not be available on Xbox.

The question that remains is can Xbox overcome the many blunders it has had in Japan since the first Xbox and regain its reputation? Even if they do manage to do that they will still have to prove that the Xbox One X is worth buying over the Playstation, which still appears to be far more in tune with its home audience.

 

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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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lost in translation, translation blunder, translation fauxpas

Lost In Translation Competition

  |   CultureShocks Blog

 

Welcome to our new Facebook competition, “Lost in Translation”. We’ll be giving away 6 insightful books for the funniest #LostInTranslation pictures or examples from around the world.

1.     Marketing Across Cultures – Fons Trompenaars.

2.     Lost in Translation – Charlie Croker.

3.     Through the Language Glass (Why the world looks different in other languages) – Guy Deutscher.

Most brands have suffered blunders that have affected their reputation. It is important to consider cultural values, rules of conduct, humour and slang when promoting a product abroad. What you need is to get your brand’s message across in a way that will resonate well in different cultural contexts. Transcreation is the way to preserve brand integrity and minimise the risk of miscommunication or brand erosion.

#LostInTranslation examples can be found everywhere. Here we show some classic mistakes:

lost in translation, translation blunder, translation fauxpas

lost in translation, translation blunder, translation fauxpas

lost in translation, translation blunder, translation fauxpas

 

We are sure that you’ve come across some examples on your travels or when surfing the internet. Share them with us for a chance to win!

Terms & Conditions:

The promoter is: Textappeal Ltd (company no. 04514203 )] whose registered office is at 88 Goswell Road EC1V 7DB.
Employees of Textappeal LTD or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
Closing date for entry will be 14/08/2015. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.

The rules of the competition and the prize for each winner are as follows:

Users can only post 1 example per day.
Votes can be collected until 14/08/2015 at 12:00pm.
The winner whose example get more votes will get 3 books:

  1. Marketing Across Cultures – Fons Trompenaars.
  2. Lost in Translation – Charlie Croker.
  3. Through the Language Glass (Why the world looks different in other languages) – Guy Deutscher.

The 2nd winner will get two books:

  1. Marketing Across Cultures – Fons Trompenaars.
  2. Through the Language Glass (Why the world looks different in other languages) – Guy Deutscher.

The 3rd winner will get 1 book:

  1. Marketing Across Cultures – Fons Trompenaars.

The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.

The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.

No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.

Winners will be chosen as a result of a popular vote conducted via social media sites.
The winner will be notified by Facebook and/or email within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
The promoter will send the prize by post mail within 10 days after the notification.
The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
 

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