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Author: Textappeal

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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Jason barrett social talent global social media podcast

Masters and Mavericks in Global Marketing: Episode 2 with Jason Barrett

  |   News

For our second Masters & Mavericks podcast Elliot sat down with Jason Barrett, a social media influencer and strategist, who is the Founder and CEO of Social Talent. Jason explains how brands can connect with audiences in a more authentic manner than through a traditional campaign.

Jason Barrett is a social media influencer and strategist and is the founder and CEO of Social Talent. After almost a decade spent as a business developer in publishing, he entered the social media space in 2006 as a consultant. He joined McCann Worldgroup in 2009 and was later named Head of Digital and Creative Technology at McCann London. Jason has provided expertise on digital and social media to countless brands, connecting influencer talent to some of the world’s most visible brands.

How do you make friends and influence people if you’re a global brand in 2016? That’s just one of the big questions that Jason Barrett and his team at Social Talent tackle when it comes to overcoming social media challenges. In the latest instalment of Masters and Mavericks, Elliot sat down with Jason to discuss why ‘influencer marketing’ is of such importance in social media today

To understand what influencer marketing is, Jason took us back to 2001 when he first became involved in the social space. In that nascent stage of the internet, most conversations around brands existed in either forums or chatrooms. Jason was in publishing and posed this question to himself: “How can we generate conversations around what we are creating, and how would this help us figure out what people wanted?

Fascinated with the potential of social media and the psychology behind captivating people with content, Jason helps connect brands with established influencers – talent with expertise in a range of fields such as travel, cooking or sports and who have built organic audiences around their own content. By leveraging influencers, Jason explains how brands can connect with audiences in a manner that is more authentic than through a traditional campaign.

Listen in as Jason explains how brands can rely on content creators to help them engage both global and hyperlocal audiences. Influencers, because of their closeness to a given culture, are more attuned to the kind of content that their audience digests and, in turn, can create stories that are more authentic in nature.

Listen to our first podcast with Pernod Ricard’s Åsa Caap talking about intrapreneurship, which aired last month, and be on the lookout for the next instalment of Masters and Mavericks due in mid-April with Steph Hamill, Creative Director at Havas Helia. Also, check out an interview with Elliot on TrinityP3 on what transcreation is and why it is important in global social media branding.

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How Local Language Social Listening Pays Off for Global Marketers: The Mysterious Case of the Refractory Market

  |   CultureShocks Blog

One day, a successful Client Services Director from a well-known international ad agency came to us and said that he was stumped.

The global campaign that his agency had designed for their biggest client was a huge success, except for one important market in Asia. Nobody understood why. The product was brilliant, the advertising captivating. There were no obvious cultural issues: in-depth local focus groups had demonstrated the story, and its benefits were clear and memorable. As the client brief had specified, an “integrated omnichannel roll-out” had reached “every possible customer touch-point in a consistent, engaging, relevant and holistic way”.

Alas, whatever the brand said about itself and wherever it may have touched, customers in that particular market were for some mysterious reason still ignoring it. What could possibly be wrong? More importantly, what could he do about it? His client would call soon, and he needed answers.

textappeal transcreation, transcreation agency, creative translation

We explained to him that we have a tradition at Textappeal. For one day, early in the month of January, the youngest member of our team is dressed in an orange robe and sent to a Buddhist monastery. The brief is simple: say nothing all day, and be attentive to everything that happens. The next morning over a frugal breakfast, we ask what they learned, in the hope of gaining deep insights for the future success of our business.

“So what insights have you gained?”  the agency exec asked, curious.

“Well,” answered our Lead Director of Languages, “we reviewed the last 12 years, and three insights stand out.” She proudly listed them:

“Silence is a good way to recover from a New Year hangover, second only to Alka-Seltzer.”

“The monks who eat rice one grain at a time are slimmer than the ones who don’t.”
“Life is suffering, especially when seated on a cold floor without central heating.”

The adman glared at us. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! How can that possibly be relevant to your business ­­– or mine?”
“Look,” he added, trying to be helpful, “I’m Irish, and we like to talk a lot. In fact, I was so talkative that my Mum would say to me: ‘Liam, you have two ears and one mouth, use them in proportion…’”
“But unfortunately I don’t know any Asian languages.”
Seizing the opportunity to emote but entirely missing the point, our American CEO interjected “Hey, I have Irish blood too!”
Suddenly our Greek multilingual Newsroom listening expert, who nobody had noticed until then, exclaimed “Eureka!”, took his clothes off and started running around the room naked. A bright but relatively discreet young man, he had decided that this was his way to get our attention. He announced: “The solution is simple, buddy. In that market, you need to talk about the sensations that your product creates, not its benefits.” (Actually the project took a week, and he was not naked, but let’s keep the story moving!)

bart, textappeal, creative translation, storytelling, transcreation
We all stared at him, trying hard to stay focused on his face. The adman said: “First of all, I don’t see how you could possibly know that, given that everyone here seems clueless. Secondly, please get dressed.” And with that, he left.
Two weeks later, we received a call. “I don’t know how you did it, but you people are geniuses! Especially that naked dude.”
“What happened?” we asked.
“Well, we didn’t know what to do so I followed your advice and had the copy rewritten. We replaced the product benefits with customer sensations. Guess what? Sales went through the roof. My client is over the moon!”

creative translation, success, transcreation agency london
“I told her about you and she wants you guys to adapt the next campaign in 70 different languages. Send me a quote, OK? And give me your very best price!”
Later, the team huddled around our Greek oracle in celebration. Dressed in an orange silk robe, he handed out cups of green tea spiked with 50 percent proof ouzo, and explained:
“While you people were chattering, I had the brand’s keyword universe translated by our local writer. I put the results into our listening technology, turned a few dials, and about 30 local language blog posts and Twitter feeds tumbled in.”

genius, global campaign, transcreation, creative translation
“Then I asked our two local brand experts to give me a lowdown. They ran a word frequency check, sampled various bits and reported what was happening. People out there talk a lot about the sensations that this kind of product provokes, but you don’t hear anyone chatting about ‘benefits’.”
“They also explained to me that the market has predominantly a Buddhist cultural sensitivity, and people there learn how to be attentive to their inner sensations from an early age. You know, they practice a kind of mindful meditation.”
By that time we were all a little dizzy. “You know what guys,” said our Languages Director, slightly tipsy, “if you don’t listen, you speak nonsense. But if you can make sense of what people are actually saying in different markets and cultures, you can speak to them a lot more effectively.”
A Senior Project Manager added: “That’s how we’re different at Textappeal: we try to understand the local differences in how people think, talk and behave before we adapt a message.” Our CEO concluded: “Listen with two ears, speak with one mouth, in that proportion – brilliant! Perfect for my New Year’s resolution too, don’t you think?”
With that he rushed off to catch up with a client that wanted to know why their global corporate Twitter feed had less followers and shares than the competition.
The Greek yelled after him: “Don’t use the Irish line, boss. The client is Japanese and is allergic to your American-style emoting!”
“What should I do?” shot back the CEO as the elevator door closed.

“Maybe listen a little more than you talk, Chief,” came the answer.
Textappeal’s provides insightful listening for leading brands in over 120 languages. Contact us to find out how we can help you.

meditation, textappeal, newsroom, listening

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asian social media sites

The Most Popular Asian Social Media Channels

  |   CultureShocks Blog

In less than a couple of decades, social media has become a global phenomenon. Membership growth dramatically increases year over year, and our most trusted platforms have become lifestyle mainstays. Today, nearly one third of the planet is active on social, yet many brands still struggle with cross-marketing, hitting target audiences, and other social media challenges. Due to the undeniable popularity, the importance of social media cannot be overstated.

The tricky part is this: Social media usage is quite different across all major global markets. For instance, while Facebook is the largest social network in America, it is nowhere near as powerful in other parts of the world.

As the undisputed leaders of technological advances, Asia is a digital destination that is impossible to ignore. If your brand is looking to make an impact in this crucial corner of the world, take heed of the social platforms that are currently at the top.



In this Asian economic powerhouse, popular western social sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are somewhat inaccessible. Instead, companies like Tencent and Baidu have developed the region’s leading platforms. In China, messaging app QQ is the dominating force with 860 million users, and the blogging platform QZone is next up with 653 million users. Both of these sites, as well as the third most popular social site in China, are all owned by Tencent.

Yet despite this fact, the most active social mobile app in China throughout 2015 was Weibo and their 222 million users; 100 million of which are daily users.



The landscape is different here as major western networks Facebook and Twitter are widely used, but are far from the top rankings despite social media localisation. Google+ is in fact more popular than either of the aforementioned sites. Facebook actually functions as more of professional site like LinkedIn for its near 17 million Japanese users as only 34% of the country’s internet users are under 35. The reigning champ for social media in this region of the globe is a site called Line, boasting more than 50 million users. Line is a messaging app, not a traditional social network, but the site motivates users to follow brands and act upon their interests, which makes this an alluring option for retailers.


South Korea

While places like the UK and India share the same fascination with multilingual social media sites Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, South Korea is another place with destinations that are basically unheard of in the western world. These folks are the world leaders in internet connectivity, and a site called Kakao Talk reigns supreme with more than 48 million monthly active users. This app provides tools like access to free calls, multimedia messaging, and in-app shopping.



In Singapore, western networks are the dominating force, most specifically WhatsApp, which reaches 46% of the country’s citizens. In fact, the region’s next four most popular networks (Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Google+) all hail from the west as well.


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press loft uber pr agency textappeal, transcreation, global social media

Press Loft: The Uber of PR for Home & Gift Brands?

  |   News

For once, here’s a blurb not about the benefits of Textappeal or Newsroom,  but someone else’s business that I happen to think is brilliant.

Global PR used to be enormously costly and complex to execute. Nicola Snell, a clear-minded and articulate PR expert is making it a lot simpler.

Her business is as straightforward as it is powerful: connecting home & gift brands with journalists & bloggers worldwide, via a single platform called Press Loft that posts releases and images for quick download.

How does it work? Pretty simple. Brands such as Laura Ashley sign up to distribute their message across markets. Publications such as The Times or Bloggers such as Brightbazaarblog.com can instantly download the most relevant news and pictures. There are already more than 12,000 journalists using the platform – and they are usually the ones recommending it as well. Everyone gets to try it out for free.

The reason I like this business so much? The way it instantly matches human talent from around the world to global publishing and PR needs, thanks to smart use of digital.

So the Uber of PR? You decide. You can connect with Press Loft at: www.pressloft.com / www.twitter.com/pressloft  / www.pinterest.com/pressloft

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cross-cultural transcreation

Nissan’s Golf “Makeover” Taps Into Japanese Thirst for Endurance

  |   CultureShocks Blog

Most golf enthusiasts look at a round of 18 on the links as a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. The hazards, aside from wickedly slicing a ball into sand trap or lake, are few. But what would it be like to play on a course that offered a little more edge; where the hazards are sand dunes and waterfalls and instead of a golf cart you are asked to tear around from tee to tee in a SUV crossover?

A recent advertising promotion by Nissan did just that, by challenging Japanese car consumers as well as those with an affinity for adventure. The “X-Treme Golf Cup” pitted three competitors (out of 300 applicants) to play what the campaign billed as “18 holes of the most difficult golf ever played.” The players faced larger-than-life obstacles, such as braving deep caves, dense forests, and sheer cliffs over 1,934 kilometers during a 96 hour time period. The tournament’s grand prize was Nissan’s new X-Trail Hybrid—the same vehicle the three participants used to navigate the course. Check out Nissan’s short film on the challenge below:

In the 1 minute video, Nissan captures the appeal of why each golfer enjoys participating in such an outlandish event. (You can watch an extended version of the video here.) The agency responsible for the campaign, TBWA Hakuhodo, made a savvy decision when they decided on the creative path. Match the sensibilities of a Nissan crossover vehicle with gaman (我慢)—a term which loosely translates as “endurance.”

Gaman is a unique Japanese mentality. Derived from Zen Buddhist thought, the concept has a lot to do with surviving hardship and showing stoic endurance through difficult times. A write-up in The Australian following the devastating 2011 earthquake why gaman is an important cultural idea, that helps Japanese overcome natural disasters or simply find enjoyment in games where feats of mental and physical endurance are highly prized.

From the business world to the playground, gaman (also known as gaman kurabe, or a “test of wills”) dictates a cultural desire to persevere at any cost and to not be undone by any sort of challenge, large or small. It’s a competitive spirit that emerges at the slightest hint of any sort of personal challenge.

Apply the idea of gaman to a marketing campaign directed at young Japanese consumers, and it’s easy to see why coming up with the idea of the X-Treme Golf Cup was a no-brainer. Mastering golf is no easy task in of itself. Mix it with a course designed to challenge a person’s abilities, and Nissan gets a subtle, storytelling-driven car campaign that makes the brand instantly synonymous with endurance, without a need for hard marketing. The company’s softer angle toward product placement means the emphasis is not only about the car, but also about the adventure. In a day and age where endurance is what separates Japanese automobiles from the competition, Nissan gives itself an enduring new edge.

For more on cross-cultural transcreation and social media solutions, get in touch with: Sergio.arboledas@textappeal.com.

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sea life is the new win for transcreation specialists Textappeal

Textappeal’s New Business Win: SEA LIFE

  |   News

SEA LIFE Aquariums is the world’s largest and most engaging conservation based aquarium brand, with more than 50 attractions around the world.

SEA LIFE create a breathtaking experience for the whole family and want to share their passion for sea life – its welfare and conservation are paramount in all they do.

Textappeal are proud to support the SEA LIFE brand in helping to promote the SEA LIFE ethos and enabling it to resonate with an audience across 13 European and Asian markets in 13 languages among which are Finnish, Portuguese, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Swedish.

SEA LIFE were looking for a partner to support the global unveiling of their website; a partner who shares the same passion for excellence in all they do and a partner who could further the SEA LIFE brand to audiences in markets where the brand is present.

Another crucial point for the brand was to retain consistency across SEA LIFE’s global estate of aquariums and deliver a brand message that would be fun, engaging and family-friendly across the markets SEA LIFE currently operate in.

SEA LIFE were impressed with Textappeal’s approach, passion and credentials and we are now working on the brand’s global website transcreation.

Our goal is to inform people in each specific market, in a locally relevant manner, of the importance of marine conservation, get them involved and inspire children to fall in love with the sea. To help them better understand the importance of the protection of sea life in an entertaining and culturally relevant manner.

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