How do you translate an idea? Global marketing often has to be customized to elicit the same emotional response in a different culture. That can mean straying from the original source to get the message across, and it requires deep familiarity with culture, as well as its language.
Not long ago, retail businesses needed significant startup funds to open a single brick and mortar store. Today, selling globally is not only possible, but real and growing fast. Many retailers have realized that they can increase global sales by expanding their target markets far beyond their local reach via the use of e-commerce. Similarly, the rise of the Internet has made expansion of brands that began in one country viable in others as well. Think Tokyo Disney, Disneyland Paris or McDonald’s serving fast food in 52 countries. Still, many owners and executives are left with the question - How do I market to a global audience?
Here are 9 tips to increase global sales in today's robust international landscape.
In a world that is becoming more global everyday, especially for business, the ability to communicate has become stronger than ever. For a business to compete and stay relevant, they have to become effectively multicultural in their marketing. This means having a website and marketing materials that are available in two or more languages. A simple translation may seem like enough, but it often falls short. That's where transcreation has become the hot trend of the marketing world when it comes to global marketing. What is transcreation? Transcreation will address the nuances of language or the eccentricities of culture that can make a pitch to potential clients or your marketing audience work. Messaging and images are all evaluated by a native linguist with a subject matter expertise in marketing.
It is critical that companies choose the appropriate language service when opting to translate a product or service or your website for different countries and regions. Dynamic Language offers translation, localization and transcreation services. No particular service type is "better" than another. Rather, each is appropriate for varying circumstances.
Let’s take a quick look at when is the most appropriate time to utilize each written language service type.
Take a look at our latest infographic on the Future Consumer - data courtesy of a recent study by The McKinsey Global Institute.
1. Translating Literally Instead of Transcreating
When translating brand names or slogans into other languages, many companies simply translate the words literally. Others focus more on conveying the general concept of their name or message. But when they do this, they forget one very important element: marketing.
Let’s take the Coca-Cola example. The name they actually decided on for the Chinese market was a combination of characters that were pronounced similarly to “Coca-Cola,” and translated (approximately) to, “Allowing the mouth to experience joy.” This matches perfectly with English slogans like, “The Joy of Coca-Cola,” and “Enjoy Coca-Cola.” But imagine if they’d just used a generic name, or something that translated as “soda.” There would be nothing to differentiate it from the many other brands of soda on the store shelves in China.
The world is shrinking. Modern technology allows us to communicate with people and cultures across the globe, as easily as with a friend in the same room. Because of this, it’s getting easier, as well as more important, to sell your products in foreign markets, as well as local ones.
So how do you do that? First, you need to make sure your product translates into the languages of those other markets: the packaging, the advertisements, the literature, the logo, and every element that makes your product what it is. You’re not just translating words on a page, either. You’ll be adapting images and overall message for a completely different culture. To do that effectively, you need the help of a translation service provider.
Communicating vs. Branding
What is it about your brand that makes it unique? Why would someone buy your product instead of one marketed by one of your competitors? Now, shift those questions into a new, foreign market. Why would they want to buy your product, and what makes it different from similar products that are made and sold locally? The reasons may be the same, or different, but either way, those reasons need to translate.
You’ve done it! You’ve achieved nationwide success, and now your company is ready for the next step: going global. You’re expanding into a number of foreign markets in countries all over the world. Now the question is: how do you package your product to sell in those countries? How do you make sure your brand stands out and remains uniquely identifiable with your company while still communicating the pertinent information of your product to the consumer in their own language? Here are a few tips for retail packaging when going global:
The most popular brands are all readily identifiable, not by their name, but by their logo. The Nike swish. The Pepsi ball. Microsoft’s flag of colored squares. No matter what country you’re in, and what language you speak, if you see those logos, you know exactly what company they represent.
Your brand may not be as prominent or recognizable as Nike or Microsoft, but making your packaging as visual as possible is an important step toward establishing your brand globally. Keep it simple, as well. If you clutter the label with a lot of dense text and information, it will distract from the overall message of your brand. Choose a couple of important facts or messages to include (briefly) on the front of the package (“Low fat!” “50% larger!” etc.), and save the rest of the pertinent information for the label on the back.
You can play around with colors as well, using a certain color or color combination to help communicate your brand instantly. Coca-Cola is red and white. Kodak is yellow. If you can come up with a very specific color scheme and make it your own, you’ll be well on your way to establishing your brand and packaging globally.
It seems like translating product packaging for export to a different country would be a fairly straightforward process. There might be issues of branding to contend with, but once you’ve got that figured out, the rest is just words on a page (or package), right? Not quite. There are a number of compliance issues you need to be aware of depending on what country you are exporting to, and your type of product. These special regulations are often overlooked by retailers, and can result in a lot of extra fees and costs if not followed properly. Here are a few special translation requirements to be aware of:
Special Requirements for Countries
Different countries have different requirements for labeling and translation, including a few you might not expect. Canada, for instance, requires certain information to be listed in both English and French. And if you’re selling your products in Quebec, the regulations are even stricter for bilingual labeling.
Mexico requires all labels on all packaging to be provided in Spanish. This isn’t too surprising, but it’s something your company may accidentally overlook when exporting across the border. And another often overlooked requirement: all labels and packaging in both Mexico and Canada must use the Metric system in their measurements. Do you export a product whose weight is listed in pounds and ounces? Be sure to translate it to grams and kilograms before sending it across either border.
Your brand and retail product is taking the country by storm. Now you want to expand your company into a foreign market. Congratulations! Now, how do you do that? How to take your product to new global markets and maintain a prominent brand presence on a global scale without losing sight of your customers as individuals with their own specific needs? How do you communicate with your customers across different countries and languages? Here are a few top tips for taking a retail product global.
The further away you are from a situation, the less likely it is that you will be in touch with what’s going on. The same is true for taking a retail product global. To maintain a successful presence in a country where you would like to offer your product, it’s important to have people specifically designated to deal with your products in that country and keep your customers happy. They don’t necessarily have to be located in that country, but they should be intimately familiar with the culture, language, and customs in order to communicate effectively with your customers there.
You should also have a version of your website that’s specifically designed for each country. Apart from basic translation, you will need to make sure prices are listed in the proper currency and adjusted for current exchange rates. In addition, you need to be aware of what payment methods are common in each country so that you can accommodate your customers, rather than turning them off by forcing them to use a method they wouldn’t ordinarily use.