We live in a world where the power of branded content reaches across borders and cultures. The global marketplace is now easily accessible, and businesses recognise the need to customise their brand messaging to resonate with ever-growing and increasingly diverse audiences.
Localising branded content is a strategic approach for attracting global customers and opening doors to new markets and demographics. Localisation allows your branded content to blend in seamlessly with varying target markets and audiences.
While scrolling through TikTok, I came across this video showing a side-by-side comparison of localised McDonald’s adverts. The original UK advert reflects the diversity of the UK, and could be an office in London, Manchester or Birmingham. We then see similar characters, colours and personalities in a new campaign, tweaked to reflect an office in Doha or Dubai to attract customers in the GCC region (the Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman).
This made me think about how we localise clients’ messaging and branded content.
“Embrace the beauty of the original idea while making sure the details are well crafted and relevant to the region you are trying to localise for. The devil is in the details, versus the overall approach” – Hessa Al Sudairy, Studio M, Part of Publicis Group
Content localisation is an added advantage for a business. When your branded message chimes with the audience and your target market, your brand gains; a consumer is bound to become more loyal to the brand or business when they feel a brand relates to their way of life or interests.
Looking at the McDonald’s advert, key roles in the UK advert were changed to be more relevant for the GCC, such as the postman being changed to an IT worker, and the janitor to a local security man. These regional changes help make the consumer feel that the brand is “speaking their language”, which results in increased engagement.
As a branded content studio, we create content around the world for varying audiences, and are often asked to supply the video in up to 10 different languages.
Some popular phrases or idioms may not resonate with a diverse audience if they are not translated effectively – the meaning is literally lost in translation. Content localisation means translating words into the most appropriate language for a specific region, rather than verbatim translation, which keeps the exact meaning of the word in the original language.
It’s also important to look at design when incorporating different languages. When Spanish is translated from English, the volume of the text can expand by approximately 25 per cent. This means that sections of design with ample space for English text might not accommodate its Spanish counterpart.
With localised content, the business and its content creators must also think about the visual elements of the content. For example, if you are venturing into a Japanese market, you need to translate from English to Japanese and critically look at number formats, music and colours. For example, there are regions that associate the colour white with mourning; and certain numbers are not written the same way.
Coca-Cola successfully utilises localisation. It effectively weaves its message into different cultures, acknowledging cultural nuances and sensitivity. All brands must note that every customer experiences life differently and sees the world in a unique way.
A good example is when Coca-Cola integrated the printing of people’s names and custom-written messages on its bottles.
Artificial intelligence has revolutionised the field of content localisation and translation. Advancements in natural language processing and machine learning have made AI-powered tools capable of translating large amounts of text, detecting cultural nuances and idiomatic expressions that make it possible to localise content for specific audiences.
AI has increased the speed and accuracy of content translation and localisation. It is no longer time-consuming nor requires a high level of expertise. AI localises media efficiently, simplifies content, and provides a quality customer experience using multilingual chatbots.
The idea of filming different videos, writing multiple articles or creating additional designs may sound expensive and time-consuming. However, localisation begins at the start of the content creation process, with extensive research into target audiences. It becomes a whole lot easier to connect with people around the world when the message is, in itself, international. This is achieved by avoiding certain nuances, adapting designs and picking music at an early stage.
The benefits of establishing a global presence for your brand are clear. Expand your reach to wider audiences, and you create a trusted brand that wins engagement and loyalty worldwide. A localisation strategy is an excellent way of gaining a secure position in regional markets and attracting investors, as it demonstrates your capacity to create business opportunities beyond national borders.
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