If you’ve decided to take your business into a new market, you’re in a “let’s do this” mode. You just have to effectively, accurately and strategically communicate your brand to a specific local market that may not understand your name, or what your product does, or even why they need to buy it. (Now exhale.)
New markets are more than just new languages. They often involve new cultures that can be drastically different from yours. So you don’t just need someone to translate your marketing materials word-for-word. (You know that’s not what we’re about.) You need to completely localize your content and, if it’s appropriate, transcreate your entire brand message.
Don’t despair. You can still do this, you just need to be strategic in your brand translation. Think about your potential customers in this new market and how you can earn their trust. Sure, every new market is different, and what you’re selling alters certain aspects of the marketing strategy, but regardless of whether you’re a logistics company offering overnight delivery or selling toothpaste, you have to create exceptional communications. Marketing and advertising efforts that have been localized using thoughtful translation and transcreation are effective tactics that can help the new kid in the new market fit right in.
1) Translate your brand…
Start with the hardest part first: your branding and advertising. When you get this step right, it creates a clear framework for all the top-level marketing steps you’ve got to work through. Moving into a new market doesn’t mean you just need a word-for-word translation of your product name and advertising slogan. You know that’s a bad idea, right?
And brand transcreation involves more than just worrying about the words you use. Many people are unaware that UPS changed their delivery trucks in Spain to a color other than their branded brown (because the trucks too closely resembled local hearses).
This type of understanding and insight into a market could have saved some of the most successful American companies from making serious missteps when introducing their products to new market. Your marketing messaging should resonate in every language and communicate your brand consistently and accurately. Your brand is so much more than translation – it’s a concept that connects with consumers.
2) …and what your brand means to that particular market and culture
You’ve read (and yes, probably laughed about) the mistakes companies have made in bringing a product to a market that just doesn’t translate the way it should.
Knowing what pitfalls to avoid and how important a translation partnership can be to your brand can make all the difference in bringing your advertising to a new audience with a different cultural experience. You have to go beyond simple translation to create a compelling message that translates not just to the target language, but also to the culture of the market you are entering.
Pepsodent promoted its toothpaste in a specific area in Southeast Asia by highlighting that the product “whitens your teeth.” The campaign was a bust because unbeknownst to Pepsodent, locals in the region chewed betel nuts to blacken their teeth to make themselves more attractive. A bright white smile was actually the antithesis of what this market desired.
Huge mistake, but there’s an easy insurance policy. Work with a layered team of highly qualified linguists, local staffers, and expert project managers all dedicated to making the most of your brand in a new language and culture. That way, you know your brand is in good hands—and in the right terms, the best color, and most appropriate idiom.
3) Transcreate your SEO keywords
Keyword adaptation for SEO and PPC advertising is vital to any international marketing effort. Simply feeding keywords into an online translator just doesn’t get the job done right, especially if the nuances of meaning are impossible for marketplace outsiders to see. So yes, please take a close look at your SEO keywords. Analyzing your core message and applying it to your keywords is a smart way to create an informed starting point for localized content and advertising.
Some of your current SEO keywords may need translation; some may require transcreation to make the most of the habits and expectations of locals in your new market. Translating different key elements of your online presence can dramatically increase your international web traffic since Google scores your site as being appropriate and applicable to local searchers.
Even changing just a few elements of your site or online marketing can make a big difference. So take it seriously and do it thoroughly. It’s no longer feasible to expect users to accept English as the default language for communication. Companies that take a proactive approach to language will earn the trust of a local market more quickly.
Since here we’re just talking about the “top three” things to translate for your new market, don’t forget that user interface localization should definitely be part of your approach in all of the top three. You’ll need a high-quality localized user interface for a native look both online and in other advertising and marketing media. If you want more insight into the specifics of driving web traffic with effective translation, see “5 Ways To Use Translation To Increase Your Web Traffic”
Now you’ve got the top three items on your advertising and marketing “to do” list. But doing these three things correctly isn’t just about avoiding disaster. It’s what can help you succeed and flourish in your new market. Done right, these steps can bring you a deep understanding of your new market and result in your serving these new clients and customers successfully—and profitably.
Now go get it done. And let us know how it goes!