The expansion and development of technology to the extend and forms in which it is available today has immensely improved and upgraded international communication and exchange. Although giant corporations has never had much trouble into emerging on the markets of a completely different part of the world, new forms of technology have enhanced even business strategies, let alone those of small and medium-sized companies. With technological development and being able to reach customers from the opposite part of the globe, these small companies have finally got the opportunity to expand beyond their home markets. Breaking the barriers of the domestic market and stepping into the international, has brought new challenges along the way and required new approach to marketing strategies, their transformation and derivation of modern ones. Challenges which companies of any size met in the course of international expansion were how to inveigle the population of that particular market into choosing their product and not what another rival company has to offer.
Expanding strategies of gathering new audiences have become special fields of expertise. They started requiring and involving a complex multidisciplinary approach was based on research and testing, trial and error. Not only that, but an international market usually meant a foreign language, culture and customs, which all together could sometimes be tremendous obstacles on the way to win potential customers’ approval. The first of the mentioned obstacles is often the language barrier rather than the local culture and customs, although they are not negligible either. Without the first barrier removed, potential customers can be refrained from understanding the message of the brand entering their local market. In other words, if you want to avoid your brand eventually turning into a failure, you must find a reliable and successful way to communicate with new audiences, which means addressing your new customers into their own language.
However, this is just a start. Communicating with the new clients in their language might not be enough and often is not. Meeting local needs and regulations of that particular market, is the next step. Depending on the type of the product, nuances in marketing strategies win the battle. Today, what is stretching over the markets globally seeking for localization are digital products, from devices like mobile phones, laptops, tablets and others, to literally digital products such as software in general and specialized software of probably the most popular and expanding gaming industry. So, for example, a digital product to be sold on the new local market must run smoothly on the users’ devices without any kind of interference like glitches or them putting too much thought and effort into interaction. This means the interfaces and instructions of how these devices should be used need to be perfectly translated and adapted to that market as if the product and company were local ones. The translation has not only be perfectly converted message, but it needs to sound smoothly and naturally. No ambiguities are allowed and tolerated. Surely you do not want some part of your brand’s instruction or interface sound as offensive or hard to understand. The process which is being described is referred to as product localization. To put it differently, it is the process of adaptation of the brand or the services which you want to enter the new market with, and thus sell it to the local population. So, let’s have a closer inspection of this strategy and how to deal with product localization.
Why is product localization so significant in today’s business? To gain more profit, you need to find new markets globally. To win those markets, you need a superior strategy.What you should have in mind is that there usually are similar and successful domestic companies which the local population is being accustomed to, so the question is, if their products are good or even excellent, why would they suddenly change their habits just to switch on to a new foreign brand? It means you need to offer them something equally good or even better and tailor it to meet the local needs and tastes. Furthermore, your brand has to be reshaped and adjusted in order to look like it was make there. To successfully launch a product which is going to be successful and profitable tomorrow, one must be able to understand users’ needs and often meet them before they even realize what their needs are or might be. The process of localization will help you reduce or even avoid the risks and uncertainty of expanding to new markets. After ensuring your product will successfully be accepted, tasks of commercialization, logistics, and marketing are ready to follow. With strategies and tasks, your brand is granted progress in the local markets which, if won partially, can bring an international achievement.
The localization process is unthinkable without teams of different fields experts like designer, developers, translators, marketers, etc. Each of them plays a different and equally important role in the team, driven by the urge to wrap their brand in the best way to convince the target audience to give their votes to the product with their repeated trust and the money. So, if a digital product is to be sold, teams of developers are there to test and inspect every possible malfunction of the brand. No one wants his brand’s name be associated with bad quality and failures. However, no matter what kind of product is involved, translation professionals will be indispensable and irreplaceable because this task role requires an impeccable translation of the brand’s source material, and cannot be given to the translation machine as in some situations. A perfect translation leads to creative decisions based on a profound knowledge of the target market in terms of competitors, prices, habits, and consumer trends.
Not only does the process of localization involve multidisciplinary experts and teams, but a useful and a common move is to assemble all company’s teams for regional business and communications, especially natives from that region, to play an insider’s role in the team in order to achieve a better approach to the local customers. This method is widely used in the business of many famous international companies, so let’s inspect the strategies which were o have been applied on us, their consumers.
In 2014, Coca Cola had a successful campaign under the name of “Share a Coke”, which you might remember. This an excellent example of how localization process, if done carefully, can bring popularity and more profit. Namely, multidisciplinary teams of the company came up with an idea of personalizing bottles of this famous drink. Each label read “Share a Coke with…” and a name. Of course, names written on the bottles were not only typical English and American names. Since Coca-Cola, the company worldwide, in many countries, if not all, had to adjust this campaign to the local customers of a particular country. Therefore, the most often and typical names, both male and female were printed on the bottles’ labels. So, in Germany there were traditional German such as Helga, Martha, Hans, Ulrich or Friedrich. Such names would never attract customers in Russia or in Spain and lead to the increase of sold bottles. For that reason, teams in Coca Cola branches in Russia put Russian names, written in cyrillic alphabet, whereas in Spain and Spanish speaking countries, typical names of those regions had been found on the bottles. Names like Fernanado, Roberto, Huan, Manuela, Gabriella, Lucinda, etc. This was an ingenious and authentic idea making the local people feel curious, honored to see their own names, entertained and encouraging them to buy more personalized bottles for their friends, family and partners, looking for that special bottle for their beloved. What a marketing idea!
The entertainment platform famous worldwide, where plenty of movies and TV series are available for watching is another great example of the process of localization. Aside from implementing outstanding design, Netflix has adjusted its content to various languages of the world. Even more, driven by the desire of compete with local content platforms and even win the battle, Netflix resorted to another form of expansion strategy－allying with local content creators and introduce Netflix originals characteristic for each and every local entertainment market they have appeared in.
Giant companies with enormous annual profits will always find a way to keep and expand their markets and huge earnings. With localization process or without. Those who really need and can truly benefit from this process application are small and growing businesses.
In the sea of giant companies, they can survive and expand relying on the carefully planned process. With enough operating knowledge, even small teams of experts, or freelance services in this field, with the knowledge of the target market, the right budget allocation, and the help of a native “insider” of the market that business is targeting, expansion is not only possible but must and will be a success.