How Banks Stay On-Brand in Multiple Languages

financial industry

Welocalize and Slator.com, the leading newswire focusing on news and analysis on the global language service and technology market recently published an article, How Banks Stay On-Brand in Multiple Languages. The piece discusses localization and translation in the global banking and financial services industry (FSI) and drawing on real-life case studies, considers the complexities faced by global marketers in these industries. The article was co-authored by Slator and John Harris, Welocalize business development manager and specialist in localization solutions for companies working in FSI.

Global marketing equals “complexity, speed, and scale.” Those three words sum up the challenges global marketers face today. The digital age is the source of these challenges. In the past, marketers dealt mainly with TV, radio, print media, and billboard advertising. The production formats were fairly fixed and the distribution channels limited.

Today, the number of channels has increased to mobile and web. Text and images need to be more concise and eye-catching to cater to a generation suffering from information overload. They have to flex to different layouts, hardware, and software since access could be via desktop, tablet, or mobile. They could be displayed on proprietary websites, third party sites or social platforms; all with different specifications.

Producing videos has also become more complex. TV ads have fixed timings, resolutions, and lengths. Most videos produced today are displayed on-demand over the Internet, on display screens in branches, third party outdoor displays, embedded in digital publications, etc.—all with different technical and design requirements.

Marketers cannot afford to ignore these challenges. For instance, many industry surveys found that videos are increasingly important for marketing as a new generation grows up on short video clips on social networks rather than reading. More are also accessing the Internet from mobile devices and the trend is set to grow.

 Localization Facilitates Global Business

As the complexity of marketing grows, the tools required for managing them have also become increasingly diverse and complex. Add multilingual into the equation and the complexity in global marketing campaigns multiplies. Why?

  • Different languages vary widely in text length when translated. This makes adapting the layout to suit different devices even more challenging. Sometimes the translation of a word requires a phrase in another language in order to convey the same meaning. At other times, “transcreation” instead of a more direct translation works better.
  • Even as global marketing teams demand a consistent branding and message when content is localized, cultural norms and sensitivity must be taken into account. Images used should be appropriate and sensitive to local religion and social norms.
  • Banks face regulatory issues more than most other industries. Financial regulations also differ significantly from country to country. Marketing materials must be approved by the local legal and compliance entity of each country in which they are used.

To help global marketers navigate modern digital marketing, there are many technological solutions available to help the process of content creation and translation, for example, content management systems (CMS), digital asset management system (DAMS), and translation management systems (TMS). These systems are the bedrock of multilingual programs and help optimize efficiency and streamline the workflow and are also increasingly being integrated and packaged together as a suite by big service providers catering to their big global marketing customers.

How does a global marketer make sense of all these? What are the latest tools and techniques available to banks and financial institutions to manage marketing at this level of complexity and scale?

How to Market Global and Manage Local

One.      Choose an appropriate CMS.

A good CMS is the starting point for any global digital marketer. There are many choices out there today, all with very attractive pitches. Discussing the features of a good CMS and how to choose one will go beyond this article’s scope and length.

Building a good and professional looking website that can display effectively on desktop, tablet, and mobile requires a certain amount of knowledge and experience. Apply that to a financial institution that requires multilingual and multi-user support and the complexity and expertise needed increases exponentially.

This means that marketing managers should make the decision based on the advice of an experienced and unbiased digital marketer who can choose the best CMS based on the needs and budget of the organization. Start with the wrong one, however, and your problems in digital marketing will grow and compound.

Two.      Involve local stakeholders from the start.

With the right tool in place, the right team comes next. While brand and message strategy should come from the top via a global team to ensure consistency, localization input and execution must involve local stakeholders right from the start to avoid costly errors. This is especially important in the finance industry where each product is closely regulated with different rules in different countries.

Three.      Stick with one localization vendor.

With the right IT solution and team in place, the next most important thing is to work with the right external language services partner. Even the biggest banks with in-house localization teams will require outsourcing to stay nimble and flexible in production capacity and costs. However, a lot of time and money can be saved by maintaining a centralized translation memory and terminology database. The best strategy is to choose one long-term localization vendor with the right experience and skills rather than pick and choose from the best quote for every single project. Selection should also take into account the vendor’s experience and technical capabilities in handling large, global localization projects.

New tactics for better global marketing

Digital Decoupling

Digital decoupling refers to separating the occasional and one-off creative work from the routine content production work. The former is more suited for advertising agencies strong in brand strategies or design work whereas the latter is given to specialized content marketing vendors to produce regularly.

Digital decoupling can also entail outsourcing or offshoring the maintenance and operational work associated with digital marketing, such where talent is expensive or lacking in home countries. For example, IT infrastructure support or data mining and analytics. This helps lower costs and improve efficiency by segregating related marketing functions into different parts and having it done where it makes the most sense in terms of cost and efficiency.

Cloud Hosting

Modern cloud hosting services such as those provided by Amazon or Microsoft Azure are reliable and secure and cater to the needs of global financial institutions for marketing purposes. More importantly, they are low cost and easy to scale up or down. There is really no need to maintain proprietary hardware and software unless regulations or proprietary secrecy really requires it. Some case studies of banks that have successfully used the cloud include: ME Bank, Capital One, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank.

Secure Translation Automation in Banking

Some banks are already finding success in adding machine translation (MT) to the localization of websites, marketing materials and other MT-ready content. Professional MT can significantly improve translator productivity and manage costs and service providers like Welocalize offer sophisticated and secure MT solutions that are tailored to banking clients’ global business needs. MT engines are trained to understand client brands and accurately use key terms used in the banking and financial service sectors. Combined with post-editing, MT can offer an ideal solution to managing large content volumes whilst retaining high-quality outputs.

Case Study

Welocalize works with a financial institution that connects people and businesses globally, providing fast, reliable, and convenient transactions methods in more than 200 countries. This dynamic operation drives the need to publish regulated content in over 60 languages across multiple websites, social media channels, and mobile apps for over a billion bank accounts.

When the financial institution first approached Welocalize, their requirement was to be able to publish content consistently in a rapidly changing market and be able to serve that content dynamically and personalize it. They also wanted to be able to scale up or down easily and reuse their content and marketing assets across all their markets.

Welocalize established a centralized approach with a dedicated team and identified specialist translators with the right subject matter expertise to service this client. Welocalize also integrated the translation workflow into the client’s CMS so that efficiency would be optimized for the client’s high-volume, business-critical content publishing needs.

The result of these improvements was a threefold increase in production volume for localized content. They were also able to achieve brand consistency across all their locations while reducing costs. Their web analytics performed better and they were able to serve personalized content and digital marketing campaigns for both their company intranet and the external web. Last but not least, all content was able to meet industry and regional regulatory requirements as part of the workflow.

You can click here to read the article in full on Slator.com

For more information on Welocalize solutions for the banking and financial services industry, contact John.Harris@welocalize.com

Click here to read the article on Slator.com