How do global brands take advantage of today’s digital influence in achieving their growth objectives? Whether expanding in existing markets or reaching into new territories, digital is transforming today’s customer experience.
Much of a buyer’s journey today takes place online, making it imperative for any global brand to manage each digital interaction in every market in a personalized way. In order to capitalize on this trend, it requires the experience to be positive and that starts with localization!
The term digital transformation can be used to describe anything from automating internal processes, creating a fully responsive mobile website or even developing a customer feedback strategy via social media. It spans the whole business.
Digital is also driving continuous change in customer behavior. To succeed in the digital age, global brands must focus more on the customer’s online journey through the user experience, data analytics and targeted marketing campaigns. Brands are now using the online customer experience to gain feedback through user generated content (UGC) and develop new products and service.
One example of this is the recent comment made to Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk in social media about an owner’s experience at a charging station. The customer’s complaint on Twitter led the CEO to make a change in their supercharger stations. His not only responded, “You’re right, this is becoming an issue. Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking. Will take action.” He took action and instituted a change within six days. This is truly what is referred to as digital transformation. Online content leads to a process change, which is then communicated via digital channels.
The question that needs to be addressed to CEOs and marketers, would this change taken place if the “tweet” was in another language or in another social medium that dominates a particular region or market?
Back in the 1990s when the Internet and digital content really took off, marketers started the digital process by registering a domain and creating a website, moving forward with e-commerce. Now technology dominates our lives, especially with the prolific growth of mobile devices. There are a multitude of digital touch points in the customer journey. The main website may still be the digital mast head for a lot of global brands; however, digital marketers have to manage all the other interactions, in every target market and language.
For content marketers, there are three key areas that are influencing digital transformation and driving growth strategies:
The Customer Journey
Good global brand marketing must support every single interaction a customer may have with a brand. Map out the whole digital customer journey. Many of these interactions are now digital, which has created new challenges for brand marketers. Most branded content can be found and viewed by online users all over the world. This means content must be searchable and linguistically correct for the local audience and culturally adapted to have the right impact.
Every digital touch point must be managed from a brand perspective. This includes online search, website, white papers, e-books, articles, blogs, customer reviews, banner advertising, UI, customer support, payment process, shipping and delivery and customer feedback. Global brand marketers have to be aware that someone searching for products in Spain may have a totally different approach to someone in Canada. It isn’t just language that makes them different but cultural habits and preferences. This is why any content that creates a digital touch point must be carefully created and positioned to meet the requirements of the local customer, while still delivering the overall look and feel of the global brand.
Transcreation is a key technique used by many global marketers and localization professionals to culturally adapt content. Local versions may not be 100% faithful to the source; however, the overall message and branding is still the same. Read: The Phenomenon of Transcreation in Localization
As brands establish digital customer experiences, this builds valuable behavior-based customer data that can be analyzed to develop future sales and marketing activities.
Develop Global and Local Brand Strategies
Core brand values are often set centrally, driven by teams based at a company’s headquarters. The main logos, taglines and brand values are developed by creative and business teams, in the source language, then subsequent marketing materials for local markets are localized and translated accordingly. This can lead to problems with the localization process as a lot of major brands and branded content does not translate into other markets. It is important to have local knowledge not just of the language, but also local buyer behavior. Key to success considering localization right at the start.
For many digital marketing strategies, a local campaign must be developed to get the best reach. This applies to all activities from keyword search, banner targeting and SEO work. Each language and cultural market searches and reacts to different content. It is important to partner with a specialist who has expertise in driving multilingual digital marketing strategies.
If a brand is destined to be global and and influencing buyers in all continents, then localization of the brand must be considered at the beginning of the creative discussions.
Embrace Social and Real-Time Marketing
Social ad spending has doubled over the past two years as channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become increasingly effective at delivering a targeted reach and frequency. This puts real-time marketing and social channels at the center of digital transformation for many global brands.
Immediate feedback for many digital-centric product and services mean that marketing promotions can be rapidly adapted based on performance and results. This has a big impact on the overall customer experience.
For global brand marketers, this is one of the biggest challenges for developing central and local marketing strategies. The sheer volume of UGC posted through social media channels can make real-time marketing a challenge, especially when data is coming in from multiple language and target markets. This is where digital transformation can have a disruptive effect on marketing and localization strategies.
How much do you translate? What levels of quality do you translate? How do you monitor all digital content to ensure nothing is detrimental to the brand? There are a growing number of techniques, using automated and machine-based translation that can help global marketers harness the power of UGC to help build more brand equity and reach new markets. Read: Welocalize Guide for Global Content Marketers to User Generated Content (UGC)
Embracing digital transformation to drive global brand strategies is a challenge for most businesses. There are so many potential new markets and areas that customers can be reached with brand marketing through digital channels.
To achieve successful global brand marketing and maximize your influence in growing your business, partnering with language and digital marketing experts is essential.
For more information on Welocalize multilingual digital marketing solutions, click here.
Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.