By Darin Goble
To be a global brand, you have to have wide adoption. You need customers all over the world, validating your brand by taking part in your brand experience and promise. If you don’t deliver that promise, they will go elsewhere.
It is your customers who dictate your brand. The organization who owns the brand merely has rights to the intellectual property, the trademarks and tangible items behind the brand. The organization who originally created the brand promise is the brand steward.
A brand steward simply means the various divisions within a global organization who work together to look after the brand and meet the promises made to its consumers and fans. Language Service Providers (LSPs) like Welocalize are also brand stewards. We work as an integral part of global client organizations to ensure their brands address local market needs; however, continue to reinforce the overall universal brand identity.
Every division in an organization has the responsibility of brand stewardship, including product marketing, sales, corporate communications, research and development, operations, HR and finance. The role of the LSP naturally puts brand stewardship as its’ core expertise, to act as a central globalization consultant, pulling together various company and product divisions to ensure that the global brand is accurately and appropriately portrayed in all existing and emerging markets.
I have worked with many large global organizations and each one of them faces a certain amount of chaos, even at the most highly organized global companies. When you have thousands of employees, suppliers, partners and distributors, there will always be an element of chaos. Having one organization to champion global brand objectives and lead the way into local markets is one way to successfully deliver the brand promise.
Here are ten reasons you should appoint your partner LSP as your lead brand steward:
- As an outside agency, we can help cut through the noise and chaos that can exist in global organizations.
- LSPs create a forum and atmosphere of global thinking for local markets.
- We can earn the trust, respect and approval of multiple internal stakeholders across the organization.
- LSPs act as a central repository for all globalization and localization matters. All stakeholders have the common goal to uphold the brand promise and deliver the winning brand and customer experience, though they need a common, central platform to efficiently manage and drive the global brand strategy.
- We manage digital assets and store big data relating to global activities, including global brand and style guides, terminology guides, glossaries, translation memories (TMs), voice-over libraries, SEO data and more.
- We drive technological innovation. Most global LSPs will have excellent technology know-how of the right language and workflow tools to enable smooth and efficient globalization and localization of brand materials.
- We work with the internal and external agencies that create source content, such as designers, copywriters, technical authors, brand agencies, multimedia experts, product designers and developers. The LSP will work to develop and shape source content with global and local markets in mind for product, technical communications, UI, internal communications and training, marketing campaigns and more.
- Our localization experts can lead the discussions on what to translate and what NOT to translate. Today’s content shelf life is short and localization budgets are not always increasing. Not all content needs to be translated to the same levels of quality so LSPs will as a trusted advisor on what not to translate. Content like social media is so fast moving, some can stay in the source language and some can be translated quickly using machine translation (MT).
- With an army of native speakers and local specialists based in-country, we provide expert advice on cultural differences and local knowledge. Certain brands remain simple and very similar, regardless of the geography and local market. LSPs should advise when full transcreation is necessary and when simple translation is sufficient.
- Most established LSPs will have a massive knowledge of every industry and the latest globalization methods and techniques. Driving knowledge and sharing best practices is key to a successful partnership.
Enhancing your global brand value and maintaining consistency across all markets and media is essential, especially in today’s connected world. An open, transparent collaboration with your chosen LSP could be one of the best things you ever did for your customers.
Darin Goble is Senior Director at Welocalize. Based in Portland, Oregon, he has worked in the language services industry for over 15 years and leads a global team focused on driving unique localization strategies for a number of high profile global brands.