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4 Tips for Cross-cultural Brand Consistency

Taking your brand across borders can be a surefire way to increase sales and expand your potential market. To successfully launch a marketing campaign targeted to a different culture in a different location, it is not enough to simply translate your content. Marketing content often includes creative language, idioms, and other culturally-specific elements to capture an audience’s emotions. A direct translation won’t get you far if it doesn’t accurately convey your meaning. To get their intended message across, successful marketers turn to localization and transcreation.

To Localize or to Transcreate?

Before talking about brand consistency, let’s discuss the difference between marketing localization and transcreation.

Marketing localization involves taking your source content and adapting it to meet the cultural environment of the target location.

Transcreation on the other hand, is taking the message and recreating it. From language to imagery, the original message and the transcreated version can look very different.

Marketing localization focuses on expressing a culturally appropriate message whereas transcreation creatively transforms the message in order to maximize cultural resonance.

You need to decide which strategy is best for your content, campaign, and audience. Staying relevant and having your message resonate in your target audience is vital but if you have to change your whole message to reach a new audience, how can you ensure that you will not lose your brand’s identity during this process?

Here are some top tips on how to maintain brand consistency while taking your marketing message global.

1. Have a Unified Vision

Whether you choose to work with a translation company or directly with freelancers to help globalize your content, you will want them to be familiar with your brand. You need to be able to communicate your goals, messaging, and brand values effectively. If you cannot express your own marketing campaign vision, you cannot expect anyone else to. Sharing your goals and providing your translators and vendors with context will help keep your marketing message in line.

Provide a style guide for your brand; include your brand’s tone and voice, formatting, and also the visual elements such as color palette, logos, fonts, etc. The more information you provide, the more accurate your message will be, no matter which market it’s launched into.

To help keep your translators in line with the brand, you can use a TMS (Translation Management System). Most TMSs provide features that make it easy to provide context for translators. Memsource supports in-context previews for website (HTML and Markdown), powerpoint, and text-based content and context notes in various forms from text to animated gifs, ensuring that your translators or transcreators have a good understanding of the content.

2. Leverage your TMS

While we are are talking about TMSs, another feature that will help you maintain your brand’s consistency is a term base. A term base – short for terminology database – is a bilingual or multilingual database which can be used for storing industry-specific and company-specific terminologies such as a tagline or product feature.

Providing your translators with a term base will ensure that the words used by the translators will be consistent and in line with your brand. Even though marketing involves a lot of creative copy, having a term base as a guideline can help your transcreators achieve the tone you are aiming for.

3. Communicate

It is essential that you communicate with your transcreation team, not only at the beginning, but throughout the entire project. You have to be available to answer questions, discuss disparities, and offer support. Overseeing the progress of the project allows you to catch and fix any issues as they occur, rather than ending up with a big, confusing mess one day before a deadline.

Don’t worry! This doesn’t mean that you have to send a bunch of emails back-and-forth and endure the endless wait for a reply or spend hours on the phone – use a TMS, and communication between you and your transcreators can happen instantly in real-time directly in the platform.

4. Trust your team

When taking your marketing campaign into new territories, you have to remember that the market you are trying to reach may not be like the market you are familiar with. Will a French translation work as well in Canada or Switzerland as it does in France? Will your imagery convey the same meaning in China as it does in the US? You have to acknowledge that your content may not be appropriate for the new market and you have to trust that your transcreation team knows what is. It is crucial that you choose your localization or transcreation team wisely.

Choose a team who knows the culture and customs, and has experience translating and writing marketing copy for the intended audience. Work closely with them to keep the brand consistent, but you have to trust their expertise and judgment. It is also important that your team lives in the area you are trying to reach. Your content may not be as effective if your transcreation team is made up of expats who have all the qualifications but haven’t lived in the target area for several years.

If you are not sure how to find a team that checks all the boxes, you can use a Language Service Provider (LSP) which offers transcreation or marketing localization as a service. They will provide you with a competent team of translators and copywriters to ensure that your marketing message is communicated with clarity and consistency.

With vision, communication, trust, and a TMS, you will be able to ensure that your brand stays true to its identity whether your marketing campaign is targeted to Tokyo or Trinidad and Tobago.

You can also find out how Memsource can accompany you in your brand’s global journey by signing up for a 30-day free trial today.