Localisation has been a popular tool in the world of business in recent years, and to be honest, it looks as though it will continue to be for many more to come. With the growth of the internet and global brands, businesses today really have no restrictions. UK brands and companies are now spending millions of pounds each year developing crafted marketing messages and promoting services and products. But what if you were to discover that a specific colour you’ve used for instance, isn’t culturally appropriate with your targeted audience or equally as tragic, image the consequence of having a slogan which translates into something extremely offensive.
To put simply, localisation adjusts and adopts products, services and content to suit a specific market. It also eliminates all types of local insensitivities, making it easier for businesses and audiences. Every business knows the importance of accurately localising material when expanding business abroad. Global brands such as Apple or McDonald’s have values and messages which they like to communicate throughout the world. Before approaching new and foreign markets, successful companies do their fair share of localisation homework to make sure that their values are translated suitably.
Take American Airlines as a great example of a message being lost in translation. The commercial airline introduced leather seats for its passengers. By the time the campaign reached Mexico, the slogan which in English, reads ‘fly in leather’ literally translated into ‘fly naked’ in Spanish. The lack of localisation in this instant is very evident!
Let’s look at McDonalds and the good effects of localising material .The fast food chain restaurant has created local menus that are perfectly localised to suit specific regional markets. In New Zealand, you can order a kiwi burger, and if you feel like eating a chicken Maharaja, a McDonald’s in India would be your best bet.
But spending time and money on localisation should be considered a must for any organisation or business. If a left turn is taken, expansion to foreign markets can damage the image of your brand as well as your budget. Taking the time to translate your logo, websites, content or documents, taking into consideration local sensitivities are extremely important. Political, religious or cultural impact on your brand in a foreign market can be significant. And when expanding abroad, carefully translated and localised messages cannot guarantee success, however the lack of such, certainly guarantees failure.