The power of content localization: how to offer a “Royale with Cheese”


Content localization can have a huge effect on your bottom line. Here’s a list of things to take into account when localizing content, and which tools you need to send the right messages across the globe.

“You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?”

You probably do, actually. The globally appreciated movie Pulp Fiction taught the world that they call it a Royale With Cheese.

“They got the metric system there, they wouldn’t know what [on earth] a Quarter Pounder is.”

But before you start making fun of the Parisians not knowing what a Quarter Pounder is, do you know what they call a Sign-Up Button in Bangalore? No you don’t…. But maybe you should.

When it comes to localization, it’s the little differences that will make you sell a whole lot more. Apparently, McDonald’s was one of the few companies doing it back in 1994. Nowadays, stats prove that many more companies should be doing it.

Meanwhile, cross-border online purchases are growing 28% every year. That means an increasingly large part of your content will be consumed by people from different cultures, with different tastes, with different laws, speaking different languages.

You have to acknowledge these local dissimilarities as you create your marketing content. If you’re sending a conceptually brilliant message, but in a way that doesn’t quite get local hearts beating, marketing results will be disappointing. A good neighbor is better than a faraway friend, and it’s no different when localizing marketing content.

Here’s a list of all the variables you should check to properly localize your content, and which tools you need to make it happen.

What localization is, all around the globe

Contrary to popular believe, localization is not just about translating texts into the right language. There are many other variables to consider. Feast your eyes on this list of content localization tips, and accompanying examples.

  • Select only the content that’s relevant for your specific market (e.g., skip content that is insignificant for some cultures or situations)
  • Adapt visuals and graphs to target markets. (e.g., highlight another country on the map to draw attention).
  • Modify content to suit the tastes and consumption habits of other markets (e.g., replace the visual of a beige car interior (Asia) with that of a dark car interior (Europe)).
  • Adapt design and layout to properly display the translated text (e.g., English texts may become up to 30% longer when translated into other languages such as German).
  • Adjust formats and sizes of material to local (print) standards (e.g., take into account the size differences between the European “A4” and US “Letter”).
  • Convert to local currency and ‘units of measure’ requirements (e.g., acknowledge how a “113,3981 gram hamburger” won’t sound appetizing to countries using the Imperial system).
  • Use the correct local formats for dates, addresses, and phone numbers (e.g., use a comma in the US, and a dot in Europe to write decimals).
  • Adhere to local regulations and legal requirements (e.g., make sure you know what is required in Europe, but may be forbidden in the US. Or the other way around).

When you bear in mind all the local differences in this list, you can give a product the look and feel of having been created specifically for a target market, which is the main goal of content localization.

Creating an infrastructure for globally relevant content

Now you know what you should do to properly localize content, you’ve probably realized how things can get complex really quickly. To localize content in a consistent way, you’ll need tools with a combination of specific functionalities. Here’s a list of tools you need and what you need them for:

  1. A tailored and branded Marketing Portal to enable partners and sales reps to easily navigate to campaign assets and information.
  2. A Digital Asset Management tool to manage all sorts of content in different formats.
  3. A self-service Web-to-Publish tool to adapt content to local needs, based on pre-approved creative templates.
  4. A Product Information Management (PIM) tool to manage translations and to convert metrics

The guys from Pulp Fiction were right… “It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same [stuff] over there that they got here, but it’s just a little different.”

As a marketer, you’d better take that into account. Before you know it, you won’t be a marketer anymore, you’ll be selling Quarter Pounders with Cheese in Paris. And that would be quite a big difference.

Stephan Nobs By Stephan Nobs

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