Localization Strategies

Say you have a company that’s ready to go global. You want to spread the word about your product or service to potential customers in new markets. You’re excited to adapt your global brand story to local cultures and customs in ways that create resonance. You’re prepared to make global reach and local nuance a key part of your process.

Your company has approved budgets, created deadlines, and identified KPIs. But you still need a localization strategy.

What are Localization Strategies?

Localization strategy is how a company adapts its message to a particular language or culture. When entering a new market, you need locally consumable websites, social media, marketing campaigns, and more. Localization strategy is your plan to make any needed modifications in tone, imagery and subject matter to successfully connect with the local customer.

Who uses Localization Strategies?

Coca Cola

There is a reason Coca Cola sells nearly 2 billion drinks every day all over the world. Before the likes of Netflix and Airbnb became prevalent, Coca Cola was one of the few international brands that had been able to capture a global audience for more than a century. The company’s marketing and content localization prowess was showcased during the “Share a Coke” campaign that was initially launched in 2013. Rather than include its logo on product bottles like the company had grown accustomed to, they would type the words “Share a Coke with (insert common English name).” In foreign countries, they localized their content to identify with the locals.

Nintendo

Instead of tailoring content for their North American audience, and redesigning parts of their game or removing ideas that might be strange to western players, Nintendo doubles down. The company has developed a process where localization discussions occur as the game is being built and designed. Instead of completely developing the game and then localizing the finished product, Nintendo has a team of localization experts that translate games, create marketing content, film brand videos, and ultimately shepherd the delivery of the games onto American shores. The idea is that with localization and development happening simultaneously, Nintendo can streamline the process and ensure consistency between both the native and localized versions of the game.

Localization Strategy Guidelines

  1. Think Ahead – Consider how you can structure your content to communicate with as broad an audience as possible. If you can create source material that consumers in multiple cultures can understand, you will reduce the time and resources needed for effective translation and localization.
  2. Catch Up – Determine which parts of your site are the highest priority for localization and translation, and develop a strategy based on it.
  3. Keep it Simple – As you prepare to go global, try to minimize pieces of content that need to be culturally specific.

Conclusion

Localization strategies are a requirement for companies who want to go global. If it is done well, it can lead to the company’s success.

Sources

“5 Great Examples of Localization Done Right”, https://www.smartling.com

“5 Brands with Outstanding Localization Strategies”, https://www.tarjama.com/

“Going Global 101: What is a Localization Strategy (And When Do You Need One?)”, https://www.lionbridge.com/

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hey Caitlyn. You did very well with conversational word choice. I like that you included some companies who use localization strategies. That would be important for viewers to be able to relate what they have seen to the new information they are learning. I think that elaborating more on the specific details of the readings would be good in your post, as well as an expanded conclusion. I found this link, https://lokalise.com/blog/localization-strategy/, that also discusses how coca cola uses localization. They elaborated on how coca cola expanded their brand through using local experts, native speakers, and workers.

  2. Hi Caitlyn! Your post is simple, and I like your use of Coca Cola as an example of a good localization strategy. I remember the “Share a Coke” campaign and remember seeing culturally unique names and different languages at many different stores. With Nintendo, I did not realize they localize during the process of creating games, which I think is a very smart idea in terms of “staying in the game”. This article gives a few more examples of companies that “did localization right”, including Netflix, Airbnb, and WWF. https://www.smartling.com/resources/101/examples-of-localization/ . It discuses localization as a competitive advantage and how it can offer brands the chance to create unique, authentic experiences with cultures around the world.

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