How to Successfully Localize Your Brand

With the help of the digital revolution, businesses now have access to expansion strategies far beyond the reach of older companies that would need to stick to their local markets. While this is an appealing goal so many brands aspire to achieve, expanding into new locations often becomes more complex than at first glance. Why? Because your brand has started out in one location, loved and appreciated by one audience, in one particular cultural environment. Transferring that same brand’s identity into new cultures, languages, and environments comes with a slew of issues too few brands are ready to tackle.

Localizing your brand without depriving it of its authentic identity takes time, skill, creativity, and above all, expertise. When you’re ready to globalize your brand, it actually means that you need to be prepared to localize it for new markets, to woo these new audiences in the same way you did for the birthplace of your brand. To make sure you have the tools to succeed, take a look at some of the most effective localization strategies you can use to your advantage when you want to impress new local audiences.

Get to know the competitors locally

When you first started out, you had to gain enough information about the makeup of the market you were about to enter, including your competition. Their own strategies, successful as well as failed ones, would be a great pointer towards the most appealing approaches the local market appreciates. The same goes for the new locations you wish to expand to: their existing local businesses will be your greatest obstacles to reach the success and the brand position that you need.

How can you take over the throne, or at the very least gain competitive relevance when faced with brands that have years, if not decades of advantage of understanding the pulse of the local audience? Research. Conduct thorough analyses and gather any data available that can help you improve the performance of your business in the given market. That alone will be more than enough to help you understand what it takes to succeed and what mistakes you need to avoid to prevent failure.

Go beyond simple translation

Of course, creating a website version in the native language of the local audience provides your brand with a unique advantage to bond with the new audience and present yourself properly. However, just word-for-word translation won’t cut it. You need to blend your brand into the culture you’re about to enter, you need to let that culture permeate your brand. To do that, you can use transcreation services when crafting your local marketing strategy to meet the needs and preferences of the local market. 

From experienced linguists who will evaluate the language native to your brand and find ways to trans-create it for the new audience, all the way to designers with local expertise able to fit your visual presentation to the local cultural expectations, transcreation is a far more effective solution than simple translation. 

Rely on local language experts

Even beyond your first marketing campaigns, you need to tailor the entire brand to the new market, and that is only possible when you start understanding the local language finesses. This is by no means an easy task, or one that you’re meant to complete within the first week of launch, but you should make sure that your strategy for localization is flexible enough to introduce changes to your brand voice without disrupting its core structure and identity. 

Work with native language translators who can help you work on your voice for your website and create detailed guidelines for your social media managers who will monitor your localized pages. Although you’ll be able to stick to your values, you should learn how to express them in ways that the local audience will relate to with ease. 

Familiarize yourself with local laws

On a more practical note, the existence of your brand as well as its reputation relies heavily on the local legal structures, requirements, regulations, as well as restrictions. Not only in terms of language and culturally acceptable expressions, but also in the very heart of your local operations. 

For example, you need to be completely aware of everything you need to do in order to hire local talent or work with freelancers, to run an office, to organize events, what kind of contracts are accepted, the intricacies of money transfers, advertising, appropriate imagery, and the like. All of these details can either help you build up your reputation or cost you dearly in legal fees in case you unintentionally cross a boundary set by the local laws. 

Partner up with local businesses 

Finally, your local reputation can and will depend on how you’re accepted by the local market of businesses, not just your customers and potential employees. That said, you will need to create a network of partners that will help you slowly develop your business locally, such as local vendors, local marketers, advertisers, influencers, magazines, and experts. 

Make sure to discover and connect with all those relevant businesses in your field and get in touch with them before you enter the new market so that you can develop those bonds beforehand. 

While localization may be complex and cumbersome at times, it will become all the simpler when you create strategies to guide your brand on the road towards entering new markets. Implement these ideas into your localization, and you’ll empower your brand to enter and impress new markets whenever you decide to expand your business beyond your current borders. 

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