globeAt EnVeritas Group, we like to say that brands need to “think global, and speak like a local.”

What do we mean by that? We mean that companies seeking to expand abroad should do two seemingly incongruous things:

  • Analyze their data better to discover global business and marketing opportunities.
  • Take a local approach to these opportunities.

Journeying into new markets

Thanks to huge amounts of data from website analytics and global economic trends, it is now easier than ever to identify potentially lucrative new markets.

For a brand, however, expanding into new markets is like traveling in an unknown land. There are many challenges and risks—legal, political, financial—and many potential rewards.

The biggest challenge, and biggest reward, is to achieve a deep understanding of how locals think, feel and talk.

The first step: a high quality multilingual website

Take Europe. Among the fastest-growing economies of Europe are countries such as Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovakia, where English is not as commonly understood as in the rest of the continent. In Europe as a whole, 23 official languages are spoken.

worldlanguagesWould you buy from a website in a language that was not your own? A European Union study has indicated that only around 18 percent of web users feel comfortable purchasing in a non-native language, and 42 percent would never buy in a language not their own.

So why are so many brand websites in English only, or English and just one other language? As we noted in a recent interview with the marketing managers of Hotels.com, a multilingual website is essential. And not just a website with a Google Translate button—it has to be well-written if you want your target customers to read and respond to it and if you want search engines to rank it.

There are technical and financial issues. For instance, very few Western websites have an Arabic version, despite Arabic being one of the fastest growing, most lucrative markets on the web with over 300 million native speakers. Localizing into Arabic is neither easy nor cheap. Right to left scripting, as well as differences in dialect and cultural values across the Arab world, mean there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Yet winning Arabic customers means engaging them in Arabic, not English. The same goes for any new market into which you wish to expand. A high quality multilingual website is an essential first step.

The next step: a multicultural content marketing strategy

Multicultural content marketing—marketing which takes into account the cultural values and beliefs of the target market—builds trust and helps potential customers overcome their suspicion of foreign brands.

Locally administered websites and social media accounts should be maintained with regular high quality content, either cleverly localized or created from scratch.

Local experts should be engaged to help with this. Locals not only provide high-quality translation and content creation services with a local flavor, they can also give advice on cultural norms and local events. Thanks to local insights, brands are better equipped to test, monitor and improve local marketing efforts with the aim of increasing traffic, engagement and conversions.

We have spent years finding the best writers, editors and translators in 75 countries, and the value of such a network is immense for our global customers. A smooth execution of a content strategy is crucial, and local experts play an essential role in achieving this.

Beyond translation

Multicultural content marketing goes beyond mere translation—and even beyond multilingual content marketing—in helping brands get ahead of the game.

Want to get ahead of the game right now? Check out our white paper produced in collaboration with Axonn Media: Content Marketing for Digital Success in a Multicultural World.

Liked this post? Check out some of our others on multicultural content marketing

Eric Ingrand – VP Content Marketing EMEA

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