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BizReport : Ecommerce : May 19, 2016

Expert: Why brands need localization

According to the US Chamber of Commerce most of the world's purchasing power and consumers live outside the US. What this means for US based businesses, whether they are global brands or just starting out, is that localization is the key to success.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: How can businesses know if their messaging is hitting the right note with multilingual audiences?

Judd Marcello, SVP of Marketing, Smartling: Until recently, standard translation of a brand's English-language content was considered good enough to engage global audiences. But today, companies that are still using this passive tactic are realizing that their messaging, or their brand, is having trouble resonating internationally. [Brands must] now move beyond standard translation and create native brand experiences rooted in localized content to ensure their messages resonate in every language, all cultures and any market.

Kristina: How important is localized content?

Judd: Localization (adding cultural nuance) is tremendously important in successfully attracting and retaining customers around the world. Audiences appreciate authenticity, and are sensitive to failed or halfhearted attempts at it. Delivering low-quality multilingual content, or a customer experience that is not culturally relevant, often has more severe consequences than failing to translate in the first place.

Native brand experiences take into account things like tone of voice and choice of imagery, in addition to word selection. They demonstrate a command of local dialects and regional idiosyncrasies, take into consideration points of cultural sensitivity, and reflect target audiences' customs and traditions. In short, localized content and native brand experiences should fully reflect how customers live, act and speak.

Kristina: What makes the Hispanic demographic, specifically, increasingly important to U.S. businesses?

Judd: The Hispanic community holds tremendous purchasing power in the U.S. There are 60 million people in this country whose native language is not English, and 37 million of those individuals speak Spanish in the home. While often bilingual, Hispanic consumers are more likely to make online purchases when approached in their native language. In fact, research from Common Sense Advisory found that 56.2 percent of consumers consider in-language information more important than price when making purchasing decisions. Failure to engage the U.S. Hispanic community with native-language websites, mobile apps and other digital content can represent a major missed business opportunity.

Tags: ad translation, ecommerce, local marketing, localization, Smartling

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