This is a guest post by Donna Estrada.
Brand localization is when you are re-creating your product and marketing strategy to fit into the rules and values of your target audience. One of the best examples of this strategy is what Pepsi did in Argentina, which later on was also applied in Spain and Mexico.
Since the Argentines find it hard to pronounce the words with “ps”. The company decided to alter Pepsi which results to “Pecsi”. This situation is what you call the democratic pronunciation of the brand. The kind of strategy that helps to build the connection between the seller and the consumer.
Localizing your brand or the product name might not be one of the popular to the marketing approaches but it is one of the clever tactics to ensure that the locals can clearly understand it. Mispronunciation can sometimes lead to confusion and that is what you should avoid when it comes to marketing.
Below are some of the factors that you might do in localizing your product.
Keep The Brand Name Pronounceable
Brand names are important. This part of planning is a bit tricky since it is one of the key factors to the success of your business. If you are a newly established company, make sure that your brand name is understandable to the public. The meaning and pronunciation can affect how the consumers perceive the business that you have.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping your brand name simple. If it is more pronounceable, it will be easier to remember. Don’t let your consumers fall into confusion because of it. It will serve as your business’ moniker and would be attached to your company for a long time.
You can have a lot of options to choose in creating a name for your business: a) use your name–first or last, b) one or two-word description of what your company do, c) describe the experience that the consumers might feel d) choose a word not related to the product, and e) create your own word.
Take Different Approaches To Each Market
The first thing that you need to consider in marketing your product is if it will not be hard for other nationalities to pronounce it. Just like the example, when Pepsi turned their brand name into Pecsi in Argentina. They did it because of the reason that the people there couldn’t easily pronounce words with “ps” in it
Each country has its own values and rules that need to be followed. If you will go into localization, you need to tailor it to make it fit to your specific locale. It is not just about translating the brand name in order for your target audience to understand that. It’s obviously more than that.
Localization doesn’t focus on translating the words but it’s about bridging the gap between you and your target audience. Good communication is the best way to reach out to your consumers and the best way to do that is to know the appropriate channel to be used. There will be confusion when it comes to communication if you have failed in getting the right translation.
Just how the famous tagline of KFC changed when it was translated into the Chinese language. From “finger-lickin’ good” to “eat your fingers off”. It is advised that you won’t use the literal translations of the taglines that you have to avoid confusing your customers.
Be Open To Sudden Changes
Even before you’re planning to build a business, you should not limit yourself to where you are located. As the time goes by, if your business got even more successful, you may want to go to another place to target a new market. Brand names should last a lifetime and must remain consistent as possible.
Not all products can be translated well into other languages. One of these examples, aside from Pepsi is Coca-Cola. In China, the said product was translated to Ke-kou-ke-la which literally means “bite the wax tadpole”. But later on, it was changed to K’o K’ou K’o Lê, which means “to permit mouth to be able to rejoice” or more simply put “happiness in the mouth”.
Once you have decided to do business abroad, you must be aware of the changes that may occur. These changes can be about how you will be able to introduce it to the global market. You can’t simply just generalize the brand image and identity most especially if there are restrictions in some countries.
Do Extensive Research
Companies should have a quality assurance before venturing into brand localization. They should review the facts and details about the locale before they start selling it to their target audience. Two of the faults that you need to avoid are what McDonald’s and Ikea did a few years ago.
In an advertisement that was put up by McDonald’s to cater the Hmong Community in Minnesota, they used the language spoken by the people living there. Although their goal was to connect with the target audience with the use of their language, they got reactions about it. People were saying that the words can’t be understood and doesn’t make sense at all.
Ikea’s catalog, on the other hand, received criticisms as they removed the woman out of the picture in the Saudi Arabia catalog version. They did this due to the respect to the values that the said country had. This situation can be prevented if only they presented the draft of the catalog prior to the publication and dissemination.
Aside from Ikea, there is also a popular company who changed their logo to cope up with the values of Saudi Arabia which was Starbucks. As you can see, the mermaid was gone and all you could notice was the crown, with an additional four small stars. But, the overall design of the logo is still there.
Before you plan to delve into localization, make sure that you’ve hired one of the locals, which is an expert in the field of marketing, and then make sure that you have given them the authority to give your tweaked brand name a feedback. You also need to be aware of the cultural references since it might affect the decisions of the locals.
Author Bio: Donna Estrada is an editor for Scoopfed and a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She enjoys reading books about Persuasive Communication and Advertising and sometimes she contributes for Sign Letter Source.