Moving your brand overseas can feel like a choice between protecting your brand voice or adapting another culture’s attitudes. However, with a bit of creativity, you can keep your brand while still entering new markets.

The trick to expanding globally is to capture that personality in a way that’s relevant and engaging.

To adapt content to the target audience, get to the heart of what the brand is trying to say. You can do this by establishing brand truths, values and an underlying brand ‘story.’ Then consider the nuances that should be emphasized or toned down, based on the local market. Translating source language is never enough. You need to go beyond the actual words and consider their meaning and overall impact.

UNDERSTANDING THE LOCAL LANDSCAPE

When considering how to adapt your content for foreign markets, there are two key things to keep in mind:

1) Channel strategy

Understanding how each market interacts with your brand, and what channels they use, will dictate how you express your brand overseas.

For example, Hugo Boss built an interactive gift-hunting game on WeChat. Players had to find the four parts of a new character named “Bossbot” in its virtual store to finish the game. Upon completion, users went to a landing page with product information, pricing and styling tips, as well as a link to the eCommerce site. This approach appealed to Chinese consumers, so they engaged with a range of new Hugo Boss products.

2) Cultural differences

Understanding the cultural characteristics of your target market is essential for how you adapt your brand.

For example, Russian consumers tend to be more impulsive, while Japanese shoppers are more cautious and will do more pre-purchase research. British customers enjoy witty humor, whereas a German audience prefers modest and direct language.

To get the most out of each target market, it’s important to recognize these differences and adjust to the market. Otherwise, you could risk being misunderstood or rejected.

TOOLS

Once you’ve defined how your brand should be projected to the target market, it’s important to adopt the right infrastructure to ensure consistent implementation of your brand personality. Be sure to leverage tools that define your voice, define your terms and ensure consistency across all content types. This will help save you time and money in the long run.

CAPTURING YOUR PERSONALITY

While tools help build your brand personality abroad, the copywriters and linguists must be able to tell your story.

It’s important to pick linguists who are familiar with the nature of content that they will be working on. As a result, your teams will have the right tone, industry experience and content capability. This might mean having different teams for different types of content, depending on your content portfolio.

FINAL THOUGHT

While the creative side of defining a brand personality overseas is important, it’s also key to prioritize regular content maintenance and governance.

Quarterly content audits, as well as setting up a reporting system on translation memory and glossary use, are also recommended. By providing content audits to your clients, you will feel assured that your target brand personalities for each market are being accurately portrayed across all markets and channels.