Global Marketing: What Can We Learn from Movie Blockbusters

Global Marketing: What Can We Learn from Movie Blockbusters

Global Marketing: What Can We Learn from Movie Blockbusters 6000 4000 Sergio Guillén

Films with Global Marketing Earn More than Ever Before

Movie localization is an area where revenues abound for the companies willing to work on their global marketing. More than ever before, an international film industry relies on translation services and localization experts to provide movies with global appeal.

Large Markets Aren’t Everything

The globalization and localization practices of the film industry can teach a lot to companies seeking to expand into global markets.

In your company’s global marketing strategy, the primary focus is probably on the major markets. China, India, Japan, and Russia are each markets of titanic proportions. Of these four, China nearly always gets the lion’s share of the market localization attention.

It’s no surprise why China is the main target of localization efforts—China’s market is massive and hungry for foreign-produced films. According to a report by Deloitte, U.S. companies contribute 37.8 percent of the market share of foreign films at the box office in China.

Films produced hand-in-hand with Chinese companies and a foreign partner accounted for only six percent of the total movie screenings in China, but accounted for nearly 60 percent of the revenues in 2015.

This means that if your company can localize a film to China, there’s a very good chance you’ll capture a large amount of revenues.

But global marketing isn’t truly global if it only markets towards the U.S. and a small handful of major countries with avid movie consumers. China’s economy, while massive, is not the only global market with an appetite for foreign films.

Hyper-Localization Matters at the Strategic Level

The ITA Media and Entertainment’s Top Film Markets Report cites Brazil as the top-performing export market as of 2016, but also specifies that there are a handful of localization challenges which plague companies trying to exploit the Brazilian market.

First, unlike other participants in the global market for film, the Brazilian market faces a piracy issue, complete with bootleg localization. The genesis of this piracy issue is the government’s harsh taxation of foreign film and TV imports, which drives up prices.

This means that companies which spend a lot of money on their localization and translation may not be able to recoup their costs because they will face weak demand. If you’re competing with piracy and improvised localization at a low cost, you may need to compromise.

In other words, the Brazilian market does not necessarily seek quality localization, but rather inexpensive and expedient localization and translation.

Other markets, like France, face different challenges.

According to an article published in the New Yorker, importing films into France without the perfect localization practices can lead to disaster on account of cultural backlash.

Unlike other participants in the global markets, the French have a powerful film industry of their own which is supported by the government.

This means that the majority of the French audience is accustomed to seeing films that have been designed explicitly for them without any localization.

Thus, when French audiences are exposed to a foreign film that hasn’t been localized with special attention to the French preferences, it can often come off as being insensitive or rough around the edges.

In contrast to the Brazilian market, the French market exhibits very low rates of piracy, and emphasizes the quality of productions rather than the accessibility.

So, your company will need to spend more time in localizing for the French market than it will for the Brazilian market—and both markets can be highly profitable if you take the correct approach.

Multilingual Audiences Are Uniquely Profitable

Global marketing typically focuses on one new market at a time, but there are certain cases where you can target multiple markets at the same time if the intended audience is multilingual.

Your company can localize your content for a multilingual audience by translating it into a common language which the markets share.

For instance, if you translate your content into German, you can market your film in Germany, where everyone speaks it as their first language, but also to Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, and parts of Poland. Furthermore, many Dutch, Danish, and Italians can speak German.

For films where the cultural adaptation localization isn’t very challenging, the shared cultural milieu of Europe can make for highly cost-effective translation, provided that your company uses the right translation service.

One translation can make for several new markets opened for business. Later, these markets can be penetrated even deeper by providing another translation for the next most common language.

No matter the market, your global marketing will need to be sharp when it comes to localizing your content. A good translation can make for a successful film in an otherwise difficult space, whereas a cheap translation could still be profitable in the right context—or disastrous in another.

Learn more about the strategic value of localization and translation for multilingual audiences with our white paper—Using Translation to Connect with and Engage Multilingual Audiences.

Sergio Guillén

As the CEO of Accelingo, I believe in a globalized world where businesses flawlessly share their message across different cultures. I strive to empower startups to scale up globally and take over the world by providing compelling multilingual content that preserves their brand’s message and identity while increasing their reputation and visibility among global clients and partners. If you’re an ambitious startup hungry for international success, get in touch with me today and let’s find out how your startup can benefit from my expertise!

All stories by: Sergio Guillén