Successful Multicultural Content Balances Global and Local
Have you ever played with Russian dolls? Matryoshka dolls, their official name, are a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed inside each other. Creating multicultural content is a similar practice as you dig deeper focusing on smaller segments within the whole. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Make Sure You Pick Your Languages and Words Carefully.
An important differentiator is language. For example, you can get a leg up on your rivals if you are speaking Spanish to the right demographic. You are missing the point if you think that multicultural content marketing is just about translating one message into some other languages.
You must convey your message in the right tone to connect with your demographic. Translating the words into German or French or any other languages is just the start.
As you create content for a multicultural audience, you cannot afford to skimp on professional translation services. You need a translator who understands the nuances of cultural symbols, tone, values, and idioms.
One of my favorite articles is a 2011 Socialnomics piece that touches on marketing translation failures. For instance, the Dairy Association’s “Got Milk?” campaign became “Are You Lactating?” because of a simple A-to-B translation that didn’t address idioms.
2. You Must Balance Precise Localization with Practicality
In a study that appeared in the Thunderbird International Business Review, Dr. Nitish Singh and colleagues studied 400 online shoppers in Germany, Brazil, Taiwan, and France. Each participant was directed to a website that featured varying levels of cultural customization.
The researchers found that there were major differences in how shoppers reacted to heavily localized sites versus minimally localized sites. Participants in the study found the heavily localized content was much more useful and accessible.
This makes it clear that startups looking to expand internationally need to respond to the interests of each market in a way that is culturally sensitive.
Of course, not all online content can be hyper-localized. This would be too expensive, cumbersome, and simply unnecessary. Instead, your organization should seek to find the perfect balance between localization and managing costs.
3. Cater Your Global Message to Local Ideas
Savvy marketing execs know that a successful multicultural content marketing strategy depends on knowing what makes a local culture tick and producing quality content that caters to that.
But, how do you make your brand attractive to Middle Eastern investors or German engineers? How do you reach the many highly attractive, compartmentalized cultures in Europe spread across multiple countries? Combining local ideas with your global strategy is the key.
Despite the global reach of the Internet, most users still prefer local websites that are about them, by them, and for them. When you speak to consumers in their own vernacular about topics that interest them, they will engage your brand and spread your message.
A popular solution is the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of your content can remain universal across all markets. This is content close to your mission, values, and overall branding. You should localize the other 20 percent to cater to the culture.
4. Are You Selecting Authentic Images?
“Good for Your Heart” depicts an interracial couple at home. When it aired during the 2014 Super Bowl, it was well-received on social media. Take (half) a minute to watch it:
This multicultural content marketing piece was so successful because it represented typically underrepresented interracial families in a normal setting. 10 percent of couples are interracial according to the latest Census data.
Cheerios succeeded because they didn’t go with the cereal commercial default of a white family. In terms of brand affinity, content shares, and authenticity, this commercial was wildly successful for Cheerios. It didn’t hurt that they had an adorable girl and great script.
Another successful commercial that year was Coca-Cola’s “America the Beautiful,” which was in seven languages and featured a family with two fathers. Time details the ugly backlash, but overall, its authenticity played well for multiple audiences.
5. Multicultural Content Marketing Is Constantly Changing
As with most aspects of marketing in the Information Age, the success of your content localization depends on how scalable and adaptable your startup is.
When you outsource your translation to contractors, they will keep brand standards consistent across your entire portfolio while boosting your localization capabilities. Then, down the road, as more budget resources become available, they can scale your message to a specific segment.
For instance, Accelingo has the experience, organization, and skills to sharpen your unique message so that it will engage global audiences.
We understand that your current budget may only allow for the largest matryoshka doll, but down the road, we will help you dig deeper to develop a stronger relationship with a multicultural audience while still remaining true to your mission and values.