In the past decade, we’ve seen a significant shift in customer expectations due to the ubiquitous access to information, courtesy of digital and mobile technology. Personalized experiences driven by the customer, not the brand, have become the expectation. This has forced brands to transform their entire digital ecosystems and content strategies to provide seamless touch points across platforms and channels, available 24/7. But ownership for these multiple touch points has often been siloed across multiple internal functions.
Executing personalized campaigns becomes all the more complicated on a global scale. The customer journey can differ greatly in each market, requiring unique mixes of content types and channels. It’s important to ensure that content is personalized for each audience’s native language, while also making sure multilingual content is consistent across all languages to maintain a cohesive brand presence.
Before executing a global CX strategy, digital leaders must start by clearly defining how the marketing organization will operate–specifically, by determining who the key decision makers are around campaign planning, content creation, and marketing execution. Additionally, they should answer the questions: Who gives input? What’s the approval/sign-off process? How much influence does each region bear? How do regional teams interact with corporate marketing departments? By engaging all stakeholders in frank discussions upfront, everyone will be on the same page, avoiding any future roadblocks and streamlining communications.
Establishing clear lines of decision-making authority and rules of engagement reduces the ambiguity that can cause miscommunication and inefficiencies. Once this is established, business leaders need to implement a global publishing process that can empower these resources at scale, enabling organizations to:
- Control costs while maintaining efficient operations.
- Create more effective campaigns by tapping into local insight.
- Maintain a level of organizational control, which results in consistent and relevant global messaging.
- Empower in-market resources to participate in global planning.
How do you go about building this global process? While every organization is different and requires unique adjustments, the following best practices can be quite effective.
1. Headquarters/regional HQ develop global business strategies: Organizations should rank global markets in order of importance and then prioritize marketing activity accordingly. Which markets have the highest addressable market? Which require full localization vs. subtle adaptation? Understand the scope of effort and potential return before making go-forward decisions.
2. Field marketers/in-market teams develop strategic campaign plans: Define a go-to-market strategy specific to each market. Adapt the content and offers that are relevant and create local content to fill the gaps. Every field marketer must understand the local nuances of each market and adjust channels and effort accordingly. These are local decisions.
3. Content creators develop source content: Now that direction has been set, creative production can begin. Source content must be created with translation in mind, using a globally neutral tone, language, and imagery. Importantly, be aware of any culturally sensitive topics and avoid those at the source. This will provide a higher adaptation rate of centralized content and a more cost-effective translation process.
4. Local marketers review content for translation: Local marketers should determine which content needs marketing translation, transcreation, or should be re-created in-market. Effective content requires the most effective adaptation process, which may vary for each piece of content and channel in each market.
5. Content is submitted for localization: Prior to submitting content for marketing translation, transcreation, or copywriting, brands should provide their translation partners with any terminology glossaries and style guides so that they can become familiarized with brand messaging guidelines.
6. Field marketers review localized content–ready for publishing: During this process, ensure that the translated/transcreated content aligns with terminology and branding standards, as well as the global brand voice. It’s essential that all reviewers understand the distinction between preferential edits versus translation errors; if it’s a translation error due to branding errors, make the adjusted changes. However, preferential edits should be communicated up to headquarters, as style guides may need to be revised and linguistic assets updated accordingly.
Finding Global/Local Balance
Executing through a global publishing process enables relevant content to be published across global markets, which is the backbone of an effective CX strategy. It also allows for centralized operations, which are crucial to controlling costs and maintaining consistency across all touch points. At the same time, local resources still have the flexibility to make the necessary adaptations for their markets. By embracing these best practices, business leaders can work with their teams to drive an impactful strategy and reach their global audiences with compelling content that inspires brand loyalty and action.