Don’t Just React! Activities for Proactive Localization
Countless tasks await any company launching a new product in their home country, let alone around the globe.
Start-up companies in particular have the (sometimes overwhelming) challenge of dealing with all aspects of business at the same time at rocket speeds. In many cases, localization professionals at these companies are simply reacting to changes thrown at them adhoc to keep up with company growth.
With more established companies looking to find new global markets to enter, the challenges lie more in understanding what the company’s long-term goals and vision are.
No matter which situation you find yourself in, there are similar strategies that can help make the act of localizing content more of a proactive business conversation, as opposed to a reactive activity once a company is already established in a new market. This blog will highlight some ideas that localization professionals can try regardless of organization size.
1. Follow the money:
In order to understand the importance of how funds are being used in your organization, you need to follow the money. This sounds nice but how do you actually do it?
Here are a few examples:
- Sit-in on one your company’s finance meetings. Even if no one talks directly about localization, it will become clear pretty quickly where the financial priorities are.
- Read your company’s 10-k annual financial report. If your company has a stated goal of being the “world’s leading company in X service or product” clearly L10N will need to be part of that global expansion journey.
How that translates into your activity depends on your organization’s appetite for spending dollars on localization.
There are two common situations that your company might find itself in:
- A couple countries have been identified as targets for your company to expand into.
- Your company has earned some new customers in countries where English is not the predominant language.
In either case, it is critical to understand how finances are being used to either service new customers or penetrate into new markets.
No matter your situation, there are measured approaches that can be taken in order to make an impact on how funds will be used. One example is International Search Engine Optimization: If your company has decided to enter Japan, Germany, and Brazil, you have to know how your consumers would be looking for your product or service. The way consumers use the internet to find things varies wildly from country to country, and you can’t just assume that having a website in three different languages is going to make any sales.
Understanding how your potential consumers look for content will help you make a stronger case for getting the funds approved to translate your website, your marketing content, or even product collateral. Don’t let yourself be trapped into becoming responsible for an expensive multilingual website, when research has not verified you have potential customers in those target markets.
2. Understand your company’s growth strategy:
Perhaps it is too early to make a case why finances should be used on any specific localization service; however, if one of the stated goals by the C-suite is to open in new global markets, that is a very key line that should not be dismissed as wishful thinking. Annual business goals from a company’s leadership are stated without key details on how those goals may be realized.
It is in this somewhat ambiguous scenario that you can make a very proactive push for using localization as a means to help realize those global ambitions. Again, this is a key time to align your company’s goals and objectives with the right type of localization initiatives.
Maybe it’s a specific product that your company is trying to push. Sit in a meeting with engineers to understand what type of globalization may be needed on the product before launching.
Perhaps the customer service is lacking in a certain country where your company is operating because of a language barrier. Customer Experience teams are growing by leaps and bounds; with the principle of customer first being ever-present in order to succeed there are several services such as multilingual chat bots, ad-hoc interpretation services, multilingual email campaigns, and many other tools at your disposal to help your company succeed.
Learn the details of various department initiatives towards the goal of global expansion. Leverage that information in turn to set a localization department strategy that will help those departments achieve their own goals.
3. Watch the competition
Are you familiar with the Jones’s effect? Wikipedia describes it as follows – ‘conspicuous consumption occurs when people care about their standard of living in relation to their peers.’ In the corporate world, this means you need to be cognizant of how your competition is operating, in order make sure you don’t fall behind the curve. Also, according to a slightly outdated Grant Thornton study of over 2500 senior executives worldwide, it confirmed
“…that business leaders are a fifth more likely to expand when presented with a negatively framed scenario than with the exact same scenario that was framed positively.”
Present information to the C-suite about what your competition is doing in the global marketplace. Combine this with the consequences of not localizing content, as opposed to the positive benefits of localizing content. This is a winning strategy to catch the eye of executives who are always trying to stay ahead of global marketplace competition.