What is Content Localization (and Why Does it Matter)?

Credits: Karolina

Thanks to the internet, barriers to entry have been all but eliminated and the ability to expand reach to a global scale is now available to businesses of all sizes. If you are marketing your products or services to a Chinese audience, however, it’s imperative that you are localizing your content to suit their needs and preferences. We recently shared a post on how to market effectively to Chinese consumers, and one of the tips we offered was localization. But what, exactly, does this mean and more importantly, why does it matter to your business? Let’s take a look.

In simplest of terms, localization involves the translation and adaptation of content for the purpose of expanding into foreign markets. This is important, since 95 percent of Chinese online consumers indicate a greater comfort level with websites in their own language.

It should be noted, however, that true localization stretches far beyond basic word-for-word translation. It’s more about a comprehensive customization of all marketing materials and brand messaging to reflect the unique cultural distinctions of the target audience. So, in addition to translating the language of your content, localizing might also involve making alterations to your overall design and approach.

Why is this so important for your business? Well, if you want to maximize the results of your marketing campaigns, you have to meet your target market where they are. You have to cater to them. And not just in language. This can be accomplished a variety of ways and other brands, such as KFC and Chanel, have had varying degrees of success by doing so, though their approaches have been markedly different.

Some of the ways a company can localize their content and marketing campaigns to effectively influence Chinese consumer buying behaviour include:

  • Adapting graphics, such as logo design
  • Adapting layout and design of website
  • Modifying content to better match preferences and consumption habits
  • Changing existing products to better suit Chinese consumer preferences
  • Adding additional products or services based on cultural preferences
  • Using appropriate local formats (dates, currencies, units of measure, contact information, etc.)
  • Adhere to local regulations and legal requirements

Additionally, there are certain best practices that have already been established based on the mistakes and successes that other brands that have done before have had with localizing their marketing strategies.

The three main things to keep in mind when adapting your approach to suit the Chinese consumer market include:

Don’t assume.

Just because a particular marketing campaign was wildly successful with one market doesn’t mean it will automatically or accurately translate to others. The first step in effective localization involves taking a long, hard look at your current approach and determining what modifications and adaptations can and should be implemented.

Know your market.

As you’re adapting your existing marketing strategy, take the time to really understand the needs, preferences and expectations of your new market. Not only is the Chinese culture unique, but there are many nuances that must be taken into consideration, such as geographic location, age and mode of delivering your message.

Start small.

There’s no reason to jump in with both feet right off the bat. Your best bet is to smart small, test the waters, assess the results and go from there. You may find your initial strategy isn’t quite hitting the mark like you anticipated and needs some attention. Or, you may identify a new and better way to move forward.

Are you thinking about moving into the Chinese market and are unsure how to begin? Could you use some professional guidance on how to localize your approach to get the best possible results? We’re here to help. Give us a call today at +1 604 398 5223 or contact us online to get started.

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