Marketing is Not Always Universal, Transcreation is the Answer

Marketing is essentially about standing out and finding the most cutting edge, innovative way to present your products to your target audience. There’s an overwhelming amount of products to choose from when shopping so, aside from product quality, creative marketing is the best way to shine amongst the immense and overwhelming competition. Companies large and small are now, more than ever, dipping their toes in international consumer markets in hopes of expanding globally and creating a global awareness for their brands. Innovative, creative, and fresh marketing campaigns that appeal to consumers in one country may get lost in translation when presented in a different country. Language and culture greatly differ among countries, and sometimes even between regions in the same country – such as Catalonia in Spain. Overcoming language and cultural barriers when going global is considered the highest hurdle to jump; however, if done successfully your business could reap the immense benefits of international expansion.

If your marketing message does not coming across culturally and linguistically clear, how can you expect people to buy your products? Understanding cultural differences and overcoming language barriers will lead to the rapid growth of your brand in an international market. Expanding your operations and influence globally requires the aid of a language service provider who can deliver top quality transcreation services. It takes more than just translating a marketing campaign to establish a name for your brand in another country. The transcreation of your marketing campaign takes the original message, designed to represent the core of your brand, and creates a new campaign to communicate every element across cultural and linguistic barriers. This is not a job for just one translator; it takes a team of skilled and native-speaking translators, copywriters, and graphic designers to properly transcreate your marketing campaign so that it connects with the audience you’re targeting. Failure to transcreate properly can result in an abundance of negative outcomes that could be detrimental to the globalization of your brand.  

Transcreation Connects Cultures Through Understanding  

Thinking strategically and involving a language service provider when developing an international marketing campaign can substantially save you money and potential embarrassment. In our globalized world, you can’t afford not to take advantage of transcreation services when deploying a marketing campaign internationally. Not hiring a professional language service provider to transcreate your marketing campaign creates opportunities for gaps in communication or language errors, which could hurt your brand’s reputation. Presenting a campaign not in line with cultural norms of a country can potentially insult your target audience, hindering the campaign from its goals and tarnishing your company. Transcreation takes into consideration local market insights, political influences, traditional customs, mannerisms and gestures, levels of conservatism, gender views and ideologies that greatly vary between countries, languages, and cultures. Completely understanding the local culture of the targeted region is the only way to ensure that your message is truly connecting with potential customers in the same spirit that it does in your home market.

Oops! Language & Culture Marketing Missteps

  1. Colgate released a toothpaste in France called “Cue,” they were not aware of the fact the word Cue was also the name of a French pornographic magazine.
  2. Gerber put their baby food products on the shelves in stores throughout Africa, the label displayed a picture of a baby and text that told the consumer the contents of the jar. Little did Gerber know that in certain countries like Ethiopia the literacy rate is low and many people of that region can’t read, therefore pictures of the product’s contents are normally printed on labels and so they were selling jars of food made of babies.
  3. Mercedes-Benz decided to enter the Chinese market under the brand name “Bensi,” which means “rush to die.”
  4. Nike designed a shoe that displayed a decoration resembling the Arabic word “Allah,” which means God. They ended up having to recall thousands of products due to the error in design which offended many Muslims.
  5. Puff’s released its tissues to the German consumer market under the same name, “Puffs,” which in German slang means brothel.
  6. A Tesco store in London caters to the large amount of Muslims within the area. They set up a Pringles display in celebration of Ramadan and and even had “Ramadan Mubarak,” printed on top of the display; however, the chip flavor was bacon.
  7. In 2015, Taco Bell returned to the Japanese consumer market, the company’s slogan, “We’ve got nothing to hide”, which reflected their choosing of high quality ingredients, was translated into “What did we bring here to hide?” and consumers in Japan were eating “Supreme Court Beef” known in America as the Crunchwrap Supreme.

There is no substitute for professional transcreation services provided by a reputable language service company. Taking a chance and using alternatives such as machine translation software or a less than qualified individual isn’t going to cut it compared to professional transcreation services, and can open your brand up to shattering repercussions. It’s in your control to prevent language barriers from negatively impacting your investment in a foreign market. Don’t gamble with your global reputation, hire a language service company to aid you in the transcreation of your international marketing campaign.

Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with over 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at www.nilservices.com.

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