E.g., 12/16/2018
E.g., 12/16/2018

The Essential Guide To Localizing Advertising Campaigns

By: Quoc Nguyen, Web Marketing & Social Media Consultant - Wordbee S.A.

19 July 2018

It’s been said that advertising reflects our society, values, and needs. An advertising campaign, therefore, should comprise all that.

Ad campaigns are one of the most important elements in marketing, since they’re what promotes your products and services. They put you in the spotlight, they connect you with prospects, and finally, they convert them into customers.

There’s no doubt that great effort goes into these campaigns to make them appealing and memorable using diverse media channels like radio, television, print, and online platforms.

So, what happens when you want to take your campaigns further and use them to promote your brand internationally?

Two possible scenarios: You either succeed, or you fail. But let’s skip the failure part and focus on the success right away, because if you follow this essential guide to localizing advertising campaigns, there’s only one outcome: You will succeed! 

Here’s what you need to do to internationalize your precious and carefully planned campaign like a pro.

Plan in Advance

Remember how much energy you invested in creating your original creative content?

Well, you’ll need the same amount of care and devotion to localize your advertising materials to other markets around the world.

That’s right. Entering new markets is a huge step to take, and if you don’t want to risk the image and integrity of your brand, you should organize and plan everything before starting the actual work.

Take plenty of time to review the relevance of the campaign and products in the target market, to plan all the steps, to decide the degree of customization, and to identify human and capital requirements. Invest in this stage of the process; you will benefit from it later on.

Focus on Your Target Audience and Their Culture

Nothing’s more important to your advertising campaign than people. If you already know where your target audience is, your next focus is to learn everything you can about them and adapt your marketing strategies to their unique values, interests, problems, and concerns.

Every country and region is different, and it’s impossible to target everyone with a “one size fits all” approach.

Make a sound analysis of the cultural nuances, history, customs, and even laws. This way you’ll be sure not to make any mistakes before adapting your business campaign. Also, it will be a great help for the upcoming steps.

Define Your Tone and Style

Are you approaching younger or more adult people?

Is your brand’s voice formal or informal? If it’s informal, will this be acceptable to your new audience?

Here’s an example to illustrate what we mean by this. In English, the pronoun “you” works perfect for both formal and informal situations. However, in languages like Spanish, German, or French, there are different ways to express the levels of formality.

Going further, within Spanish speaking countries, we can find five different equivalences for “you” depending on the region, formality, and number: tú, usted, and vos on the singular side; ustedes and vosotros on the plural side.

The word “tú” is widely used for informal and friendly contexts in countries like Spain, Mexico, or Chile, but the same word is replaced by “vos” if you are targeting countries like Paraguay or Argentina. The word “usted” is reserved for more formal and usually very technical and serious markets in most of the Spanish speaking countries. Although in Colombia, Cuba, and Costa Rica the situation varies and “usted” is commonly used among close friends.

Transcreate, Don’t Translate

Don’t just re-write or mimic your content. Local transcreation professionals are your best allies. They can help customize and adapt your campaign to truly speak the same language and connect with your new foreign customers.

This is vital when it comes to internationalization. You need to know your audience and make sure all the elements of your campaign, brand name, slogan, copy, etc., resonate and make sense to them.

Focus on your brand message, on the impact you want to make, and recreate it eliciting the same responses and emotions. If you’re not sure about the difference between translation and transcreation, you can read up on the topic in this article.

Pro-tip: Pricing is also part of localization. If you’re displaying prices, make sure to do this in the local currency as well or at least in a currency that locals can understand.

Images and Colors Matter

Don’t forget about the “small details” (which are not small at all by the way!).

A picture is worth a thousand words. Images, graphics, and designs are undeniably what we first notice about a brand. The visual aspect of your company strongly supports your branding and has the power to bridge cultures, allowing for easier understanding. So, guess what? This also needs to be reviewed and adapted when needed.

Some colors, pictures, and symbols may not be appropriate in all the locales, and may even evoke feelings or interpretations that could be considered offensive or misleading.

Choose Location-Relevant Marketing Channels

Radio, social media, or television? Google, Yahoo!, or Bing?

There are countless channels and platforms to advertise your brand, so make sure you know where and how to do it. In some countries, social media like FacebookInstagram, or Twitter may be the most effective way to market your business, whereas in others more traditional channels like television, newspaper, or radio may work best.

A similar situation exists with search engines. In the United States, Google is the most used search engine by far. However, in Asian countries, we find other online search tools leading the pack, like Yahoo!, Baidu, or Naver.

Use this guide to localize your advertising campaigns and take your business to the next level … the international level!

Quoc Nguyen

Quoc Nguyen is a Web Marketing & Social Media Consultant at Wordbee.