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Global Recipe With Local Spices

Why did the breakfast cereal giant Kellogg’s had to launch ethnic flavors like mango, strawberry and saffron in India? Why Pepsi’s slogan didn’t create an impact in China even after being written in their native language? Why did the leader in children’s TV entertainment Cartoon network had to counter a threat posed by its rivals in India?

All this could be attributed to several reasons or just one i.e. Localization: the process of adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture and desired local ‘look and feel’. When Pepsi was marketing its products in China, they used a slogan that read "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life". Translated into Chinese however, the slogan meant, ‘Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave’. Channels like Nickelodeon and Kermit started showing cartoons like ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, 'Pinocchio’, and 'The Jungle Book’ to which the Indian viewers could relate more as compared to shows on Cartoon network.

Gauging at the above answers brought forth a simple logic that you can buy in your own language, but it is very important to sell in a customer’s language. Although standardization has been a popular strategy in consumer markets, it has now reached a point of diminishing returns. But now the continually increasing customer diversity and changing taste and preference of cynic customers has made Localization inevitable. Not just that, keeping the business homogeneous tends to undermine the innovation, leading to a focus only on the operational targets which could have otherwise led to experimentation that leads to creation of attractive new products and services.

Had this not been true, then Coca-Cola’s past advertisement in India of THANDA matlab Coca-Cola which has been shot with Aamir Khan, posing in different cultures as Hyderabadi, Punjabi, Lucknavi, and Gorkha as well would not have been a rage. Moreover, MTV India’s resurgence in 1996 from an International to a completely Indian music channel offering an exciting mix of music and non music shows like MTV Roadies, Bakra and Youth Icon presented in its matchless style by the Indian VJ’s is the reason for MTV’s triumph over the Indian entertainment industry.

Globalization + Localization = Glocalization

Globalization has brought the world close. International travel and trade, the Internet and a continuous access to global outlets has made world a smaller place. On the other hand, the culture and local values continue to dominate the lifestyle and buying patterns in a particular region. That’s where Glocalization, a blend of global and local, involves a managed meeting of the growing global arena with localized everyday life.
HSBC has made the loudest glocal communication about being ‘the world’s local bank’. It was only after a worldwide research that they came to a conclusion that although people liked international brand but bought only those to which they could relate. More so an Italian cuisine like Pizza Hut conceived the concept of Tandoori Pizza and Pan Hindustani Pizza which was a complete customization of its products and complemented it by advertisements showing the experience of Pizza at an Indian Marriage which was tailored for the ‘desi janta’.

The Pitfalls and Rise

‘How would you like your sandwich?’....or….‘Here’s your sandwich’ seems like two ways of saying a line. But the difference here is that 1st one offers a customized sandwich and the 2nd one offers a simple sandwich. Similarly, Translation is often mistaken as Localization.

Translation converts written text or spoken words to another language whereas localization churns the information to suit the local market and audiences, thus creating effective customer engagement, increased revenue and maintaining global brand recognition. 3M, a technology innovation company has adopted country specific website with language translation for international websites but Dell has a highly localized website and provides with language translation and at the same time also provides localization of date, time zone, zip code, currency formats, etc.

Another decision regarding what to localize is also a daunting task as it depends on the global marketing strategy, and the available budgets and resources. So organizations generally try to localize the content that is customer facing such as advertisements, e-newsletter, and annual reports that are relevant to global market strategy. But with the growing use of internet, it is fast becoming a single point of contact for information, shopping and other services.

Organizations have now modified their websites to make it accessible and culturally suitable to target audience. Not just content, but the pictures, symbols, colors, language have been localized to suit the needs of targeted customers. One of the good examples of that is Durex which is a culturally customized website and reflects complete immersion in the culture of the targeted customers.

At a time where the internet is entering more and more houses it is crucial that companies involved in the internationalization of their business consider website localization and take care to use effective cross cultural analysis.

The Road Ahead

Internet has crossed boundaries and reached places. Now all the required information and services are available at the go of a single click. Our culture affects everything we do, say, hear or read and with the increase in Internet users in the Non-English speaking countries it has become mandatory to localize things as per the customer use. Users relate everything to their culture and expect a glimpse of their culture in everything they use. So, localization has undoubtedly become an important strategy because it helps in customizing the needs of the customers and ultimately increases the takers for the same.

 

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