Three communication mistakes to avoid when your brand goes global
When your business goes global you need to make sure that your international customers can grasp your message.
Many brands are trying to achieve it in one way or another. But very often they fail and end up with sloppy, unclear or ineffective texts published on their websites, in their brochures, on the product packaging or in the e-mails.
Below you can see three most common communication blunders made by businesses that are active on the global market:
1. Cutting corners on review and translation
If your business goes global, it has to speak the language of your customers. There’s no doubt about that.
But some brands tend to forget that it has to be a clear and correct language, without stylistic, grammar or punctuation mistakes and without any typos.
This means that not only your website, but also product packaging, online ads, marketing materials and e-mail templates have to be top-notch to make sure your customers are not disturbed by unnatural or flawed content and can focus on your key message.
That’s why saving on translation by using automated tools or unqualified ‘translators’ is never a good idea if you treat your business and your customers seriously. Another important step is to have your content reviewed by professional linguists who are native speakers of the target language. In this way you can ensure high quality and correct adaptation of your texts to the target audience.
After all, if your content is full of errors, why even bother communicating in other language? There’s nothing more harmful for a brand than lack of professionalism and lack of respect towards the culture or language of its target customers.
It’s not only a great design and great product that counts. Everything on your website or on your packaging conveys some clues about your business and attitude towards your customers. So, make sure you create a positive and professional impression.
2. Assuming everyone speaks English
It’s easy to fall into that trap. After all, isn’t English considered to be a global language? So, why a brand that goes global can’t rely on English only?
Well, even if you decide to use English only, which variant will you choose? British, American, Australian or maybe Canadian English?
By limiting your communication with international customers to one language only, you’re already disclosing some information about your style, attitude and your focus.
You might be thinking that publishing your website and social media content in English only will help you save costs attract more people from around the world. Well, in this case you are setting yourself up for a disappointment.
In fact, consumers are more likely to buy products and services if the content is published in their native language, even if they speak and understand many other languages. So, select and research the markets you want to tap into and make sure your online and printed content is available in the language of your target consumers.
Be global, but be local at the same time. Only in this way you’ll be able to gain trust and loyalty of your international consumers, and prove that you care about their culture and understand their needs.
3. Not tailoring your content to the target market
Every market is different and so are the requirements, needs and expectations of your target customers. That’s why you can’t present the same content and communicate in the same way in each and every country.
From negotiation style and business presentations, through design and packaging, to colours on your website or ingredients in your food products – there are always some little tweaks you’ll need to make to tailor your business to the specific markets.
What worked in your home market might not be effective once you go global. It’s the customer who matters, and it’s the customer demand that will decide about your success or failure on the new market.
Before going global you have to know the culture and communication patterns of your target consumers, as well as understand common trends and challenges on each and every market. Only then you’ll be able to successfully adapt your products, services, design, website, marketing e-mails or brochures to answer to the needs of the local market and, eventually, succeed abroad.
When your business goes global, your communication has to go global as well. This means that your business needs to speak the (correct) language of your customers, adapt the online and offline content to the local market, and be responsive to the preferences and requirements of your target consumers, no matter where they are.
Dorota Pawlak is a localization consultant for digital and Web 3.0 brands. She enjoys helping businesses enter new markets and is passionate about cultures, languages, and technology.
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