Consider Cultural Differences in Content Marketing

Category: Culture, Marketing Translation

They say content is king and that’s just as true in the global marketplace. Localized marketing is essential for both business growth and profitability, especially as it relates to demand generation and sell-through of products and services. When it comes to content marketing, considering cultural differences including symbology, tradition and behavior is key for taking your brand to the global stage.

Today there is a growing range of marketing channels available to reach international audiences quickly and effectively. In order to resonate with local markets, your message must go beyond language and portray your brand as a whole. Globalization services like transcreation help with this, and experienced agencies will often go back to a campaign’s creative brief to craft culture-specific content marketing. As you develop and localize global marketing content, keep the following considerations in mind.

Colors and symbols

Around the world, colors and symbols can take on very different meanings. For example, in the United States, the color blue is soothing and as such, often used to convey trustworthiness. In comparison, in Mexico, blue is considered a color of mourning. Even something as ubiquitous as the white wedding dress does not translate to all cultures. For example, Chinese brides often wear red gowns, and such nuances should be considered for a wedding industry campaign.

There are similar discrepancies with symbols as well. For example, in English speaking countries, a check mark or tick means yes or indicates a correct answer. Meanwhile in Japan, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, the same mark is used for the word no or to indicate an error. Even the classic symbol for “stop” – a red octagon – looks different in other countries. These differences may seem minor, but repeated missteps can be very off-putting to an audience.

Consumer behavior

Family traditions, preferred food and drink, and even climate play a role in consumer behavior. Again, these factors may seem insignificant, but they can greatly impact how your brand is perceived. For example, people who live in warm climates tend to gravitate toward bright colors. As you design packaging, logos, and advertisements for warmer regions, think about using bright shades.

Companies often assume they can market the same way to all cultures that speak the same language. While most countries in Latin America speak Spanish, their cultures vary greatly. For example, three quarters of the Latin American population don’t eat cereal for breakfast. As a result, using images of people enjoying morning cereal in marketing content could be quite confusing for the majority of Latin American audiences.

Traditions

Marketing campaigns are often rich with references to national holidays, seasonal activities and other traditions. When starting with a U.S. campaign for Mother’s Day or Labor Day, for example, it’s important to consider that other countries may celebrate these holidays on different dates and sometimes even in different ways, if at all . Likewise, a Father’s Day campaign that has the slogan “Hit it out of the park” combined with a baseball image will most likely fall flat in countries and cultures where baseball is not a popular sport, or not played at all, and should be re-crafted accordingly.

Local traditions can directly influence the way people speak to each other, too, especially when the local language has informal and formal verb tenses. Adapting an online platform from English to Dutch or German requires more than translation: the smart marketer will consider the appropriate verb tense for the audience and an experienced translation vendor will work with you to define these standards in  a style guide). Likewise, a conversational email campaign may be relatable to U.S. audiences but can be offensive to others. Going back to the campaign goals outlined in the creative brief helps a strong translation partner address these cultural differences.

Insights

Investing in localization right from the initial planning stages helps you establish a relevant global brand that resonates with target audiences around the world. The result? Better product positioning,  increased sales and  ROI for your content marketing efforts. Research the areas you’re targeting to learn consumer customs, values, and habits. These insights will help you craft brand campaigns catered to local markets. In turn, you’ll yield better customer conversations and connectivity; greater customer relevance, response, and return; heightened loyalty and advocacy; and brand distinction, differentiation, and preference.

From blog posts and white papers to infographics and videos, Acclaro has the experience to craft culturally relevant content marketing for your target audience. Contact us today to learn more about how we work and how we can make your next campaign a success.