Your brand is one of your company’s most valuable assets. More than a logo or tagline, a brand is a complete experience—the sum total of how customers perceive your company, product, or service. To be distinctive and build trust, your brand needs to be consistent everywhere you do business. At the same time, the success of a brand depends on how well it resonates with customers in each market. That’s where brand localization comes in.
What is brand localization?
Brand localization is the process of adapting a brand so that it feels relevant, authentic, and appealing for a specific audience or market. The goal is to make sure that the entire brand experience is conveyed in a meaningful way, including:
Voice and personality
Values and mission statement
Promise and positioning
The localization process takes into account each audience’s language, culture, customs, belief systems, and worldviews. This is crucially important because people prefer and are more loyal to brands that they feel understand them. In a study, 79% of respondents said that a brand has to demonstrate it understands and cares about them before they’ll consider purchasing it.
How to create an effective brand localization strategy
For brand localization to succeed, it needs to be guided by a clear strategy. Following these steps can help you get started:
Define your goals and metrics
As with every initiative, you need to be clear about what you want to achieve in order to accomplish it. Think carefully about the results you want to see from brand localization. Are you looking to expand market share? Attract new audiences? Boost customer satisfaction? Consider both short- and long-term goals. You’ll also want to define the specific markets and audiences to target.
Next, decide how you’ll evaluate the effectiveness of your brand localization program. There are many different kinds of metrics you can track. Choose key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the goals of your initiative.
Align with overall business goals and plan for market research
Localizing your brand is part of your company’s broader international expansion efforts and should work in sync with those goals. Which markets are the highest priority for your business? That’s where your brand localization initiative should focus at the start.
Once you’ve determined these markets, the next step is to conduct extensive research. People in different locales with different cultures can see the world in very different ways. They face diverse problems and look for varying things in products and services.
You’ll need deep insights into cultural practices and norms, customer preferences and purchasing decisions, and the competitive landscape to help you localize your brand’s positioning, value proposition, and the rest of its features.
Consider each major branding element for localization
There are many attributes that collectively make up your brand. As you formulate your brand localization strategy, you’ll need to take each of these individual elements into account and evaluate whether or not it will need to be localized.
This attribute expresses your brand’s personality—whether it’s lighthearted and whimsical, authoritative and professional, or anything in between.
How your brand voice comes across is highly subjective. Different audiences will experience it in different ways, and their reactions will be shaped by their own cultural frames of reference. For instance, a voice that’s casual and friendly to one audience may strike another audience as overly familiar or even disrespectful.
To reach customers across all your markets in a meaningful way, you may need to alter the brand voice. This doesn’t mean you have to change it entirely. Small adjustments can make a big difference in how audiences respond.
This refers to the visual expression of your brand. It includes your logo, color palette, fonts, and graphics, among other elements.
You’ll need to assess whether your brand identity will need to be localized for any of your specific markets. If there are words in your logo, for instance, they may need to be translated. Responses to colors and images vary widely by culture, and you’ll need to determine whether any aspects of your brand identity are inappropriate for any of your target markets.
Brand values and mission statement
Because brands are holistic experiences, they generally have guiding principles that help to direct every aspect of how they are expressed. Ideals and beliefs are culturally derived, so it’s possible that your brand values may need some finetuning to better reflect attitudes and customer preferences in new markets your company enters.
Brand positioning and targeting
Your brand position is the unique value that you bring to your customers. Brand targeting is how you segment customers in your markets.
Different audiences value different things in the products and services they buy, and the competitive landscape varies from one locale to the next. So, you may need to adjust your brand positioning depending on specific market conditions. Similarly, you may also need to rethink the personas you use for segmentation in international locales based on market research and audience demographics.
4 key takeaways for brand localization
Here are some important things to keep in mind as you introduce your brand to new markets:
People are loyal to brands that they feel reflect them and align with their values. As your company enters new international markets, you may need to localize some aspects of your branding so that it truly resonates with local customers.
A brand is more than a logo, a set of colors, or a tagline. It’s the entire experience a customer has with your company, product, or service. As part of your localization strategy, you’ll need to consider every aspect of your branding, including brand voice, values, positioning, and targeting, among other features.
Successful brand localization hinges on thorough market research. You need an in-depth understanding of your audience’s language, culture, customs, and values to determine which aspects of your brand need to be adjusted.
It’s important to clearly define goals for your initiative and KPIs for how you’ll measure success. Your brand localization objectives should align with your company’s broader global business goals.
Create your globalization strategy with help from an experienced partner
Developing an effective brand localization strategy can help your business attract new customers and thrive in new markets. To do it successfully, you need a strategic localization partner that can give you deep insights into your target markets and help you create lasting connections with audiences all over the world.
At Acclaro, we partner with you throughout the entire process to develop and implement your strategy. We’ve helped some of the world’s top brands create a blueprint for global success. Contact us today to learn how we can help your company build a winning brand localization strategy.