Why Localisation is Vital to Grow Your Brand Overseas

Why Localisation is Vital to Grow Your Brand Overseas

There are roughly 6,500 languages spoken across the globe, which means that any business looking to globalise faces the massive task of trying to translate the details of their products and services.

While it’s certainly not realistic to target markets that speak all of those languages, selecting market places in some regions of the world will certainly warrant the effort.

Many international businesses communicate in English because it is the world’s bridge language, or lingua franca – a one-size-fits-all option for communicating internationally. However, although it is considered to be a global language, 75% of the worldwide population does not speak English at all, and of the remaining 25% that do, only 6% are actually native speakers, according to research from Sheffield Hallam University.

This tells us that potentially 94% of the world’s population may not understand what your business is trying to tell them. This considerable language barrier is likely to isolate a massive segment of your potential audience, as they will presume that your product or service is not aimed at their needs at all.

This is why translation is so important when trying to extend your reach around the world. However, translation alone is not enough, it must come hand-in-hand with a localisation strategy.

Utilising Translation & Localisation

To truly engage with a global audience, a business needs to be able to adapt their product and service offerings, all the while considering the factors that determine how an overseas audience will relate to the brand – this means cultural, philosophical and religious customs must all be accounted for.

Because people come from such diverse cultures, with their own set of contexts, norms and values, it means they react differently to marketing campaigns. There is no one-size-fits-all, pigeon-hole approach to offers, products and services that could work in every country – even those which share a common language.

This is the very reason why localisation is so important to your business.

The idea of localisation goes far beyond simply translating one language into another. It considers the other vital factors, such as local culture, law, and legislation which may play a significant part in the way your business is able to adapt to a new market.

As we’ve already touched upon, a one-size-fits-all globalisation via translation approach could alienate customers from other territories if inappropriate colours and wording are used, or you’re ignoring local legislation.

Engagement & Conversion

Cultural and linguistic tensions can severely impact the acceptance of your brand, but localisation can help to mitigate these tensions.

You don’t need to be an expert polyglot to realise that people will respond and engage more positively to your business if you’re marketing to them in their native tongue. Consumers are looking to find something within a brand that they can relate to, and that process is all the more effective when they can connect on a linguistic level right from the off.

In fact, 75% of international customers are more likely to purchase from brands that communicate with them in their mother tongue, and 60% of overseas consumers said that they rarely, if ever, buy from an English only website.

Finding Success with Localisation

McDonald’s is the perfect example of a business that has been able to translate and localise across the globe successfully.

The restaurant chain has a team of local experts situated in each country, to ensure they can assist with localising their menu and advertisements to ensure they are socially and culturally acceptable – this is particularly important in areas where religion makes a difference to how people eat and drink.

The reason that the brand has been able to expand across the globe is that they’ve been able to adapt their food items to local beliefs, tastes, and cultures. Wherever you are, from Japan, Dubai, Hong Kong or the UK, you won’t find two menus that are the same from country to country since they are all customised for each population and demographic.

For example, the wasabi nugget available in Japan may not be appreciated in the same way in Abu Dhabi, just as Indian consumers would never consider eating the traditional Big Mac that we’re so fond of in the UK.

Tech giant Apple is another example. The brand is known all over the world and is a true powerhouse on the global stage, which is why they’re now creating manuals to cover region-specific languages to suit their target markets. They’ve also taken steps to remove some apps in countries, like China, where they would not be suitable.

That said, it’s not been plain sailing in every market for Apple. Siri, one of the key functions of the Apple iProduct line, has found it difficult in the past to recognise certain Indian accents, due to the large variety of dialects used.

While the company have been able to translate their communications, they have not been able to deliver the required localisation quality, which has meant that Indian consumers aren’t able to connect with the brand. While competitors such as Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and Samsung are starting to see increased success in India, Apple still lags behind.

Why Your Brand Should Consider Localisation

Localisation is no longer an optional extra for your business if you wish to push boundaries and cross borders. It is critical if you want to fuel brand relevance and thrive in an increasingly competitive international marketplace.

Many businesses will implement a single-country strategy as standard. However, as the world becomes more interconnected, possibilities for doing business across multiple and even dozens of international countries becomes an increasingly relevant and exciting possibility.

This doesn’t necessarily mean to say that your businesses should be prepared for different language variations from the get-go, but it’s certainly a big opportunity which would seem like a waste if not at least properly explored with a quality translation and localisation plan.


If you have any questions about anything we’ve covered in this piece, or you’d like to find out more about multi-level marketing or any of our services, then why not contact us today?