Localization Marketing: Using the Local Language

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Ever thought a celebrity such as Robery Downey Jr. would need and use localization to market himself and his latest flick Iron Man 3? Here are some tips that might have aided Downey, but can definitely help you market your products properly in foreign markets!

According to Ernie Smith, the hardest part about taking your company to the global market is tailoring your marketing to appeal to specific markets. Thankfully, he states in his article on Assocations Now, there is a whole range of localization options available for the internet and social media.

Localization is not only necessary for companies selling tangible products such as sunglasses or sportswear – in fact, when Robert Downey Jr. promoted Iron Man 3 in China, he quickly realised he needed to adapt his methods to the Chinese market.

As Marvel Films had great interest in making the film a success in China, Downey signed up for the Chinese equivalent of Twitter called Sina Weibo. Even though he hasn’t posted a lot of messages yet, his move definitely shows that globalization entails more than simply being present on the global market. Smith: ‘It means reaching potential members online—in their own language.’

Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man 3 in China sina weibo

Not every marketing strategy might involve a celebrity to spread the message, but globalization can benefit many different businesses. In another article on Associations now, Katie Bascuas points out that a recent study revealed that organizations that have drawn up an ‘international growth plan’ are fifty per cent more likely to actually grow. Smith believes the best way for companies to expand is via language, ‘particularly through [its] web and technology resources.’

What are localization options for companies?

According to Smith, most companies won’t be able to localize their content themselves. However, there are companies around that have made localization their specialty. A startup in this field of expertise, Smartling, has been very successful by using crowdsourcing for their localization services. The business offers automated services for smaller businesses and more thorough ones for their larger customers such as Shell and Foursquare. Smartling is not the only player on the market: on the contrary! Check out localisation services in your country or city simply through a search.

Companies should not forget to localize their content on social media websites, Smith says. As not every country uses the internationally successful Twitter and Facebook, he gives businesses aspiring to expand their scope a few tips:

* In China, many western sites are blocked, which it is a wise move to look into the Chinese equivalents of Western social media such as Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo. Similarly, many Russians use their own version of Facebook called Vkontakte.
* Online project Digital in the Round is of great help when you are researching a specific market and want to know where your focus should be. The project explains social networks used in certain parts of the world which, in comparison to US-based networks, often have a different approach to things.
* Some companies can help you to finetune your message to a specific market. Downey Jr., for example, was aided by Fanstang, a company that helps celebrities and businesses to build a social presence in China.
* If you are already present on a foreign market and are planning to launch your company to the country’s social media, try to find foreign volunteers. As they have an understanding of both your field of expertise and the market you are aiming for, they can help you conquer the local social media sites.

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