Sometimes, all it takes is one tiny detail to ruin an effective marketing strategy abroad. Take Tiz razors from Iran, whose name translates to “sharp” in Farsi. Unfortunately, somebody forgot to warn them before they sold the brand in Qatar; in that country, “Tiz” translates to buttocks.
Cultural sensitivity is a tricky thing to balance at an experiential, global event. Even once you’ve done all the legwork, cultural blunders are bound to happen. And if you’re quite unlucky, you might end up like Tiz Razors, whose sales plummeted after their fated appearance on the Qatari market.
Join us as we discuss how to maintain cultural awareness with your target audience, without losing the core message in translation.
Hire a Localization Team for Your Marketing
Localization is more than just translation. It is making your pop-up or mobile tour not only accessible in a foreign language, but relevant to local culture, customs, and mindsets. Think of it like one part translation, and two parts cultural marketing.
Some things simply do not work with direct translation, especially culturally dependent product names and jargon. Let’s assume for a second that Apple is a small start-up with no cultural relevance in the West. Translating it apples for apples (no pun intended) would likely result in a meaningless or silly name in another tongue.
Give that name to a localization team, and they would probably change it entirely. They make sure that it keeps with your strategy and is distinct, but at the same time sticks well with the locals.
Tailor Your Visuals and Content
Just as meaningful as language are the symbols that a foreign culture uses. For example, in India the left hand is seen as the “dirty hand.” If one of your guerrilla marketing images were to depict someone eating with their left hand in India, it wouldn’t go down well.
Again, you need a homegrown, local team to handle culturally sensitive imagery. In many cases, they may need to re-tool your whole approach so it works well abroad. The last thing you want is for your mobile tour to offend everyone that walks by with unintentionally rude posters.
Understand How Foreign Countries Consume Content
It is unwise to assume that all countries consume and engage with content in the same way. Some things are certainly ubiquitous, such as smartphones and computers. But individual aspects of how somebody uses these tools will vary wildly.
For example, people in the US usually don’t appreciate newsletters in the mail. But in some countries, this is the preferred method of getting company correspondence. Doing your research beforehand to understand these tendencies will go a long way.
Get Venture Capital With Auctus
Marketing beyond your country’s borders can prove to be quite a challenge–just ask the folks at Tiz. The only way to maintain proper cultural sensitivity and awareness is to get the help of the locals. They can help you translate your brand–in all aspects of the word–in such a way that it resonates with others across the boundaries of language.
Auctus is an independent investment company with a portfolio whose sales generate over €1 billion. Get in touch with us so we can help your company excel.