If your brand is looking to expand its operations overseas, there are a whole lot of things you need to consider above and beyond simply finding someone to provide translation services to help you translate your marketing material. Different languages and cultures are unimaginably complex, and the last thing you want is to have to delay or cancel a new campaign, because you’ve accidentally translated ‘accept nothing’ to ‘do nothing’.
Social media is a central part of many international marketing strategies. If you accept that it’s important to build up a digital presence in the UK, then it’s equally important to do so when you expand overseas. To do so requires careful attention to the details of each individual language and their associated cultures. Here are some examples of brands getting it right.
Viking Direct is a leading provider of office stationery and supplies across countries all over Europe. Their social media accounts are available in many languages, including French, Spanish, English and German.
A scroll through the accounts shows you the tweets aren’t simple word for word translations. The tweets themselves differ and are directly tailored to the country by the translation service providers. A recent tweet about the beginning of autumn is a pithier translation on the UK account than either its French or German counterparts, and doesn’t appear on the Spanish at all.
Quite what that says about French and German is up for debate. As for the missing Tweet on the Spanish account, perhaps this is due to the warmer climate making an autumnal message inappropriate for the time being.
One thing is for sure: their methods are working. Their social media has follower engagement that small UK companies and German Mittelstände alike would envy. You could do worse than to take a leaf from their book.
If anyone’s going to be an expert on social media – it’s Hootsuite. This brand runs a platform that helps organise your social media platforms, so you’d certainly expect them to be good at their own game. And they don’t disappoint.
But the branding is of particular note for its comical spin: The Hootsuite Owl logo is dressed up differently for each language in clothes that are stereotypically French or Italian – the Roman toga or French baguette. The simple branding message tells people that this social media account is the same brand as in the UK or Germany, but specifically tailored to their culture.
Let’s look at a well-known international brand we all either hate to love or love to hate: Starbucks. The description in their German and UK twitter accounts is a simple translation, but as soon as you head to the tweets themselves, you see that they’re carefully tailored to the country.
The attractive array of artistically-shot Starbucks drinks pays clear attention to which drinks sell better in which country and actively plugs them. If you need more proof – take a look at all the iced lattes decorating their Greek Instagram feed.
When it comes down to it, these are all relatively simple tactics designed to make these brands look relevant to the communities they’re selling in.
With the right investment of time and planning, these ideas can be easily employed by other companies looking to export abroad for the first time.
If you’re expanding into overseas markets, contact Bubbles today, for expert translation services for everything from social media to technical manuals.