As a global brand, your goal is to inspire engagement and action, in your home market and internationally. Speaking to your global customers takes more than translation. Creative media localization ensures your international content marketing engages your target audiences in a meaningful way. 

Just as the right words are crucial to conveying brand identity, the visual elements of creative media can make or break the brand experience for international audiences. 

The nature and purpose of the content should inform the level of media localization expertise needed to maximize user experience and engagement.


Creative media localization refers to published marketing content that’s localized for international markets – from print to social media ads, downloadable assets, interactive formats and video for any channel.

Creative media localization tackles the content’s design and layout as well as the translation of any text. It’s about adapting both text and visual content for international consumers, maintaining consistency of look and feel across different countries. 

When it comes to marketing localization, the goal is typically to produce an authentic user experience to drive engagement. The result of a media localization process varies greatly depending on the approach. Understanding the differences is key to success. 


Creative media localization is a spectrum. At one end you have media engineering, which is more technical in nature – and at the other creative development, which pays more attention to UX and design. Read on to discover which approach is right for you. 


Media engineering is an efficient way to produce ready-to-publish versions of original content for every market. If you have a large volume of content with simple designs and colours, media engineering is the way to go. 

It’s highly efficient from a localization delivery perspective. So it works well for many types of informational content with simple designs. The media engineering process is largely automatable and focused primarily on localizing the text elements of a source design. The result? Multiple language versions with the design and layout based on the original source.

What’s the process?

Creative Media engineering process

Below is an example of creative media localization using media engineering. Hilton wanted to attract international visitors to a particular destination. This simple design therefore didn’t need image adaptation and it accommodates text expansion and international typographical standards. It’s simple and ready to localize. 

Localized Hilton asset



For creative marketing content focused on engagement and local relevance to drive results, one-to-many media localization may not cut it. The greater the need to drive engagement and inspire action, the more important visual and user experience becomes.

The goal of creative media development is original, locally relevant assets designed for a specific purpose – engagement or lead generation, for example. 

This type of localization isn’t automated. It requires heavy design skill from in-country experts, maintaining brand and messaging goals while creating a visual experience designed for each market.

For example, the colour orange may bring to mind love and happiness in Eastern countries, but it represents mourning in Egypt. And Western cultures could make the connection between orange and autumn. 

Your model imagery may be appropriate in your home market, but could it be inappropriate in other cultures? It’s important to consider the nuances and connotations of the colours and images your content may portray.

Here’s how to do it:

Creative media development processTake a look at a specific example of media localization based on a creative development process:

The goal of this public health creative for the United Nations was visual engagement via social media. There’s a consistent look and feel to the designs, but they’re not obviously “engineered”.

The concept and messaging are defined but adapted for each market to increase engagement around a central theme. This creative resulted in multiple language versions with heavy locale-specific visual adaptation.

Read more about this work here


How you approach creative media localization depends on your global marketing goals. Do you want to produce as much multilingual content as possible? Or create an authentic brand experience that maximizes local relevance? 

The more competitive the market you’re operating in, the more important it is to think beyond pure efficiency of localized content delivery. The key is to match the level of effort with the nature and purpose of your content. 

Whichever approach makes the most sense for your goals – or a hybrid of the two – remember that content quality is about the target audience’s experience of your content and your brand. 

Don’t overlook the importance of the visual and user experience in creative media localization. They can be the difference between engagement and indifference – or disaster.

Wondering where to start? Get in touch to talk through your international media needs, or take a look at our services now. 

ABOUT Zoe Willis

As a Creative Content Specialist, I make sure your copy is engaging, targeted and insightful. From snappy social media captions to blogs and brand personas, I believe the right blend of words and cultural relevance is key. Getting it right will help you achieve international marketing success.

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