For a brand to succeed internationally, it needs to be localized for each market while avoiding brand fragmentation. To achieve this, it’s important to find your voice, define your terms, ensure brand consistency, and work with in-country resources as protective of your brand as you are.
1. DEFINE YOUR BRAND VOICE
Your brand voice should be consistent across all your markets, but your tone will change depending on the international audience you’re speaking to. It’s essential, therefore, that you create a clear tone of voice (ToV) guide for each target market that is informed by local market research, stays close to the core brand and is approved by in-country stakeholders.
Accuracy around what to say, how to say it and what to avoid is important, but you also want your content to be in a tone that is on brand, culturally appropriate and suitably engaging.
WHY CREATE MARKET-SPECIFIC TOV GUIDES?
To ensure brand consistency across formats and channels, it’s important to get your tone of voice down in writing, especially when the content will be localized into multiple languages and for varying target cultures. Leveraging international, market-specific ToV guides will help you deliver a consistent, engaging brand experience, no matter who you’re marketing to.
2. DEFINE YOUR BRAND TERMS
Whenever you’re translating or adapting US domestic content for international audiences, it’s best practice to create and maintain a glossary in each language, or at the very least for your priority markets.
WHY INVEST IN A MULTILINGUAL GLOSSARY?
Domestically, you’ve defined specific terms relevant to your company, brand, products, services or industry that convey your unique positioning – and the same needs to happen for each of your target markets to ensure a consistent and authentic content experience internationally.
Defining key terminology up front – and carefully maintaining your glossaries as you add more languages/products and expand your reach across platforms/formats – will save you time and budget by ensuring that key terms are used correctly and consistently as you ramp up global content production.
3. ENSURE BRAND CONSISTENCY
If you’re regularly updating and refreshing large volumes of content across multiple languages, a translation memory (TM) is an effective way to ensure consistency and save time and budget.
WHY USE A TM?
Translation memories are standard best practice in the translation and localization industry, the benefits of which are most often touted in the context of content leverage for reduced time-to-market and cost savings. By leveraging previously approved translations across formats and content updates, TMs are powerful and necessary tools for localization efficiency.
They are also, however, critically important for brand consistency and can be used for all kinds of content, from simple to highly creative, with the help of experienced content strategists. Applied in the right way for marketing material, and with segmentation rules adapted based on the nature of the content, translation memories can ensure consistency of tone and style, as well as accuracy across a variety of branded content types and formats.
PROTECTING YOUR BRAND IDENTITY
While ToV guides, glossaries and TMs help to anchor brand identity, you also need the right people on your team aligned with your brand and content goals. In-country copywriters and linguists who understand your brand personality, capturing and communicating it effectively and authentically based on your target market, can make the difference between an international presence and international success.
Combined with effective TM and glossary strategy, quarterly content audits can also help to make sure copy is consistently on-brand, authentic and engaging in each of your international markets.
Achieving consistent brand communication across all content types and languages isn’t impossible, but it does require strategic thought and proactive management. By making the investment in global brand assets up front, you can take your brand international without leaving your in-country brand identity to chance and maximize your in-market success.