What do the world’s biggest brands have in common? An intentional and tactical global standardization strategy.
A global standardization strategy refers to standardized marketing messaging and campaigns across markets, countries, and cultures. When done correctly, a global standardization strategy creates a consistent brand experience for each and every customer exactly as intended. And without one, multilingual customers experience a fragmented and inconsistent buyer journey.
That said, your global standardization strategy should be all about the customer. In order to effectively connect and engage with your target audience, you’ll need to communicate in their language. As localized customer experiences continue to become the cornerstone for global success, it’s extremely important to leverage best practices that not only ensure brand cohesiveness but also focus on the needs of potential buyers and audiences.
For most global teams, the biggest challenge is aligning the entire organization around the importance of language. With 95% of working professionals believing that language of choice is important throughout the customer journey, it’s clear that implementing a global standardization strategy should be a top priority across multiple teams.
As more teams realize that language is the driving piece to a global customer journey, localizing key digital touchpoints, products, and services will require high collaboration and clear ownership between growth, marketing, product, development, and customer experience teams.
So without further ado, here are five important tips to consider to help your organization build a powerful global standardization strategy.
When kicking off a global standardization plan, the first step is to identify which markets you want to break into. It may seem like an obvious starting point, but understanding what countries and regions to prioritize rely on strategic alignment with business objectives and priorities. Platforms that can point to where your audiences live (like measuring where website traffic is coming from through Google Analytics) are extremely helpful to look at trends in a specific industry over time and strategize where you might need to localize next.
Once you’ve identified your target markets, research is key. In some cases, one country or region may have multiple commonly-used languages to consider, so it’s important to dive into audience preferences as well. Take the time to research and understand cultural and linguistic nuances, buying behaviors, and consumer preferences to create a multilingual content strategy that resonates with each region.
Consider performing a deep dive into the region’s commonly used phrases, technology preferences, regulations, and more. How do local brands communicate here? What are the expectations for the visual style and product usability? Context is everything — and understanding cultural and regional differences is paramount to building a personalized customer experience. After all, global brands that take the extra effort to understand and personalize communication with new markets are the ones that truly shine.
A linguistic resource guide or glossary is essential to making sure that your messaging and brand are aligned across all global markets. Across blog posts, websites, product content, and more, maximized linguistic assets ensure your content is localization-friendly and help your translators to work efficiently and focus on the essentials.
Working with dedicated subject matter linguists, identifying SEO keywords, and building out brand style guides and term bases help ensure an accurate and cohesive global brand strategy. Documenting SEO strategies and best practices is another great way to assist linguists in creating content with impactful keywords, replicating past successes, and improving global search rankings.
Setting up your processes to consider localization early in the development phase builds a foundation for a more thoughtful and collaborative workflow. And since localization can oftentimes be a complex process involving many teams and requests, it’s extremely important to have all your content, products, and services go to market in a unified way.
When it comes to maximizing your global standardization strategy for higher efficiency and quality, working with cost-saving tools and efficient automation becomes increasingly important. Choose partners, platforms, or services that will help increase business velocity and remove friction.
As you scale into larger global experience projects and initiatives with multiple languages, product features such as content review, real-time customer-translator feedback loops, and automated quality checks can help streamline workflows and minimize errors in spelling, grammar, alignment, and more.
Another — and arguably more important — benefit to an automated workflow is time. Ideally, your processes and global management platforms will leverage AI and machine translation effectively, efficiently, and scalably. Automation helps eliminate any manual and repetitive steps you and your teams may be facing and allows your linguists to translate content faster and more accurately. Getting time back enables you to think more strategically about your business instead of worrying about the quality of your translations or broken workflows.
As you roll out your global standardization strategy, keep track of relevant key metrics. Depending on what your top priorities are and what teams are involved, your key metrics will likely vary.
As a general rule of thumb, marketing digital metrics, such as web traffic, social media engagement, and clicks, are great leading indicators for growth in new markets. If your team is more focused on standardizing your product content for global users, you may be more interested in session durations and checkout rates. If your team is focused on servicing your important clients, time to first response might be your top metric.
Success looks different for each team and business. Nailing down both directional and bottom-line metrics will make sure that you’re on the right path to achieving your global goals and priorities. Keeping track of your localization ROI and proving the value of your global experience campaign will also help you build a compelling case for future opportunities in global expansion. Trust us, your future self will thank you.
Last but not least, don’t shy away from testing! Experimenting with different localized content assets is a great tactic to see what’s working and what isn’t. And with robust data available within most global experience or localization platforms, optimization should be at the core of your global standardization strategy.
Measuring the above key success metrics can help you pinpoint specific content and/or messaging that is working well within each region. Perform a pulse check often and analyze what copy, visuals, messaging, and campaigns are resonating with your target personas. For example, if you were seeing little to no traffic from a specific region or country before localizing and are now seeing increases due to specific tests, it's a likely sign that your strategy is working. Once you’ve identified your top key elements, document your findings into your global standardization resource hub to share out best practices with other teams and linguists.
Repeat this process to optimize your global standardization strategy for each market. Evaluating your past wins and losses will help you build a more effective and confident strategy. The best results come from individual performance tests within each region to consider different cultural and linguistic nuances.
• • •
If you’d like to learn how to set up an exceptional global experience for your international prospects and customers, check out our newly released guide, "A Guide to Maximizing Localization ROI." It’s completely free of charge and will give you that push you need to move the needle without increasing your spend. Download the guide.
Or if you’d like to a Lilt specialist to get started on implementing a global standardization strategy for your organization, contact us.
Forbes Recognizes Lilt As One of the Top Artificial Intelligence Companies For Third Straight Year