A few years ago, the businesses were all about standardisation of business practices. There are many examples, like Wal-Mart, Mc Donald’s, Spencer’s etc. to name a few. This strategy had even worked well for them as the ruthless standardisation enabled them to optimise their business processes, align more efficiently with their suppliers as well and optimise their strategies, since it was a single minded strategy that they had to follow throughout. However, according to an article published in the Harvard Business review, even though this approach has been highly successful as these organisations have been immensely successful, it is now being replaced by localisation strategies.
With the increasing diversity because of globalisation, the customer preference towards the customised localisation services and value offerings has also increased, making localisation the way forwards for the businesses today. Some useful points to keep in mind for businesses seeking global growth through localisation are presented below:
Language is the Key
As a company which is seeking international expansion it is of utmost importance that it is able to speak the same language as its customers, in order to evoke the same emotions and carry the same implications in the target language as it does in the source language. It is noteworthy here that there is a huge difference between translation and knowing the language. For localisation to be effective, it is important that the business entity makes an effort to understand the local language and not just rely on common translation. This aspect is particularly relevant for websites, which should adapt their content according to the country for maximum impact.
Importance of User Generated Localised Content
User generated content has become quite significant from a marketing and branding perspective today. According to a branding study conducted, the user generated content today has become an equivalent of the word of mouth. Blog comments, social media activity of the customers and their interactions on the different online forums play a huge role in influencing your target customers. Therefore, it is also important that a local version of these user generated contents is also available so that a social circle of adequate size can be created specifically for the region.
Localisation is a complex task as it involves coordinating the business activities across the value chains which are spread globally. Therefore, it is crucial that proper planning and effective management is performed to ensure optimal operation 4. This might also entail adapting the overall product development process according to the regional difference in customers’ preferences. For example, the company can launch different versions of a standard product in multiple countries.
Understanding the Variety and Traditions
For localisation strategy to be effective, it is fundamental that the company is able to understand the values, cultural background and the traditions of its target customer. This will provide a strong perspective into how they perceive things and will thus, enable the firm to create its marketing, branding and even the product offering in accordance with the customers’ preferences.