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The Top 3 Things to Translate When Moving into a New Market

2017-02-03 00:00

If you’ve decided to take yourbusiness into a new market, you’re in a “let’s do this” mode.You just have to effectively, accurately and strategically communicate your brand to a specific local market that may notunderstand your name, or what your product does, or even why theyneed to buy it. (Now exhale.)

New markets are more than just newlanguages. They often involve new cultures that can be drastically different from  yours. So you don’t just need someone to translateyour marketing materials word-for-word. (You know that’s not what we’re about.) You need to completely localize your content and, ifit’s appropriate, transcreate your entire brand message.

Don’t despair. You can still dothis, you just need to be strategic in your brand translation. Think about your potential customers in this new market and how you canearn their trust. Sure, every new market is different, and whatyou’re selling alters certain aspects of the marketing strategy,but regardless of whether you’re a logistics company offeringovernight delivery or selling toothpaste, you have to createexceptional communications. Marketing and advertising efforts thathave been localized using thoughtful translation and transcreationare effective tactics that can help the new kid in the new market fitright it.


Start with the hardest part first:your branding and advertising. When you get this step right, it creates a clear framework for all the top-level marketing steps you’ve got to work through.

Moving into a new market doesn’t meanyou just need a word-for word translation of your product name and advertising slogan. You know that’s a bad idea, right?

We're really talking about thetranscreation of your brand. And brand transcreation involves more than just worrying about the words you use. Many people areunaware that UPS changed their delivery trucks in Spain to a colorother thantheir branded brown (because the trucks too closely resembled local hearses).

This type of understanding and insight into a market could have saved some of the most successful American companies from making serious missteps when introducing their products to new market. Your marketing messaging should resonate in every language and communicate your brand consistently. And accurately. Your brand is so much more than translation – it’s a concept that connects with consumers.


You’ve read (and yes, probablylaughed about) the mistakes companies have made in bringing a productto a market that just doesn’t translate the way it should.

Knowing what pitfalls to avoid and how important a translation partnership can be to your brand can makeall the difference in bringing your advertising to a new audiencewith a different cultural experience. You have to go beyond simpletranslation to create a compelling message that translates not justto the target language, but also to the culture of the market you areentering.

Pepsodent promoted its toothpastein a specific area in Southeast Asia by highlighting that the product “whitens your teeth.” The campaign was a bust because unbeknownstto Pepsodent, locals in the region chewed betel nuts to blacken their teeth to make themselves more attractive. A bright white smile wasactually the antithesis of what this market desired.

Huge mistake, but there’s an easyinsurance policy. Work with a layered team of highly qualifiedlinguists, local staffers, and expert project managers all dedicatedto making the most of your brand in a new language and culture. That way, you know your brand is in good hands—and in the right terms,the best color, and most appropriate idiom.


Now you’ve got the top threeitems on your advertising and marketing “to do” list. But doing these three things correctly isn’t just about avoiding disaster.It’s what can help you succeed and flourish in your new market.Done right, these steps can bring you a deep understanding of yournew market and result in your serving these new clients and customers successfully—and profitably.

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