When you attempt to sell a product overseas, you want it to resonate with new intended audiences. Localization is the answer to cause that effect. Today, brands across countries not merely translate their content but also adapt it specifically to the likes and tastes of a region. If you want to take a look at how they accomplish it, here are 5 product localization examples from big brands that have built an amazing connection with their global audience.
Back in 2013 and 2014, you might ring the bell of Coca Cola’s famous campaign “Share a Coke”. Rather than include its logo on product bottles like used to, they typed the words “Share a coke with John”. But it’s wasn’t only for Johns, it was also for Jacks, Sarahs, Bobbys, basically for anyone who has a common English name. More importantly, the cokes were not only available in English, but they also had Russian, Ireland, Vietnam, and many other versions. For example, in Ireland, Coca Cola added Irish names such as Aoife, Oisín on the bottle, or in Vietnam, they localized their content by printing popular names like Linh and Hùng to identify with the locals.
The most impressive localization effort in this campaign should belong to China. In this Asian country, it’s not respectful to call a person with their first name. Commonly, you would address a Chinese person by his/her surname followed by honorific titles. So, how Coca Cola will handle it while their campaign was all about using the first name to make the direct and personal connection? Instead of people names, they apply terms such as “close friend”, “classmate” to continue their campaign. This was a wonderful localization approach to eliminate the cultural boundaries while still can remain the authenticity of their marketing campaign.
Being one of the most popular content publishing companies, Netflix’s main challenges are to offer culturally and linguistically relevant materials across target markets based on customers’ tastes and preferences. Nobody will watch a movie published in a language they do not understand, hence, the brand ensure that the subtitles are provided based on the need of their target demographics. Their localization efforts are also proved by the significant investment in the production of original Netflix series, films, and movies across markets, not only just the States. For example, they have Money Heist Series in Spain, Crush Landing on You in Korea, which are both well-received by the local and global audience.
Samsung did not identify itself in the French Market until 2010, but when the penetration started, they highlight it with an ingenious strategy. Understand the fact that French people are fond of artistic integrity, the Korean company arranged an art exhibition in Petit Palais in Paris. But this was not a regular art show since Samsung display works of art in high definition on the new TV sets. 600,000 visitors were there for the exhibition in the first month, making Samsung feel at home in France.
Among most superb product localization examples, we certainly can’t miss out on the giant: Apple. In America and Western Countries, Apple has positioned itself as fashionable, expensive, and extremely desirable. If you’re an Apple fan, you may have heard about the “I’m a Mac I’m a PC” campaigns that directly differentiated Apple’s Mac as a simplistic but stylish product with much more benefits rather than other normal computers. The ads not primarily mentioned the name of Windows or any other Apple’s competitors, however, all the negative signals and descriptions indicated products that we all know. This was considered to be an interesting campaign and received positive responses from the audiences. Nevertheless, its success in the Western world doesn’t guarantee that the East regions would appreciate them as much.
For instance, Japanese culture avoids the act of criticizing other people, especially one’s competitors, and if the “I’m a Mac I’m a PC” continues in this market, it would make the image of Apple in Japanese tacky and unpleasant. To prevent this scenario, Apple recruited two comedians who had shown up in a thriving local film named Rahmens. The ad demonstrated Pcs as a suitable match for formal settings while implying that Macs was meant for people who want to have fun. With a careful and interesting approach, the target audience responded to this ad positively. This result would never happen if Apple’s marketing team just simply using their translated Western campaign for the Japanese market.
As a hospitality and tourism industry, Airbnb radically focuses on localization strategy to enhance global user experience on their app while still can associate a sense of freedom, reliability, and security. One of the most remarkable efforts is they currently display user profiles in the local language and has inserted a translate button that allows other visitors to choose their preferred language. This update also applied to the review section on App. Now all users from around the world can read the feedbacks in different languages before booking thanks to the automated translation.
A one-size-fits-all strategy isn’t enough to get the attention of today’s modern consumers regardless of their location. That’s why more brands with the eye of expansion are changing their campaigns to their new market, which is demonstrated by the product localization examples above.