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Localization: What it Means for Your Business

At ARTÉMIA, we’ve been devising localization strategies for clients for many years – both with US companies looking to launch overseas and companies seeking a foothold in the US. With a global network of on-the-ground experts in place, our expertise often extends beyond marketing and communications and we act as strategic partners. This approach can help streamline the expansion process, providing companies with full transparency as well as the bandwidth to remain focused on the core business. Here are some considerations for building a localization strategy:

Market analysis

Just because a concept works brilliantly in one place does not mean it will automatically be embraced elsewhere. Conducting market analysis in a localization project goes far beyond understanding the competitive landscape, it means digging into the cultural landscape. This is a crucial step in establishing your brand messaging by territory. Does your product / service / offering bring something new to this market? Does it meet a need you hadn’t previously considered? What are the government regulations to consider? For example, if you operate in mHealth, what are the implications for breaking into a market covered by a national health service? Local, on-the-ground expertise can be invaluable here.

Project management in a global environment

Cross-cultural teams provide a valuable source of experience and innovative thinking and thus enhance the competitive position of global companies and organizations. However, cultural differences if not addressed can interfere with the successful completion of projects in today’s multicultural global business community. From the strategic communications standpoint, it’s important to understand the dynamics of international project management.

When developing strategies for successful implementation of projects that span across cultures some important factors to consider are political and currency instability, competition, undue pressure from national government and, potentially, strong nationalism – all of which can interfere with project management planning.

While at the corporate level, companies are typically conducting SWOT analysis, defining global business objectives and developing specific strategies within the entire organization, project managers are tasked with developing a thorough understanding of the environmental factors that could potentially impact their specific project. These include: financial stability and geo-political facts of the host country, culture and behavioral codes, local laws (including labor law) and regulations.

Cases in point are Francophone African countries, where the local labor law allows employees to take three days leave of absence when a close relative dies. With large families this can cause serious disruption to staff availability.

Understand the employer / employee dynamic

If you are setting up an office overseas, it’s important to get a handle on the corporate culture of that country to get the best out of employees. What may be the norm in the US might be totally alien, or even unwelcome, elsewhere. Of course, that doesn’t exclude anyone from bringing the most positive aspects of one culture to another. Getting this piece wrong can make a brand look amateurish, at worst it can deeply offend and destroy any hope of building brand value and trust.

If you’d like to hear more about how we can help with your business’s localization strategies, please get in touch.

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