3 Ways to Evaluate Your Localization Strategy

Resolutions in Translation Series

Resolution #7 (July) — Evaluate Your Strategy

3 Ways to Evaluate Your Localization Strategy

Periodically evaluating and revising your methodology is key to being a successful international business. Most departments within an organization are constantly being scrutinized and adapted to better meet the company’s needs and objectives; for example, a company’s sales force, marketing, and advertising methods are constantly revised in order to fit current  market and competitive landscape. Unfortunately, localization methodologies are all too often overlooked as company’s become complacent from simply knowing that they have localized their content and products. This checklist mentality as opposed to a more agile approach can become harmful for the company as the bar for  localization standards and expectations of consumers continue to rise. By establishing a few company standards for localization process review and revision a company can avoid the negative effects stemming from stagnation in the localization process.

#1 - Get Feedback from Your Target Markets

A great way to assess your success in any given market is by obtaining organic feedback from the locals. Whether through surveys, free trials/products in return for reviews, or even hiring locals for various company teams there are many ways to access the knowledge that they have and you need. This feedback often provides valuable insight into the tastes and needs of a given market. A classic example of this comes from the company RJMetrics. In 2013 they decided to rebrand, which included the creation of a new logo (a dodecahedron), however; they were soon flooded with tweets mentioning the similarity of their new logo to underpants. The company sought to understand the unexpected response and ran some analysis to figure it out. They soon located the source of that reaction and found out it came from users in the UK where “Y-Fronts” were a more infamous pair of underwear. They had not had any British users or employees involved in their testing of the new logo and therefore completely missed this phenomenon. It was an easy fix and they simply exaggerated the geographical form in their next logo to reduce the similarity between underpants. It is a humorous example but a serious lesson for other international companies, feedback from natives in every locale is a necessary step in localization that can potentially save millions of dollars from innocent, but costly, oversights.

#2 - Send Employees to Localization Conferences

Conferences are a relatively cheap way to gain access to some of the most up-to-date localization standards and processes. Sending employees to conferences will provide valuable insights about  the industry standards for localization. Expert’s will lecture and present on their greatest findings in the last year, providing examples of mistakes to avoid and key actions to take in your company. These lectures will cue you in on the steps that should be present in your company’s localization process. By comparing your current strategy to these industry standards you can evaluate which steps need to be revised or revamped to improve your localization ROI, this will improve the efficiency and reach of your efforts.

#3 -  Benchmark off of Your Competitors

Raw data regarding how much money your competitors invest in localization or their particular strategy for localization can be difficult to acquire, however; there are other ways to benchmark off of them. Much of a company’s localization strategy is evident through the way they present, adapt, and sell their product. By looking at your competitors websites and mobile apps, advertising campaigns, and locale specific products you can learn what they are doing to be successful in various locales. These practices can serve as a benchmark for your company to ensure that you are keeping pace with the competition in every market. A slight change in their methodology can set them on course to surpass you, and if not observed early enough by one of your teams, these slight changes on their part can result in costly losses on your end. By establishing a competitor review aspect in your localization strategy you can ensure that your company is always in a good competitive position and reduce the risk of being blindsided by your greatest competitors.

Overall, establishing a company localization strategy is important but on-going revisions to that plan are crucial to its success. By implementing these three simple steps into your localization strategy you can ensure that your plan is always on par with the standards set by the industry, your competitors, and perhaps most importantly, your customers.