A Specialist Branding and Communications Consultancy

Is your brand being effectively translated overseas?

Many companies big and small venture out to foreign markets expecting to increase their sales and profits. A good number of them succeed in the long run, but not without adjusting their brand communication and sometimes even their products to the local flavour.

For example, for decades FMCG companies have adjusted the sugar content of their beverages and the perfume content of their beauty products to cater to differing local Asian, African and South American tastes. And of course they have carefully translated their brand claims as well as producing ads with local talent. But it shouldn’t stop there.

Brand communication needs to address the needs, expectations and desires prevalent in the local culture, translated in expressions and imagery that is culturally relevant. The use of incorrect names, colours, gestures and symbols can make or break your product in a foreign market.

Some years ago a multinational launched a “natural” shampoo brand in Asia with a hip, surrealist ad produced by a respected ad agency in London. The natural character of the shampoo was symbolised by women dancing as strands of hair sprouting from an earth-coloured scalp. In some Asian cultures a woman from the earth is an expression used for a prostitute, so the product was unfortunately lost to every self-respecting woman in majority of countries.

If you are seeking to enter non-Western markets then gaining cross-cultural market assessment in each market, and if required effective cultural realignment of product and promotion, should be basic business strategy.

TPM Branding can offer you expert guidance though this cross-cultural maze of foreign markets.

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