This quote from legendary German chancellor Billy Brandt says it all: “If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen.”
Recent figures from Global Reach International Online Marketing support Brandt’s prophetic pronouncement:
– 517 million non-English speaking people use the Internet today and two-thirds of all Internet users live in Asia and Europe.
– Two-thirds of the world’s e-commerce spending originates outside the United States.
– 70% of the world’s purchasing power and 92 percent of the world’s population live in countries where English is not the native language.
– 75% of the online population worldwide access the Internet in a language other than English.
Now more than ever, it is vitally important to respond to the needs and demands of diverse demographics and markets. Gone are the days when a one-size-fits-all approach could be relied on to help you break into new markets; it could even end up losing you business. These days, if a piece of advertising isn’t in your language, you ignore it, because there will almost certainly be a similar product which is marketed directly to you.
Yes, it is fundamental that a company or product have a strong, coherent global image. But the best way to develop and sustain a ‘total’ identity is by making a place for it in local markets. And this adaptation is about much more than simply putting your marketing collateral through Google translate.
In upcoming blog entries, we will look at what you must ask from your language service provider when it comes to localising marketing collateral, in order to be able to take advantage of modern technology and break into new sectors.