Content — that catch-all phrase for all manner of video, written and audio assets — became more important than ever in 2020. In order to continue to acquire and retain their customers around the world, companies had to rely on digital platforms, tech and localization.
The pandemic served to highlight the fact that companies have to see content localization as a key driver of growth. It’s this topic that a research paper by automated dubbing platform Papercup delves into: the challenges and opportunities presented by content localization and how different companies approach it to achieve their goals.
Papercup surveyed 239 media owners and content creators across the US spanning B2C companies/brands (21.8%), B2B companies (21.8%), individual or content creation teams (20.9%), media companies (18.8%), education providers (14.2%) and others (2.5%) to find out how and why they localize.
The data show that for almost half of all businesses surveyed, increasing reach was the main goal, however over half said that expanding into new territories and increasing the ROI of content were their greatest challenges. Among these companies, 62% are already localizing English language video content for other markets.
The principle takeaway
Companies understand the importance of localization in reaching key business goals and so the majority have integrated localization processes into their workflows. And yet, somewhere in between objective setting, implementing the localization process and achieving their targets, barriers are arising that mean expanding into new territories remains one of the biggest challenges across the board.
Papercup interviewed food tech delivery company Deliveroo; Sky, a subsidiary of Comcast; Snow Peak, an outdoor apparel and gear brand; creative agency Exposure; and digital content agency TAMLO to find out how they overcome these challenges to unlock the gains of successful global expansion.
Here are the highlights:
Deliveroo – Localization has to be a forethought not an afterthought
On the delivery rider acquisition side, Deliveroo highlights the importance of knowing your audience rather than relying on assumptions. When trying to acquire riders in the UK market, Deliveroo communication is generally in English, however company research revealed that English wasn’t the primary language of the majority of potential riders in this market. Knowing this allowed the company to start thinking about tailoring its communication strategy accordingly.
About this, Elena Bersadschi, former global marketing strategy manager for Deliveroo said: “Rather than communicating to potential riders in English through the big social platforms that will allow us to reach as many people as possible, we looked into running ads on specific platforms that we know our audience sees and engages with, in their native languages. This language insight could suddenly become a cornerstone of our strategy — it shifts our objective from reach to the quality of leads and positions localization as a key tactic.”
Sky – Global company, multifaceted localization operations
For a global company like Sky, its approach to localization can’t be homogeneous. The required multifaceted strategy means defining what successful customer engagement looks like for certain channels and content types and adapting the localization method accordingly.
While Sky dubs its documentary content into German using its in-house localization team to meet the specific expectations of that market, Sky News recently expanded the reach of its UK news content by auto-dubbing into Spanish. For this type of content, auto-dubbing with human quality assurance enabled the news broadcaster to hit its objective (of increasing reach) while maintaining a level of quality suited to the medium and keeping costs down. The result of choosing the right localization type for the medium speaks for itself — the new Spanish news YouTube channel amassed 26 million views and 113,000 subscribers in the first 12 months.
Compartmentalizing localization in this way — dictated by goals, resources and audience expectations — applies to businesses of all sizes and sectors to ensure future scalability. Read more about the building blocks of a watertight localization strategy here.
Snow Peak — Localize for brand credibility as well as growth
Localization is essential to Snow Peak’s growth strategy in that the company relies on the accurate and fast localization of product, design innovation and inspiration information from the original Japanese into English, so it can win wholesale accounts and make sales. In this sense, reach is the goal, but it is tactical rather than the sweeping reach which is often the aim when building audiences on the consumer side of business.
However, as well as being a growth driver, Snow Peak relies heavily on localization as a way of retaining existing customers by upholding a key brand pillar — the promise to design its products based on what customers tell the brand they need.
Emily Dillon, Snow Peak European wholesale manager said: “To deliver on this promise and elevate our brand across the globe, we have to be able to feed information from all markets back to our design teams in Japan, so that they can adapt products for specific markets accordingly.”
Localization is essential, then, for acquisition as well as customer retention. And while growth via global expansion remains a focus for many companies, it’s important to look beyond the obvious ways in which localization can support growth and implement processes to ensure these are scalable from the beginning.
Each of these insights highlight the ever-growing importance of machine translation solutions.
For Sky – customer expectation (for the type of voice used) for documentary content in Germany dictates the localization method that can be used. However, to increase the reach of informative video content from its UK newsrooms, machine translation is not only cost-effective, it adds a level of engagement that subtitles lack, allowing the company to push through the reach cap of its saturated home market.
For Snow Peak, machine translation would simply allow the company to have a faster flow of information through the company — essential for winning wholesale accounts and making sales, but also delivering on its brand mission.
Deliveroo has valuable insight into its audience on the rider-side: even in single markets like the UK, there isn’t one dominant language into which it automatically makes sense to deploy content, however personalizing content at language level — something that the company knows will cut through — through traditional methods would be expensive. But not if the process can be automated.
New technologies are changing the way companies localize, but to get the best results and help your company grow, it’s important to be strategic and apply them to the parts of the business where they can make a real impact. Often that means looking beyond the obvious, as these companies do.
If you want to discuss the ways Papercup can help your company grow, we’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org