The results are in — and they’re not surprising. Well, actually one is. A mere 35% of respondents indicated that their companies have a formal brand management team. The result to our second question, “Does the team include a localization or translation subject matter expert?” was a resounding 100% “No.” This, unfortunately, is the “not surprising” part. Although our N was smaller than we’d like, we expect that the trend would have continued on the same course.
The fact is, most companies have work to do to ensure that corporate brand flows through multi-geographical market segments in a way that’s both consistent and relevant to customers and prospects in specific cultures and locales. It’s not easy. According to Economist Intelligence Unit, authors of Guarding the Brand, almost half of their respondents believed expanding into new territories made brand management all the more difficult. The top two challenges? 63 percent cited cultural differences and 44 percent cited language barriers and translations issues.
It’s sometimes “easier” to avoid dealing with the presence of some 4000+ languages worldwide, but it’s not so easy to ignore when one investigates the facts in smaller “chunks” so to speak. Consider this list of “The 50 Most Widely Spoken Languages” as a more easily digestible example.
If your company aims to expand footprint and revenue generation in this “flat world,” globalization needs to be a part of the brand management discussion. And if you are responsible for leading the charge into a new geographic region — you need to have a voice that’s heard.