Biggest global marketing challenges from McCain, SAP, Shiseido, KLM, and others

21 09 2013

I’ve just returned from a very inspiring 2-day conference in London: the Brand2Global. Marketing and globalization managers from 50 large and medium-sized corporations gathered to discuss issues and challenges for successful globalization and I’d like to share the key points that arose.

Generally, the focus was: what are the main problems these companies face and how do they cope with them?

The biggest issue currently is the growing amount of data that has to be made available in multiple languages, be it marketing materials, website or social media content, or collaterals. From both the financial and the logistical aspects, keeping up with that is an immense challenge. Is it best to centralize or decentralize? How can we maintain order in all those thousands of documents and find a good way of transferring them to the local branches? How flexible shall the global campaign be and how much change or adaptation can be done by the individual countries? It is not always easy to find answers to these questions, but during the discussions a lot of different ideas were presented about how different corporations are dealing with the issues, and that definitely both helped and inspired, even if there are no clear answers.

As for the localization side of the discussion this is my daily cup of tea. Which languages are important and which are “less” so? Should you have all content in all languages? What if your budget is limited and you must make a selection? How do you measure what information is relevant and what is not? What to do with user content of social media: have it mixed for all languages, translated or not? What about machine translation? How to manage the speed in order to have social media or other campaigns in multiple languages in parallel?

They were all very interesting topics that we discussed – and if you face any of these challenges and want to hear ideas for dealing with them, do not hesitate to get in touch with me and I can spill the beans a bit about the conference talk.

I will write more in the coming weeks on single issues from those mentioned above.

Please comment: What is your biggest challenge in globalizing your materials?

 An Stuyven

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