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Why localising your video content matters and how to get it right.

Guides & Inspiration • Written by Charlotte Grysolle - Client Director, Asia

Modern marketers have their work cut out for them. Video has become a critical element in the marketing plan, with insatiable demand for fresh quality content across multiple channels, platforms and formats. There’s constant pressure to think of new ways to scale and optimise the video production process.

At the same time, personalisation is key. In looking for solutions to scale content, marketers also need to consider how campaigns can be adapted so that audiences feel like the brand is addressing them directly. This requires understanding a target market’s  language, cultural norms and traditions. Creating content that feels relevant to the consumer is vital if you want to achieve high levels of engagement and effectiveness. One size does not fit all.

So how do you create personalised content on a global scale while ensuring brand consistency?

A vital yet often overlooked part of the process is putting together a robust localisation strategy. Localisation is the process of adapting a product or piece of content to a specific locale or market. This can make or break a brand’s marketing efforts abroad. Localised content does not just look better to international audiences – companies actually see clear ROI in sales and lead generation from their localisation efforts, directly impacting their bottom line. 

There are two big misconceptions we see with our clients when it comes to localisation:

  • It’s purely a translation exercise
  • It can wait until the end of the production process

To do localisation right, it needs to be considered from the start when planning a new campaign, before any production occurs. Many global marketing campaigns ignore the localisation process and treat it as an afterthought. This is where inefficiencies creep in, leading brands to lose time, money and resources.

To help, we’ve put together a summary of the key elements to consider when creating a localisation strategy.

Talent

When running content in multiple markets, it is important to consider the diversity of your talent – the people appearing in your content. They need to look and feel relatable to the audiences in each of your markets.

An efficient strategy is to appoint one team to oversee a multi-market shoot once you’ve determined which markets you will be communicating to. 

This is what we did for Johnnie Walker. They came to Genero to develop bespoke creative which would be locally relevant in the US, Europe, South Africa, Thailand and Brazil. With the need for this content to resonate across such a diverse group of markets, we appointed an Executive Director from SHERPA Projects who defined the overall look and feel of the campaign and oversaw the full production.

After defining the look and feel, the SHERPA team shot the US, European and South African footage from one location in Australia with a different cast of talent  for each region. They simultaneously coordinated additional shoots with Genero creators in Thailand and Brazil to provide authentic content for those markets, then edited the footage to produce the full suite of assets.

If you’re communicating to multiple markets, it is worth considering shooting the same content with a different cast for each region or market. By consolidating the shoot with the same production team, you ensure consistency throughout the content while achieving significant cost savings in locations, equipment and crew. Reshooting a campaign with different talent at a later stage will add a lot of cost.

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Brazil

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Thailand

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US, Europe and South Africa

Cultural nuances

Imagery can be highly culturally sensitive and needs to be carefully considered for each target market. What works well in Germany as a perfectly acceptable picture of a family enjoying themselves on the beach may be offensive in other parts of the world. If you get it wrong, at the very least your ad will miss the mark. At the extreme end and for some brands, it’s caused a sharp decline in stock prices.

When creating local content, it’s important to think about the different elements in your content from wardrobe, props, locations and actions. Take into account local customs and references to cultural holidays. Even details that would be easily overlooked, like measurements for weight, temperature and distance, need to be considered.

This is where local expertise is invaluable. 

When Fitbit was looking to create a TVC to launch their new Versa 2 Smartwatch for Japan, they came to Genero to find a professional creative team with a deep understanding of the market. They needed to reimagine an existing US campaign for Japan, taking into account local culture and nuance while clearly communicating the benefits of the product.

Genero creator Strategy SET took every detail of the campaign into account to create the localised edit, considering casting, locations, music, sound, tone, pace and, of course, the script. Several scenes were completely reimagined for the Japanese audience, such as switching the spin cycle scene to Crossfit, a more popular workout in Japan, to featuring a different breed of dog which is more popular in the Japanese target cities.

Language

We’ve all seen our fair share of brand translation fails, which is why it’s crucial to work with native speakers or localisation specialists when localising your content. Research has shown that even among people with high proficiency in English, 65% prefer content to be in their native language. Nearly 76% of Internet users prefer to consume product information in their native language*.

Literal translations must be avoided at all costs, as they can cause misunderstandings and lead to considerable loss of meaning. Content should be transcreated instead, taking tone, style and broader context and culture into account. Pay special attention to the use of jokes, jargon and turns of phrase as these can differ from market to market and can easily miss the mark.

When working on a new global campaign, as much as possible, try to consider the different languages you will eventually need the content in. Brands often run into issues when translating an English script to another language after production. Some languages are significantly longer than others and don’t necessarily work in the same video. 

Another consideration to keep in mind when creating the script is whether you will have talent speaking to the camera or whether you’ll use an Announcer VoiceOver. These are again important questions to ask during the creative development process. Talent speaking to the camera will require dubbing, while an Announcer VoiceOver will simply require re-recording, making it easier and cheaper to localise for other markets.

Having a high volume of language versions can quickly become very time and cost-intensive for a brand. By leveraging a technology platform like Genero, it’s possible to scale content output without scaling costs. When working with Uber, we delivered over 150 assets in 6 different languages. The entire project took just 5 weeks, from the first brief through to final delivery.

Branding and packshots

This is one of the most overlooked aspects of localisation: your branding and packshots.

It might take extra effort and energy in the planning phase, but a brand team must think through how and where the content will be used in the future. What does the packaging look like in the different markets where this will be used? Is there a difference in sizes and shapes? Will there be changes made to the packaging or label soon?

Keeping this in mind will allow the creative team to think of ways to capture the content that allows for easier localisation, which will save time and money. This can be where the product is placed (static on a table or moving in a talent’s hand), how the talent holds the product, how the product is lit, etc. These are all considerations that determine the complexity of the localisation process further down the line. 

By discussing this upfront, a production team will also make sure to shoot background plates. These are shots of the background and scenery without any product or talent in the frame. This allows for easy background replacement and photoshopping of the product.

Leverage technology and digital platforms to optimise the process.

A digital platform like Genero allows brands to collaborate with vetted and reliable partners with deep knowledge and understanding of the local cultures. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you create authentic, localised content, click here to arrange a quick introductory meeting.

*CSA Research, 2020


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