Localize to Create Lovable Customer Experiences
By Jonas Ryberg and Mike Edmonds
Every time your customers engage with your company – talking to customer support, reading documentation, looking at an advertisement, or using your product – their experience defines how they view your brand. As analyst Brian Solis once wrote, experience is the new brand.
But creating a lovable experience is not easy, especially for companies that operate in multiple geographic markets. Ensuring that people in both Sao Paulo and San Francisco will connect with a brand is a compelling and challenging issue. Part of the answer involves creating content that resonates with a culture locally. And we’ve all seen examples of businesses trying to localize content for different countries and then embarrassing themselves either because they overlooked a cultural nuance, failed to translate their content properly, or both.
When done right, though, localizing your customer experience can deliver powerful results for a business around the world.
How to Localize the Customer Experience
As a product manager, content strategist or marketing manager, you can have critical impact on how your company is viewed and as a result, the success of your company in international markets. It’s important to consider the nuances of each audience to bring about a positive experience. For example:
- Localize beyond the obvious content. You might have had a burger at “Hungry Jack’s” for lunch or ‘Rice Bubbles’ for breakfast without knowing it.
- Consider how different groups of people function and think. Consider, for example, how different cultures perceive colors. In China, red is considered to be an attractive color because it symbolizes good luck.
- Consider what you can do beyond the basics. For example, look at how Microsoft is using AI to localize content into less-spoken languages to support diversity, leading to goodwill and more brand equity – in one specific example, preserving Maori language through Microsoft translator.
Essentially, localization and globalization is about creating lovable experiences to make sure you protect and evolve your brand at global scale.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of deep study on localizing content, including books, white papers, and conferences. We’re not going to cover everything you need to know. There is no shortage of blog content freely available. But one topic that often gets overlooked is how to make sure your approach is rooted in customer insight. Many businesses overlook the how part of doing your homework with customers. Because the tools are evolving rapidly. Tools exist now to get better customer input directly as product developers ideate prototypes for lovable experiences.
One incredibly insightful tool is the design sprint. Popularized by Google Ventures, the design sprint is a test-and-learn process by which team members from various disciplines co-create solutions for a critical problem and validate its effectiveness with real users. With the insights gained from testing, the team is then able to apply the validated discoveries to smartly enhance the solution. This allows for an intuitive user/product fit that delivers a more valuable user experience.
The design sprint, when performed effectively, can help a business uncover opportunities and hidden challenges quickly and effectively. This enables an organization to create a localized product for a specific market segment which ultimately builds towards a meaningful and lovable experience.
For example, perhaps a product you’re rolling out to another country employs a color or feature that seems totally harmless to you but is offensive to that market. Sharing a prototype with a real customer who is the intended user of the product will uncover that problem.
We use design sprints all the time to help businesses rapidly prototype products and services. We know first-hand of their power to help businesses test and improve product launches in a way that minimizes cost and risk.
Getting to Lovable
As you dive into the myriad tips and approaches for localizing lovable experiences, take into account the tools that have evolved to help you. With design sprints, you can uncover the wants and needs of your customer base. AI-infused language services tools can help you to more accurately and efficiently help you tailor content for local languages. Consider them to be a right-brain/left-brain approach to localizing lovable experiences. When you do so, you set up your brand for creating close, enduring connections with people at an emotional level. By showing that you’ve done your homework and can literally speak their language, you will earn a precious but valuable currency: trust.
If you would like to learn more on how localization and design sprints can create lovable experiences for your brand, feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you.