3 reasons why brands fail when trying to reach new markets


Oct 24 2019

In his blog, “What I’ve learnt about market expansion,” Tag’s CEO APAC, Toby Codrington, discusses the complexity of breaking down barriers to reach new audiences and provides five key determinants to successful market expansion. “In new markets, it is imperative that you localize your message and offerings to appeal to your new customer base. Understanding local and cultural nuances is an important part of this process; understanding the preferences and emotional triggers of your customers in a specific market helps you decide what part of your global messaging works, and what needs to change to be relevant.”

Identifying these nuances and emotional touchpoints for a target audience and crafting content and messaging accordingly is what Tag’s international adaptation group, World Writers, calls “transcreation.” With the rapid expansion of direct-to-consumer brands moving quickly across digital channels, it is specifically relevant to create targeted messaging that speaks directly to local cultures in global markets.In line with Toby Codrington’s analysis, Tag’s transcreation expert, Faryal Khan-Thompson, discusses three common misconceptions brands make when expanding to a new market—and what marketers can do to get it right.

“If we’ve learned anything about miscommunication from our interactions with family, friends, and colleagues or listening to politicians, it’s that the right message told the wrong way can be confusing at best, insulting at worst. As experts in transcreation and translation, we know that one of the biggest mistakes brands make today is the assumption that communicating is an easy task. It’s not,” explains Faryal.

“Your brand identity—from tagline to creative messaging right down to music choice—may communicate itself perfectly to one target audience while completely missing the mark for another,” continues Faryal. “Linguistic choices and phraseology even within the same language can be interpreted differently across cultures, regions, and neighborhoods.”

3 Common Misconceptions About Market Expansion

1st misconception: Our message is universal. Brands must rely on the right resources to make their message applicable to different audiences, cultures, and regions. “Very rarely is a message simple enough to be universal and even then, there are cultural nuances that can interfere with brand communication,” explains Faryal.  “We’ve seen many obvious blunders occur when the cultural context of the audience is not considered.  When it comes to language, there are also many examples of “Transcreation Gone Wrong” and I think this can be demonstrated well by a hypothetical scenario – imagine Nike’s famous tagline “Just Do It.” Three seemingly simple yet impactful words that capture the essence of a brand but that require handling with care. Nike has chosen to leave their widely recognized tagline in English globally, but for anyone who speaks another language the literal interpretation of that phrase could be misinterpreted as condescending or even sexually offensive. In Urdu, for example, telling someone to just do it is generally something an adult would say to a child if they were misbehaving or not listening. If you say “bus karo” or “just do it”, it is often interpreted as “just get on with it” or giving a command. It does not connote or embody the meaning of the tagline as promoted by the Nike brand  – to push yourself to reach new heights.

2nd misconception: We already know our audience. In the marketing industry, consumer trust can be a core differentiator in making or breaking the success of a brand. Brands fall flat when they continue to push forward with the same messaging without paying attention to the evolving customer. This begins with marketing. “We see customer feedback as especially relevant in multicultural marketing, where one target audience may connect with a product or brand message in a way that another does not,” continues Faryal. “As the transcreation team, our job is to listen, monitor, and track the response of the target audience, pivoting creatively with the content we create.”

When choosing a transcreation partner, marketers should select one with the proven ability to continuously test and optimize campaigns in real time, using data to define best messaging and adapting content to produce what is “right” for the brand and the customer. This allows for the ability to leverage assets and maximize marketing budget by delivering the right message to the right audience with speed, agility, and accuracy.

3rd misconception: Quantity is more important than quality. The race to create more content, across more channels, is one of marketing’s biggest burdens. Not only are the resources to create more content limited, but more content means less control over brand and messaging.

“Brands are spending too much time trying to create more content in an effort to expand their reach, when they should be working to ensure existing materials are resonating as intended.

A smart transcreation partner will help you assess the effectiveness of your existing content, flagging any potential risks in interpretation or understanding of your brand message early on in the creative process,” explains Khan-Thompson. “Then, they can give you recommendations on what can be repurposed and what should be recreated from scratch to drive consumers to action.”

Tag’s international adaptation group, is a team of global marketing experts with native, in-market resources around the world. We work hand-in-hand with brands and their agencies to create messaging that is tailored to various cultures and specific audiences, while staying true to the brand through translation, transcreation, and cultural consultation. “Understanding not just the words, but also the heart and the emotion of the target audience, is what gives brands the ability to break down barriers and authentically communicate with their customers,” states Faryal.

Schedule a call today to find out how we can help with your brand’s translation, transcreation and cultural adaptation needs.


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