Branding across cultures: Is your message consistent?

While reading Joe Kutchera's Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content, we were intrigued by something he wrote about personal branding and trying to keep your brand consistent and easily recognizable in other countries and among Spanish-speaking consumers in general. He mentions Chuck Whiteman, Senior Vice-President of Client Services at Motion Point, a company that offers website translation, hosting and localization. Chuck says, "By approaching multiple markets and languages correctly, it's possible to save a lot of time and money in the ongoing deployment and management of global websites." Both Joe and Chuck stress that organizing one's manpower in a way that will allow for one's brand to be consistently recognizable and accessible in various languages and markets allows for consumers to travel through your different pages or websites (depending on if you have a separate website for each language or if it is all maintained within one site) and obtain the information they wish to find.

We recently completed a Brazilian Portuguese translation of a website for a local business that offers educational products. The company already has its website translated into Spanish, Czech and French. Portuguese, especially Brazilian Portuguese, was a great move on their part, as the Brazilian economy is steadily growing. The company's easily accessible website does not send consumers or potential clients to a separate site, but rather, it allows the visitor to choose his/her language easily and read the information in his/her language.

Since this company is in the business of educational products, we suggested that it look into other languages as well, especially those of countries whose educational system is well-supported and recognized as being top-notch. Another thing this client might consider is the fact that translation of the site makes it somewhat localized for the foreign-language client, but not completely. One of the main devices on its Home page is a short instructional video with a woman speaking about the products this company has to offer. I suggested that the business look into creating similar video segments in the other languages found on its site to create a more globalized feel for its products. This would keep the foreign-language client more engaged in the product, as well as promote the brand by using more than one medium.

We see companies doing this all the time--expanding into new markets and creating a site that will attract its potential consumers who speak languages other than English as their first language. But what about consumers right here in the U.S. who immigrated recently or grew up speaking another language at home. Do your site and brand effectively attract such consumers? Do you take advantage of the possibilities that your brand could have in other languages and cultures? Do your employees and marketing teams work together to connect your pages/sites so that they are easily accessible to clients?

Let us know what you think about branding across cultures, and if you're interested in localizing and translating your site or marketing materials, contact us!