How to Build a Multilingual Brand Strategy

Brand Strategy and Localization

  • Gerber sold some baby food in Africa with its quintessentially cute baby logo. However, in parts of Africa, it’s common to list pictures on the label of what’s inside for consumers who can’t read.
  • Colgate released a toothpaste in France called “Cue,” not realizing that it’s also the name of a French pornography magazine.
  • Puffs used its usual brand name when trying to sell its tissues in Germany, only to discover that “puff” means “brothel” in German slang.
  • Vicks sold cough drops under its usual brand name in Germany, but the v in German has an f sound, making “vicks” mean “sexual intercourse” in German slang.

How to Get a Good Translation with a Top Pro

  • What is their experience with marketing translation services? In order to globalize your brand, you’ll want someone with a strong background in marketing translation.
  • What is their experience in your specific industry? For instance, if you sell health products, ideally your translator should have a background in the health sector. A translator with a background in your industry will mean they are familiar with translating specific industry terms.
  • What is their previous work like? You should ask for samples of previous translation projects to see how they were able to transfer a brand into another market. They should be able to explain their reasoning and the process they went through to do it. You might also get references and testimonials from the translator or agency’s past clients.

A Look at Internationalization

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