IMC Intuition

Thinking out loud about all things IMC

How Do You Communicate With The World?

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Sarah Mitchell really nails it in her post on the Content Marketing Institute’s daily post entitled, “ Produce Local, Distribute Global: 3Keys to your Content Marketing Localization Plan.” In truth, she identified many of my pain points as veteran of these very issues, first as a corporate communicator at the US headquarters, and now as the local communicator with headquarters in Europe.

You need to read her article, but in summary, Sarah’s three keys are:

1. “…establish ownership of the content. When you’re working across markets, and very likely across time zones, it’s imperative the head office takes ownership of the whole project. Without a strong management focus from the originating source, you cannot be sure your message is being delivered at all.”

2. “…Every single market I’ve ever worked in makes purchasing decisions based on business benefit. What is different is how they expect to get their information…Cultural differences abound from country to country. That’s why you can’t conduct a localization project without the input of the local market. What works in the USA, may not work in Italy or Tokyo.”

3. “…allocating budget for localization in any content-producing project up front. A well-planned effort delivers many benefits including buy-in from your foreign distributers and enhanced brand image in the international market. Often these tasks are only considered at the end of a project when everyone is ready to move on and the money is used up.”

I agree with all of this, and I would like to add two more points:

1. A headquarters in transition will be more successful utilizing a Change Management Communications Plan complete with measurement metrics for both internal and external audiences. Global companies need a senior level communicator in order to accomplish this.  The end result will be a huge savings in time &  financial investment in deliverables.  As Sarah points, there’s nothing worse than investing big dollars in print that local offices will not use.  Been there, done that.

Good resource: This month’s Communications World

2. The Best Practice of all of the world’s great brands is for the headquarters to develop a useful Style Manual to be used throughout the global organization to maintain consistency in the brand. The graphic design and templates should be sufficiently well designed to be readily localized.

Best example, the highest valued brand in the world, Coca-Cola

So here is my question:   In a world where you say aluminium and I say aluminum, and you measure in meters (or should I say metres?)and I measure in feet and inches,  how does one localize web copy when the world gravitates to the USA website as the primary English source? If you don’t have the resources of General Electric to produce two to three localized pages in English (USA, UK, Australia), what do you do? Do you think users actually care?

In my work, I generally use British spellings in meta tags and occasionally in body copy, then Americanize print publications.  I am very interested in how others approach this problem.

Links in this post:

Content Marketing Institute (CMI), their daily newsletter is a must read for me:

Produce Local, Distribute Global: 3 Keys to Your Content Marketing Localization Plan By SARAH MITCHELL | Published: MARCH 2, 2011:

Communications World:



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