Brand Messaging. We talk about it all the time when we are translating brand messaging. But what is messaging? According to SalesForce, brand messaging refers to “the underlying value proposition conveyed and language used in your content. It’s what makes buyers relate to your brand by inspiring them, persuading them, motivating them, and ultimately making them want to buy your product.”
Corporations spend a TON of money crafting, cultivating and communicating their brand message to its customers. Think about the time spent on brand messaging. You need writers, designers and managers signing off. You manage revisions and hold lots and lots of meetings. This often is still going on during foreign language translation and there is often not a lot of time to get creative. Print deadlines, live-dates, event dates; there is always a deadline looming and translation tends to fall behind in that timeline.
Turnaround times for translating brand messaging are often woven into the final phase and a well-organized language service provider should be able to “run with it.” However, marketing managers do have the power to make sure that the time spent on creating a global brand can be used most effectively by taking translation into account during the development time. You don’t want to run the risk of diluting your brand!
Timeframe is a matter of planning, but it also helps for the marketing manager to have experience with languages. Managers that have an “ear” for languages will start to think about how creative ideas may break down when you translate these into other languages. Brand messaging is usually interwoven into different contexts and double-meaning, and these different contexts are usually reinforced by use of images as well.
Probably the most asked question when marketing approaches the translation stage is whether a name or image is culturally appropriate, or if it “translates well”. But more thought can be put into the process of actually using the translated brand messaging; after it has been thoughtfully created.
As a marketing manager, here are 5 questions that should help you think ahead when creating a global brand message:
- If your target language is gender specific (like French), how does that affect terminology when you reuse a concept that references different words that may have different gender conjugations? Brand Messaging quickly gets disseminated throughout the organization to be used in a lot of different materials. Chances are that you will not always check in with your translation vendor to make sure that it is always correct.
- If I reuse the same brand term in different contexts, does this term also stay the same in another language? First, don’t have your vendor translate parts of a brand without knowing anything about the context. But then, what happens with that term if you apply it to a different category of products? We see a lot of issues with gender specific languages, but there are also many languages that require use of terms that are far more narrowly defined than their English counterparts.
- Do the images play on different meanings and will these come across with similar meaning in the other language? Think also about the lead time it takes to get images prepared that are appropriate for the target market.
- Have I communicated all current and potential future messaging around the brand and tested for the target language? A brand message may work well now, but many organizations plan a few months ahead and neglect to include the translation vendor to consider this messaging in the creating of the initial brand message.
- How do I incorporate my translated brand messaging in web or social media campaigns, such as the use of hashtags? Hashtags require a lot of management. The decision to manage and cultivate a social media campaign around a translated hashtag requires planning. Ensure that any translated content that interacts with clients is consistent and works. Nothing is more frustrating than when keywords or hashtags cannot be found on your website because it wasn’t built into the parameters.
These are questions you can get answers to early on by working with your vendor during the development stages. Involve your vendor early on in the creative process and in turn they can help Marketing Managers build the confidence to translate their global brand messaging and put it to work. We partner with our clients to help build their personal global competency and serve as a language resource for any questions around culture and/or language. We can speak tech geek as well if your project involves different file formats and online platforms.
In an update to this blog, we also wrote another one when the issue of the decision to translate hashtags came up in our work we do on healthcare translations.