The Creative Requirements of Expanding Internationally

January 27, 2021 By Celtra

Illustration: Tereza Prepadnik

Are you an e-commerce brand looking to expand to new markets through advertising? Perhaps you’re already working with local teams to get campaigns translated and up and running but could use some tips to collaborate better. Either way, going international comes with a unique set of creative challenges. How do you maintain creative excellence with local teams in charge? How do you tweak designs to mirror cultural nuances? What about British English vs. American English? In this article, we will explore all these challenges, and more through the lens of creative production.

How to Enter a Market Virtually Through Marketing

So you have the infrastructure in place to start delivering your products to a new region or country, what’s next? It’s important to establish a convincing presence for your brand, meaning that your new target audience needs to feel like the brand is a legitimate and trustworthy player in the space. Language and messaging play a huge role in this. Copy needs to be written in the language of the market, preferably by someone who understands the audience and knows how to adjust messaging to resonate with the culture. Consistency matters, too. If you translate your ads into e.g. German but still only have an English e-commerce site, it will repel new customers.

When it comes to design, imagery, and photography, make sure that they feel native to the market. From scenery to the people and their ethnicity, your campaigns, content, and website need to represent your target audience.

Be prepared to invest in awareness and brand marketing unless you’re a very well-known brand. In most categories, brand preference is all about familiarity and trust. As a new brand in the market, you’ll need to build both over time. Working with influencers while simultaneously running brand advertising can help penetrate the market faster as it helps create the illusion of your brand being omnipresent in the region. Also, don’t forget about communicating about things that may seem obvious: consumers want to know about things like easy returns, free and fast shipping, or local customer service before they click to buy.

How to Achieve Creative Excellence at a Global Scale

Pixel perfection matters when expanding internationally since high-quality design helps shoppers feel safe in buying from a new company. Launching campaigns on-time across multiple markets is one thing, making them look consistent and striking is a whole other ballgame. The million-dollar (or euro, or pound) question is, how do you balance local nuances like copy length in another language, special characters or alphabets, and cultural differences in design and photography with brand governance? 

Building multiple variations of each creative asset across campaigns in different markets can wreak havoc on brand control, creative quality, and efficiency if you don’t pay attention to workflows. We’ve even seen brands end up with duplicate production costs when local markets can’t access campaign creative and commission external agencies to recreate the assets for them. The best practice here is to collaborate in real-time with cloud-based software. There are solutions that help central teams lock-in certain elements of approved brand templates while allowing local teams to edit things like language or imagery. This way, you’ll be able to run on-brand creative internationally. As a bonus, you’ll also have visibility into the market versions and can review and approve country-specific assets.

Localization Challenges and How to Solve Them

When we think international, we think big. We often get so caught up in the idea of global that we lose sight of what’s right in front of us. That’s why localization is one of the most important factors in international marketing success. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are a few factors that should be considered. 

To avoid some of the most common pitfalls such as translation fails and vernacular mishaps, you have to do your homework. Localization specialists can ensure meaningful messaging and producing variety at scale can help meet all of your content needs. This means that creative production is at the very forefront of localization. To drive efficiency and accuracy, global organizations need to be able to collaborate in real-time with a streamlined workflow. Ultimately, shifting from manual means of production to automated and cloud-based solutions can help brands achieve localization success at the click of a button.   

How to Build and Hire an International Team 

The key to building your international team is balance. It’s about hiring local experts and leveraging existing executives to grow your brand in a new market. With tools like Slack, Zoom, and VoIP systems, you can start an international team from anywhere. One way to develop your management team abroad is to transplant some of your senior executives. Not only will their specialized knowledge of the business help drive brand success, but it will also help to expand the company culture across all offices. With that being said, hiring localization specialists or native speakers early on will help your brand succeed in culture-specific marketing campaigns. Brands should also tap into local experts. Their understanding of the local community will not only help solve your localization marketing challenges but will also help your business fit into their new market segment. That’s why it is so important for brands to thoughtfully define user groups, roles, permissions, and integrations for both brand development and day-to-day campaign executions to create a winning international team. 

The Creative Solution for International Expansion 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to think about how your brand can effectively scale creative content for international growth. With the exploding demand for content, manual production methods can’t keep up. Standard, siloed production workflows also slow down the production process, which makes it challenging for marketers to keep up with all of their international campaign needs. What brands need is creative software to produce content at scale and streamline workflows without the headache. That’s where Creative Automation comes in. 

With Creative Automation, teams can collaborate on creative campaigns from anywhere in the world in real-time. The platform makes it easy to produce creative content at scale so that you can produce high-quality assets for every market in minutes. To learn more about how you can use automation to create culturally-relevant marketing campaigns, check out this video on Creative Automation or contact us today.