The challenge of many global brands on social media is how to effectively manage an international, multi-lingual and multi-cultural presence. I’m taking a look at what options are available, and what they look like in action.
GLOBAL VS LOCAL
A global brand is one that is internationally available and recognized. But because of cultural and language differences, global brands may not be directly connecting with customers, and choose to have a local presence for each language or region, for example in the cases of our customers Carlsberg and WiMP.
A global presence can communicate in one language, but the audience will engage in a number of languages.
The global jewelry brand, Tiffany, has a Facebook page that posts in English, but contains audience posts in several different languages. Tiffany is a very visual brand, and has an aspirational presence. Their products may not be something everyone can readily afford, but aspire to owning, and enjoy engaging with as an expression of their own fashion “likes”.
Local brands speak a customer’s language, and are easily relatable.
“Glocalization” refers to the dynamic between “global” and “local”, and a simultaneous presence in both areas. As our world gets smaller, many brands have taken to serving an international existence with a global brand broken up into many localized identities. This is meant to sustain brand consistency, while facilitating brand conversation at a local level.
Many airlines provide channels divided by language to also address a strong need for continual, real-time customer service issues, without adding to a traveler’s frustration with a potential communication gap.
Brands frequently split up centralized marketing into local channels, as social engagement hinges on the ability of your communities to participate in a conversation. Part of facilitating this conversation is creating an environment they can relate to, where they feel comfortable engaging.
Because of Starbucks’ brick-and-mortar presence, heavy brand identity in a competitive industry, and low price point, their Facebook page is divided by region to stay connected and relatable to each customer.
WHAT WORKS BEST?
We’ve seen several different scenarios exercised by our customers, and there’s no “one-size-fits-all” best practice. Instead, there are several questions you should look at to determine what is the best fit between your brand and your audience.
What do you need to accomplish with social media?
What do you want to accomplish on this channel?
How does your audience use social media?
How do you allow your audience to connect with you on their terms?
How does your audience feel about the language you add to their social feeds?
The right approach will take your social media goals into consideration, but provide a forum for your audience to connect.