Gone are the days when a brand could emerge in a domestic market and then, when the conditions were just right, launch strategically in new markets with tight control over brand identity and a limited number of communication channels to manage. Nowadays, brands are launching into a global engagement with customer perception from day one, whether you are ready for it or not.
The truth has caught up with us. The localization industry has come to the point where I believe we are misrepresenting the idea of “globalization.” Despite the bells and whistles, at the end of the day, the industry largely sells a commodity called “technologically-enabled translation.” We actively try to rebrand our work as “localization.” However, we mislead our clients by pretending that we are applying finesse to their global ventures, when really we are simply translating words for digital interfaces .
Developing a global brand strategy while living in self-imposed cultural isolation is problematic. When the approach to global branding becomes mono-cultural, it is more difficult to apply in new markets. In not leveraging ground-floor observations from a variety of cultures to assemble an inclusive and authentic brand vision, the approach reinforces a wide-spread skepticism and resentment of American cultural arrogance.