What is product localization in marketing and what is its relevance in an internationalization plan – WAU

Product localization is a process that requires a lot of organization, specialists and, above all, integration with Marketing. Especially if the company has internationalization projects or sells in different countries.

When a brand reaches a good place in the market, it lets go of fears and takes on the challenge and adventure of exploring new horizons.

This is because markets are much more connected than decades ago – largely thanks to the development of technologies and digital transformation – facilitating trade in different countries.

However, adapting products to new markets or locating them in them remains a process that requires great challenges, and not developing it following best practices can lead to very negative results.

For this reason, in this content, we will explain in detail what is the location of products and its importance for companies.

Want to learn more? So, read on!

What is product localization?

This process is based on the adaptation or modification of products / services for new markets, which relates it directly to marketing. In fact, this work fits within the traditional concept of Marketing Mix.

The fundamental element of this principle is the product “P”, because it is what establishes the way in which the offer and the commercialization will develop.

Considering the globalized dynamics of today, the product must be developed following the fundamentals of international marketing, which allow it to be positioned in new markets.

Among other things, product localization takes care of overcoming language barriers that put the success of the launch in another country at risk. For this reason, one of its main missions is adapt all elements related to the target culture, that is, the place where it will be marketed.

This includes translations as well as changes in functionality and characteristics of the product itself, as well as the design of specific marketing strategies.

Importance of product localization

Having strategies, tasks and, in general, product localization projects brings great benefits to companies.

The first is that it significantly reduces the risks and uncertainties that include exploring a new market, as this process goes hand in hand with research done by marketing and linguistic specialists.

This in turn translates into a number of specific advantages. See the main ones below.

Naturalness

Thanks to product localization, brands do not enter roughly and forcefully in a given market. On the contrary, this process makes the entry natural, as it shows that from the beginning the products were designed for this country or region.

Acceptance

Launching new products or exploring different markets is always a big challenge. The first is to ensure that the proposal is accepted from the beginning, which facilitates the following tasks of marketing, logistics and marketing.

In order to achieve this objective, it is important to carry out a solid work of product localization, which allows, as we explained, to naturally enter a market.

Greater knowledge of the market segment

You already know that research is one of the fundamental tasks within the concept of product localization.

Thanks to this, this process helps to get to know the target market segment much better. In addition, by working in an integrated manner with the marketing sector, it contributes to the definition of the buyer persona.

And it is through this type of procedures that we seek and identify specific aspects of the groups that are part of this culture, such as:

  • speech and common expressions or terms;
  • Consumption habits;
  • problems and needs;
  • paradigms and thought patterns.

These and the other benefits mentioned demonstrate the importance of having a specific product localization department, especially in multinational companies or with internationalization plans.

Therefore, it is necessary to explain how to set up this type of work team and what functions they perform. Keep reading!

How to form a product localization department?

Although it can also be called a linguistics department, calling it “product localization” better reflects how broad its scope is and, above all, its relationship with marketing and the famous “P” of marketing.

Logically, linguistic or translation professionals are indispensable in these work teams, as well as marketing experts.

The former are directly responsible for all tasks related to linguistic and linguistic adaptations, while the latter contribute to the knowledge of the market in relation to the positioning of competitors, prices, habits and consumption trends.

This makes the work of some potentialize the work of others. For example, linguistic searches by translators can help to get or define popular terms or even keywords for SEO and content generation.

In turn, the work team must maintain a constant feedback with other departments that control technical and general information about the products that will be placed in new markets.

How should product localization be performed?

Once this class of departments is formed, you must follow certain parameters and procedures to successfully comply with product localization.

One is to adapt all elements related to the product. Leaving any “loose thread” results in a serious error, which can cause a negative entry in a given market.

Indeed, sometimes it is necessary to adapt or modify the name of the product itself.

An example was when Chilean and other Latin American countries began to market Hass avocado in Europe. They were successful in several markets, but in Germany the results were clearly negative.

This happened due to the lack of localization of the name, as it was very similar to the term “ich hasse”, which means “hate” in German. Who will buy an avocado that references hate?

Because of this, they soon changed the name “palta”, as it is also known in many Latin American countries.

Other elements that must adapt linguistically are documentation, brochures and advertising posters. It is important not to leave out the packaging, too. It is even necessary to locate visual elements.

For example, it makes no sense to keep a London person as an advertising image or advertisement for the Asian market.

It is also necessary to adapt date formats, times, interfaces and any other element that “clashes” with this culture.

Another aspect of great importance is the definition of style guides and glossaries to standardize all messages and communications of the brand in the face of a new market. In this way, an original tone of voice is coherent with the culture in question.

On the other hand, it is important that companies generally adopt product localization as a philosophy. Only then will they create products that are moldable or adaptable to new markets, which will make internationalization processes much simpler.

Mistakes that are usually made when locating products

To finalize this material, we will detail all those errors that need to be avoided at all costs when it comes to product localization.

Committing them translates into increased costs, repetition of tasks, delays and operational instability, so: attention!

Do not hire a translator

In some way, translators are communicative bridges from one culture to another, so it results in a bad idea to forget about them in a product localization project.

It is essential to adapt linguistically all the elements related to the product that will be commercialized in a new market, and this goes far beyond the literal sense.

It is necessary to investigate idioms, fads, connotations and other aspects that determine how the target audience communicates.

By following this principle, translators achieve something very curious: that the audience thinks that the translated material or message was originally developed in their language.

Sparse or null search

Not researching this specific culture can cause a bad reception of the product, as in the case of Latin American avocado hass producers on the German market.

A good location is based on deep knowledge of the market and its consumers.

Forgetting that use precedes the norm

In order to connect linguistically with the culture in question, we must prioritize the way its members speak and not necessarily what the manuals, dictionaries and different norms dictate.

It is important to find the balance between expressing yourself well, from an academic point of view, and making yourself understood in a natural way.

If you’ve made it this far, you already know which mistakes should not be made when locating the product and, in return, what are the best practices for developing this process.

If you want to continue learning about product management and marketing, be sure to download our complete Digital Marketing Guide!

digital marketing ebook