When it comes to consumer behavior and attitudes, the United States market is both sizable and diverse. In a market where technology and consumption are more intertwined than ever, reaching and interacting with consumers is increasingly necessary for businesses to grow their revenue. For the US market, companies can achieve traction with consumers by implementing a localized sales approach that engages with them to service their needs based on their preferences.
What is Localization?
Localization allows companies to create linguistic and physical adjustments to existing products or services in order to fit a target market’s specific needs. Companies that utilize a localized approach in selling and building relationships can resonate with their customers by targeting the wants and needs from their perspective. This consists of going beyond just translating existing marketing tactics and messages to another language; it involves developing a thorough understanding of how a customer’s cultural background may affect their buying behavior, which is relevant in a company’s decision to tailor its products, branding, and marketing to consumers.
When it comes to localization, one of the most important questions for a company to ask and answer is how it can “personify” itself– how it can connect to specific target markets on a deeper level. In doing so, it’s important to differentiate how a company personifies itself to separate markets.
A Bubbly Example
Connecting to specific target markets calls for an analysis of that market’s culture, language, and customs. In the process of doing this, some companies go in so far as to cultivate culture into their message and storytelling. One example of this is Coca-Cola in China, where it is known as Kekoukele. This is because its original brand name, when translated into Chinese, means “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse fastened with wax”– perhaps not the message Coca-Cola wanted to send.
Accordingly, Coca-Cola chose a name that incorporates culture into its identity. The name Kekoukele because it means “tasty fun” while being close to the original brand name. In turn, this helped the company connect to locals in a more language-appropriate and personalized way.
Coca-Cola’s case demonstrates that an ability to expand a company’s potential customer base is essential in today’s globalized world. Adapting existing products to new markets through translation and localization management is key for global growth.
Image from Daxue Consulting
A Localized Approach to Building Relationships
This also pertains to building relationships. While product localization helps to decrease the barrier for new potential customers, relationship localization is necessary to drive the process of buying and selling forward. That is, while making a product or service itself is necessary for targeting localized markets, it is merely the first step. In regards to execution, consumers are more likely to buy when a relationship that is built on a mutual understanding of customs and language in addition to shared experiences is created. The plentiful markets that exist in the US have varying interests and cultural backgrounds. In order for a company that is based either overseas or locally, the people of the company should have some demonstrable understanding of their particular market.
Ultimately, it’s about getting closer to the consumer and understanding who they are. When consumers believe that a company matches their unique set of culture, values, and background, they are more willing to connect and maintain a relationship with said company. Because of this, companies are able to capitalize on localized approaches by hiring employees who represent each of these communities. Whether that means having a representative who can speak their market’s language or have a thorough knowledge of their market’s behaviors, creating a sense of really knowing the customer ensures a favorable and long-lasting business relationship.
The Bottom Line
Of course, there are risks involved with taking on localized approaches to selling and building relationships. Many companies fear that localizing their products might cause increased administrative overhead and slow down the release cycle, thus making it not worth the time. While there may be excess costs at the beginning of this process, successful expansion in the long run in appealing to a diverse clientele requires taking them on.
At Alariss, we believe that one of the reasons why localized approaches are becoming increasingly beneficial to companies is that the proliferation of consumer power within diverse communities and a shift away from purchasing from mega-companies make way for companies who really connect with consumers. That is, consumers who are against the Amazons and Walmarts of the world are steering their purchasing affinities towards businesses that actively cater to them, whether that is because of their business practices or relevance to the consumer’s tastes and identity. In a world where people are steering their attention towards local businesses and companies who prioritize connecting with them beyond the transaction, it’s in the interest of business leaders to do what has proved to work best– connect on a deeper level with them.