Coca-Cola Blunder Highlights Localization Dangers

Language Faux Pas26 March 20142.5k

Do you adapt your content to local markets in order to increase brand affinity and campaign efficiency?

If the answer to this question is yes, then welcome to the world of localization, where anything is possible for brands. By speaking to people in a voice they can understand and identify with, you're improving your chances of long-term success.

However, firms need to make sure they get this process absolutely right, or else they will be left with a PR headache.

Coca-Cola recently came under fire over its latest advert, which shows people from all walks of life under the message "Be Inspired".

The Irish version of the ad differs from the one broadcast in the rest of Europe, as pictures of a same-sex union with two men have been removed because gay marriage is not currently legal in the country. 

While this demonstrates the level of thought that has gone into making sure the campaign is country-specific, it also highlights some of the dangers companies can face.

Shelly Kramer, brand strategist and chief executive officer of V3 Integrated Marketing, was critical of the move. She told Clickz: "From a creative standpoint, it seems like a bit of a nightmare. From a brand standpoint, and a PR standpoint, it seems like they're just inviting criticism."

Brands need to weigh up the relative merits of every creative decision, as doing so could be the difference between alienating your customer base and engaging with them.  

For example, Mr Kramer pointed out there will be even more nuances in other countries which may require further editing. "It's a tough campaign for a brand to execute without shooting itself in the foot," she added.

The central lesson to be learned from the episode is the need to use an experience localization agency, as they will be able to advise your company on all matters of cultural considerations. 

And trust me, taking the time to get it right will allow you to reap the benefits later. 

Posted by Coca-Cola Blunder Highlights Localization Dangers

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