Solidifying a company’s brand identity is essential for messaging success. Nailing “who” the company is, their personality, their tone of voice, their mission, who they serve, their purpose are all the foundations for ensuring that the correct positioning of the brand is conveyed in all communications, internally and externally.

For companies operating in global markets, that brand positioning that they have invested in creating and that forms the foundation of their company, can be lost when translating communications into foreign languages. Likewise, the proven business model that you have developed for your domestic markets may fall flat and flounder in foreign markets.

What is Brand Positioning?

Brand positioning refers to the strategic process of creating a unique and favorable perception of a brand in the minds of its target audience. It involves defining and establishing the distinctive qualities, attributes, and value that set a brand apart from its competitors. Brand positioning is a key element of a brand’s overall marketing strategy and aims to occupy a distinct and desirable place in the consumer’s mind.

The process of brand positioning involves several steps:

  1. Target audience identification: Understanding the specific group of consumers that the brand intends to target.
  2. Competitive analysis: Assessing the strengths, weaknesses, and strategies of competitors in the market to identify opportunities for differentiation.
  3. Unique selling proposition (USP): Determining the unique and compelling aspect of the brand that sets it apart from competitors and resonates with the target audience.
  4. Brand attributes and benefits: Identifying the key characteristics, features, and benefits that the brand offers to consumers.
  5. Brand positioning statement: Developing a concise and clear statement that communicates the brand’s unique value proposition and its intended position in the market.
  6. Communication and marketing strategy: Creating marketing messages, visuals, and experiences that consistently convey the brand’s positioning to the target audience through various channels.

Effective brand positioning helps consumers understand and differentiate a brand from others in the market. It creates a perception of value, relevance, and credibility, leading to increased customer loyalty, preference, and ultimately, business growth.

brand positioning

To position your brand for global market success, there are key “translation” considerations to remember:

Translate your business model, not just your messaging

First things first, you need to consider how your business model “translates” in global markets. Perceived “strengths” of your products and services may actually be perceived as “weaknesses” in some markets. Likewise, opportunities and threats will look different in domestic vs. foreign markets.

In developing your business model and offering, it is important to consider how this offering may and should differ in certain markets, depending on different audience needs, cultures, and the competitive offerings that exist in those markets.

McDonald’s restaurant offerings in India look very different to the United States for example, where the restaurant chain has always removed beef products from the menu to adhere to local beliefs and replaced their global hero burger “Big Mac” with the “Chicken Maharajah Mac”.

There are very few businesses where a “one fits all” business model can be applied to global markets so how you present your offering and position your business is the first key consideration to translate.

Ensure translation considerations feature in your brand book

Even with segmented business models designed to meet the needs of different regions, brands have still suffered positioning failures due to poor translation consideration for their messaging. A global slogan or campaign theme has so much opportunity to fall flat due to meaning being conveyed incorrectly. After all, it’s not the words within content or messaging that need to be translated, but their meaning.

The essence of a brand and their position where only “words” have been translated and not the meaning or the message behind them. In some cases, this can have quite negative consequences on a brand’s position if the translated “words” convey an offensive message in a foreign market.

Your brand book should therefore feature strict guidelines around the translation of “meaning” when writing copy or messaging for foreign markets, to protect the position and integrity of the brand.

brand positioning

It’s not just words, but tone and personality that needs to be “translated”

A brand’s tone of voice and personality may work well in some markets but not so well in others. For example, a less formal tone may be received well by senior executives in Australia but not be taken seriously by senior executives in the Middle East. It is therefore not just what you say but how you say it that needs to be considered.

In defining your brand tone and personality, you should be clear on how they may need to be adapted in different markets. You may choose to negate the use of colloquial language in any brand communications to ensure global fluidity of language. To protect your brand positioning and ensure your brand is portrayed and perceived as intended in each global market, clear outlines should be provided and adhered to for all brand translators and writers.

Protecting brand positioning when translating for global markets requires a consistent evaluation and revaluation of the “what”, “why” and “who” you are speaking to, to decipher “how” you are going to talk. This has been the fine line between the success and failure of so many brands entering new foreign markets. A little consideration goes a long, long way to translating your brand positioning for global success!

Conclusion

Maintaining a consistent brand positioning in global markets is crucial for success, and effective translation is a key element of this process. To achieve this, companies must not only translate their messaging but also adapt their business model to suit the diverse needs and cultures of different regions. Additionally, brand books should include guidelines for translating the meaning behind words to prevent unintended messages, and it’s vital to consider the adaptability of a brand’s tone and personality in different markets. In Australia, a multicultural and multilingual society, utilising professional translation services is imperative for ensuring accurate and effective communication, making it a valuable asset for solidifying a brand’s position in this diverse and dynamic market.

At Sylaba we deliver NAATI certified translation services into 150+ languages. Spanish, Hindi, Arabic and Greek are some of the top languages that we translate.

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About the Author: Sonia Sanchez
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