Shopping for goods, from everyday necessities to limited edition collectors’ items, has never been easier as it is today. With the spread of the Internet and social media, consumers can be reached on multiple platforms, during all times of the day, and targeted with a variety of interactive advertisements. That being said, for luxury goods suppliers, it takes more than a well-planned online campaign to establish a lasting presence within foreign markets. Successful integration depends largely on a good understanding of the language, culture, and purchasing habits of the foreign consumer body. It is easy to see, then, why only a handful of companies have been successful in their localization ventures within international markets.
As the value of the product being offered increases, it is essential for a brand to establish an effective marketing strategy to efficiently target both its local and foreign customers. If a product is to be successful on a multinational scale, precise use of language and in-depth market research is required for a better understanding of the consumer body’s preferences, interests, and purchasing habits. In that case, high-quality translation is essential for the development of a successful expansion strategy.
Luxury brands and translation
In recent years, the luxury goods industry has experienced significant growth, with Japan and China being the 2nd and 3rd largest consumers of luxury goods. Since Chinese consumers make from 30% to 50% of the world’s luxury purchases, it makes sense that Western luxury brands have turned their attention towards the opportunity of positioning themselves within the Chinese markets. Through translation and language, brands are able to develop a unique voice of the company that allows them to differentiate themselves from competitors and establish a distinctive presence on the market. From Chanel to Gucci, to Louis Vuitton – luxury vendors have worked towards targeting their foreign customers through the use of language, in order to successfully communicate the brand’s worldview and creating positive associations with the product.
The role of translation
To a large extent, translation is going to determine how successful will be establishing global brand recognition is going to be. Dealing with luxury products requires a high degree of understanding of the targeted customer and attention to detail. International customers who are being introduced to a new product for the very first time need to be presented with a coherent, clear message of the quality, history, and exclusivity your company represents. The translation of this message can therefore be considered as the final, but most important part of a brand’s localization strategy, which can either make or break the strong bond with potential new customers.
Examples and statistics
There are plenty of instances where language has stood in the way of successful market integration. In the case of the automobile company Ford, their Pinto model was not successfully integrated within the Brazilian market, since ‘pinto’ was in fact a slang word for ‘tiny male genitals’. As a result of this misinterpretation, the company had to go through a costly rebranding, changing the car’s name to ‘Corcel’. This shows us that even the most successful and well-known companies are not safe from mistakes when it comes to bringing their product to foreign customers. Moreover, a research by Common Sense Advisory has shown that, for 56% of the customers, information in their own language is more important than price. This means that, regardless of the product and industry, the translation services of an experienced professional who knows the market is crucial for a brand to be successfully integrated and make a return on its international investment.
In a highly digitized environment saturated with homogenous products, personalization is what makes a product successful. Relying on premium translation services will enable businesses to get past the language barriers and respond to local customers’ expectations, offering not only a product of high quality but also an exceptional buying experience. Companies providing luxury products have been the first to realize the importance of customer service for a brand’s longevity on the market. Regardless of the industry or the geographical location of the market, all customers value highly a brand’s effort to acknowledge and appreciate the local culture and language in a respectful but still personal way. This is something that machine translation is not yet capable of accomplishing and which can only be achieved through the work of experienced translators. With their help and expertise, the language of luxury can easily be deciphered by any foreign market.