Localization: [noun] the process of adapting content to a specific locale or market.
95 percent of Chinese online consumers indicate a greater comfort level with websites in their own language. (Forrester Research)
As brands grow internationally, content creation is becoming increasingly important and challenging. The challenge is for brands to stay true to their personality while creating relevant content for a localized market.
What does creating relevant content for a localized market look like in China? Is getting on Weibo and WeChat with translated content enough? Let’s examine how the following brands are tackling the challenge of content localization to a Chinese audience. We have chosen to review fashion brands because localization of content is particularly difficult due to the nature of this industry.
If we had to choose keywords to describe Burberry as a brand, they would definitely be “luxury”, “British heritage”, and its signature check pattern. Reviewing Burberry’s Weibo content, we can definitely see these trademark elements throughout the account.
In addition, Burberry’s localized content strategy spotlights Chinese celebrities in Burberry products. Some of these are organic, while some are taken at Burberry events.
Chanel is another luxury fashion brand with the Chinese consumers as an important part of its target market. The brand personality is Parisian, haute couture, and high end. Chanel’s Weibo account unmistakably reflects these qualities.
Chanel’s approach to localized content, however, is different from that of Burberry’s. There are more videos on the Chanel Weibo page – clips of fashion shows, interviews with Karl Lagerfeld, makeup tutorials, and more. These clips have Chinese subtitles for the Chinese audience. Does this strategy work? Most of these Chinese subbed videos receive, on average, 200 to 300 likes. When Burberry posts Chinese celebrities in Burberry branded products, these posts tend to get more likes than the translated video clips on Chanel’s Weibo page.
Looking at yet another fashion brand, Dior’s content strategy clearly encompasses their elegant and upscale brand personality, and translates it well to a localized Chinese market.
Dior chooses to work with male and female Chinese celebrities to endorse the brand at fashion shows, as well as in small video clips in Chinese. The audience on Weibo responds really well to this type of content as they tend to receive over 10k in engagement on Weibo.
Overall, celebrity endorsement seems to be a common way for brands to produce quality localized content. In the case of Burberry, we are seeing both organic and sponsored posts involving celebrities. However, Burberry has not chosen to work with one specific celebrity.
It is a challenge to choose which local celebrity would be a good representation of the brand in a new market. For example, in the West, Dior’s brand is endorsed by Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lawrence, and Charlize Theron. Dior chose to study the Chinese entertainment culture to find celebrities that represent their brand well, speaking to the target audience in the Chinese market. When this is done right, localized content while maintaining original brand personality is achieved.
Localization may include modifying content to suit the tastes and consumption habits of different markets. When localizing web content, concentrate on what is actually necessary to reach the intended audience. In many cases, it’s not always necessary to translate an entire corporate website; rather, focus on the sales and emotional appeal in a specific region or language. Don’t bury the content localization within a larger, single-language corporate website. Create a scaled down microsite, landing page, or social media channel that specifically caters to the potential customer in the target foreign market, but still delivers relevant information.