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  • Emma O'Loan

Go Global, Think Local


Localisation is described as “the process of adapting messages, imagery, brand voice, features, and products to achieve a linguistic, cultural, and geographic fit for a given audience. The goal is to make user experiences for everyone as comfortable as possible across different cultural and regional contexts.” [1]

We explored what localisation is and discovered how brands adapt themselves for the culture and country they operate in, both online and offline. It focuses on creating a brand language that is familiar to the audience regardless of location, adaptable where necessary all whilst still encompassing the overall brand.

Let’s focus on Starbucks - one of the most recognisable brands globally. Their globalisation extends to over 70 countries worldwide, adjusting and adapting almost all aspects of their business to suit local culture, history and taste preferences.

Examples of how they achieve this include:

  1. Adjusting menu items depending on local taste (i.e. matcha in Japan)

  2. Altering branding to make it acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons (i.e. removing topless mermaid in the logo for use in Saudi Arabia)

  3. Marketing different holidays based on location (i.e. Christmas in Christian countries)

  4. Stores accommodating consumer behaviour/cultural norms (i.e. tables can be moved around in China for larger groups).


Looking at Starbucks on social media this globalisation was made abundantly clear as several countries have their own dedicated social accounts, showing first-hand how the changes are mirrored online.

A clear example of this is how different the UK, Australia and Japan’s Instagram grids look on the 23rd May 2023.


(@starbucksuk)

The grid is currently dominated by reels and video posts, with six out of the nine posts featuring reels of drinks being created and TikTok style UGC posts. There is a contrast with the high-quality product photography and videography with the more laid-back style phone video posts. There is also an illustrated feature of the month’s astrology sign. The UK account favours video and photography over composite images.

(@starbucksau)

Unlike the UK, the Australian grid features laid-back style photography and video as well as composite images with bold bright colours and typography across the grid. Although Australia also features seasonalposts featuring different food and drink options, there is a bigger focus on warmer drinksas Australia is currently transitioning between autumn and winter. They also feature memes which is different from the other accounts.

(@starbucks_j)

The grid for Japan merges the best of the UK and Australia. Bright, bold, seasonal drinks are prominent in the composite photography at the top of the grid, promoting the “find your "vivid" colors” campaign currently running in the country. They use a mixture of still photography and reels, with splashes of seasonal events such as mother’s day.

Starbucks flagship social pages also highlight how popular the brand is around the world, with over 567 million Instagram followers, 36 million facebook followers, 11 million and twitter and 2 million on TikTok.

To put that into perspective, in the above countries Facebook and Instagram all ranked within the top 5 most popular social platforms.

Here at Hydrogen, we work with global clients, and as such need to run localised campaigns, here's a simple example from our client Highland Park:

On the left we have the version created for the UK and on the right for Taiwan. Both countries have different alcohol advertising laws and Taiwan’s version features a banner, just like we have the Drinkaware logo on certain advertisements in the UK. The copy would also be in both English and Mandarin.

You can learn more about alcohol advertising around the world here.

As a social media agency, when creating content for global markets we need to consider our target market as always. When adapting content for posting in multiple countries however, we would consider things like the language used in copy, cultural significance of things like colour or imagery and even which platforms other countries use.

Depending on where a brand is focused, localisation is a very important consideration when thinking on a global scale.

Another more recent example of localisation would be Spotify’s yearly wrapped.

The global accounts all feature the same visual style however adaptations have been made to account for language and artists popularity differences.

On the UK social media accounts, Spotify posted an image teasing Spotify wrapped with one of the UK’s most popular artists, Harry Styles.

In Japan, the content was written in Japanese and features a gif of the Spotify app UI in Japan.

In Chile, the content is written in Spanish and features the top podcast listened to that year in Chile.


These small adjustments mean that global audience can access the content making the brand more accessible and welcoming. As the above shows, you can still feature the same visual style as long as you adjust where necessary.

Spotify wrapped impressions were over 74k in the UK, 56k in Japan and 16k in Chile. On twitter the top two languages spoken are English (51%) and Japanese (19%), with the USA and Japan both topping the number of users at 77 and 59 million users respectively.

Subtitling or giving multiple language options help create accessible content for a global audience.

Our top tips if you find yourself localising content:

  1. Consider your target audience and research the differences in culture, values, language, and beliefs each country may have. Work with local influencers and experts when essential.

  2. Write copy which is succinct and inclusive so it can be translated and adapted easily.

  3. Consider captioning for accessibility in numerous languages.

  4. Keep in mind which fonts you choose for the writing system of the language. (i.e., Latin, Kanji, Hebrew etc.) and keep in mind local holidays, currency, and modifications to date formatting etc.

  5. Be aware of the differences in symbolism of colours, imagery etc and adapt using appropriate and culturally relevant images.

  6. Consider adjusting your content to fit the platform and audience (i.e., posting on Facebook over Twitter for India).

For more top social tips follow us, and watch this space for our new Youtube channel coming soon!

1 Comment


hound attached
hound attached
2 days ago

They employ a combination of still photographs and reels, with a few seasonal events like Mother's Day sprinkled in here and there. geometry dash online

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