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Today, with the globalisation of marketing, major brands often want to implement a single message globally. The benefits are obvious: building a solid brand image everywhere and delivering a strong unified message that is recognisable by international audiences. In theory, that’s fantastic, however, getting your creative right on a global scale isn’t easy. Local humour, aesthetics, history and other cultural components can differ greatly from one market to another, meaning that a strong creative concept can get diluted in the global creative process.

But global campaigns don’t have to end in pain. Follow our tips to get your creative concept right from the start, and to reach your local audiences wherever they may be.

1. Keep your markets in the loop

If you’re part of a large global marketing team, formed of local and central teams, and you’re planning to launch a centralised global campaign, based on a central creative concept, make sure that local markets are involved in the creative process. If consulting everyone is too complicated, choose key market representatives for a balanced cultural perspective. Keep everyone informed as you develop your key visuals. This will help you avoid feedback coming in too late, or unexpected costs. It will also ensure a greater buy-in from local marketers.

2. Make the most out of your creative talent

Time is of the essence when dealing with global marketing campaigns. To make things run smoothly, setting clear roles and responsibilities is essential. This will help you make the most of your agency roster and, most importantly, of your creative agency. It’s important that time and budget is not wasted on unnecessary creative tasks. Using your creative agency to create ten versions of essentially the same layout, by retouching, colour correcting or turning a press ad into a poster for example, is a waste of their creative time. These tasks are better suited to a global creative production partner. Make sure time is spent efficiently and allow your creative agency to concentrate fully on their core strengths.

3. Avoid cultural mishaps

Ensure your creative concept can be understood in all of your target markets. Copy or imagery that allude to local cultural references will more than likely miss the mark in other markets. Moreover, watch out for taboos: what might be funny or trendy in your market, may be considered shocking in another market. Tattoos, for example, are not perceived positively in many cultures. Equally don’t attempt to appeal to markets by featuring stereotypes that are outdated or overused. Lions in South Africa or elephants in India are a little cliché. And if you plan a single, international launch date for your campaign, ensure it won’t be overshadowed by a big local event or national holiday in your target markets. Consult your global creative production agency and local experts before booking in media.

4. Give your creative tagline time to shine

Your tagline sits in prime position of most creative assets; it is the memorable signature of your brand or campaign. But too often, when it comes to localisation, due to time constraints, your headline or tagline is treated like any other translation piece and not given the TLC it deserves. To avoid this, finalise your global tagline as early as possible in the creative process and ensure it isn’t impossible to adapt by avoiding any local references or untranslatable puns. Set aside some time to write a detailed transcreation brief, giving sufficient brand knowledge and background for your local writers to find the perfect words to recreate the tagline in their own language. Most importantly, allow sufficient time for feedback, amends and testing.

5. Put a global creative production partner at the table

A global creative production company makes a valuable partner. They can help you understand cultural discrepancies and advise you on the best approach to adapting your global concept everywhere. By including a global creative production company from the start of the creative process, you will not only save time and money, but most importantly, you will ensure your global campaign speaks to your target audience. Throughout the creative journey, a global creative production company can advise you on what works and what doesn’t. Make sure you keep them in the loop by sharing concepts, story-boards and designs. They will have the technical know-how and practical approach to ensure you always deliver the best creative everywhere, in the most efficient way. Handcrafted fonts may sound like a wonderful idea but what happens when you deploy your campaign in Greece, Japan or Lebanon? A crowded and intricate visual for your print creative may look amazing as an initial key visual, but will be difficult to implement in Russian, German or Chinese.

A few basic tips for smooth adaptation:

  • Always allow space for 50% additional text
  • Consider fonts for all target markets
  • Mock up bilingual layouts
  • Consider the creative approach of right-to-left languages
  • Use live fonts
  • Consider varying internet connection speeds for digital ads
  • Produce easily adaptable pack shots
  • Avoid any footage of a person speaking to the camera

Freedman is a leading global creative production company. For 30 years, we’ve been helping brands grow worldwide by delivering strong global campaigns efficiently.

If you want to learn more about our services, and how we can help you adapt your global message with impact, get in touch today.

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