After listening to The Social Shake Up presentation “From Real-Time Analysis to Storytelling: A Coca-Cola Case Study” from Doug Busk of The Coca Cola Company, it elevated the importance of global marketing in the social world. For me, having worked on advertising teams for some of the largest global packaged goods and pharmaceutical companies, I’ve come to value the importance of not always thinking US centric. So often when we concept big ideas and tactics we tend to initially go in with blinders on and the outputs all cater better to the US market.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where our brands just live on this soil. Many large marketers are looking for us to be global brand ambassadors and that means we need to carry ideas and creative campaigns from Minneapolis to Melbourne to Mumbai. There is an even greater emphasis on making ideas with “globalbility”; the ability for creative ideas to be understood globally. And with platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that span the world, it’s important that we think about a few areas to ensure our ideas have “globalbility.”
Language Conundrums: Don’t Let Creative Writing Get in the Way of Your Message
As a creative writer when we start writing for the global market it’s important to throw alliteration, rhyming, double entendres, and all those fun world plays out the window. A perfectly paired punchy pile of prose will never come across the same way in Spanish, French or Mandarin. Trying to be cute with a message to boot will have no value as rhyme in Italy or Japan. Be very careful as you create big ideas that are weighted in words. They have the power to become watered down or not have meaning at all as they move country to country.
Aside from fun word plays, basic language can even get mismatched in translation. For example, let’s say we’re a global fitness brand in the US and we have a concept with the words stretch and the idea to open up wider, yet the Spanish version of the word, estrachar actually means the opposite, to tighten up or narrow. We would lose the message completely just because the idea doesn’t translate fluidly across borders. It’s important to think about what we are saying globally to make sure it has meaning and clarity wherever it may travel.
Value of Visuals: A Picture Doesn’t Require an Interpreter
One way to avoid word pitfalls is to let your big idea come to life visually. A picture is worth a 1000 words or doesn’t need them at all. A powerful, iconic idea may not need a line at all. Think about the Got Milk? campaign for a second. That iconic visual of a milk mustache has legs from both the US to South America. A milk mustache doesn’t change from Santiago, Chili to San Diego, California. It has value all over and we can understand what it’s saying now even without the infamous tag. Think about how you can make your visual your focus since it can be easily shared around the world with no translator needed. During The Social Shake Up day 2, Doug Busk, Director of Connections Innovation, The Coca Cola Company stated, “visual is international.” Strong words to live by.
Content Passport: Customize Your Message for Your Global Audience
During The Social Shake Up day 1 session, “Is Advertising Over? Being There with Relevant Content and Context”, panelist Chris Gomersall of Facebook stressed the value of global customization. Gomersall spoke how on Facebook you have the ability to customize your newsfeed messages for the appropriate audience. For example, earlier this year Coca Cola created the “America is Beautiful” Superbowl commercial that featured people from around the world singing “America the Beautiful”. When that video is shared on Facebook, the thumbnail that is the cover of the video could be tailored to your audience. Maybe it features an Indian woman or an Asian city for certain markets and in others it’s Americans or Hispanics. That thumbnail may increase engagement if it’s customized to the audience who can best associate with what they see. Aside from thumbnails, even headlines or subheads on the feed can be updated in the language or words that are better relatable to your given audience. Use the power of customability in certain areas to take one idea and serve it up in unique ways.
Big Ideas Are Bigger Than the Eastern Time Zone: The Importance of Posting on a 24hr clock
Once you have that big idea don’t just let it be seen just in your time zone. So often we think about 9-5, wherever we are, meanwhile someone else’s 9-5 is when you could be sleeping. It’s really important that you share your ideas not in real time, but at the right time. When users are online and engaged in their own world you need your ideas in front of them. This means if you don’t have someone who is working around the clock, you need to have timed and scheduled posts to meet the global demands. Services like Hootsuite allow you to schedule Twitter posts to post at whatever desired time you’d like. These type of services are vital to global communication and spreading of ideas.