Imagine your sales team is assigned one district. Imagine they’re doing well and reaping a record number of contracts from one district. Now imagine that one of your top salesmen comes to you and offers to expand your reach from one territory to twenty new territories. What would you say?
Every entrepreneur would jump on the chance to extend their demographic reach, and multicultural marketing is designed to do just that. Often referred to as cross-cultural marketing, the approach is designed to broaden brand appeal to a more far-reaching audience, and in turn, increase revenue.
However, cross-cultural marketing involves a lot more than translating your content in different languages. It’s about creating content that has a wide multicultural appeal. This is a two-fold task. First, your choice of words, language, and tone needs to be universally accepted. For example, American content tends to be more enthusiastic with frequent use of punctuated slang and excessive use of exclamation marks. European content on the other hand, tends to be more professional, while favoring a syntax structure that’s not quite as direct as their cousins across the pond. Meanwhile, Middle Eastern and Asian territories infuse more discretion and respect in their language, always favoring more formal undertones over casual ones embraced by their Western counterparts.
The second task involves creating content that has what Tony Maiella labels as “transcreation.” In a SkyWord blog post titled “The Art of Transcreation: Building a Multicultural Content Marketing Workflow,” Maiella offers the following example:
“I’m currently managing a project that targets tourists headed to the FIFA World Cup. Brazil has exotic fruits, animals, and foods that aren’t well-known in other countries. Take the guarana fruit, for instance. Every Brazilian recognizes this fruit, as it is a main ingredient in soft drinks, but most others wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what it is or how it tastes. While you look silly explaining the fruit’s qualities to a Brazilian, you will find it necessary when addressing an English speaker. This isn’t rocket science, but culturally unique details that require an explanation can increase the resources you need to complete the job on a budget.”
A way to handle potential gaffes, and the resulting wasted time and expense, is to have a team of integrated writers across the cultures and territories you want to market. This way, you’re able to not only develop a cohesive strategy that has wide appeal, but you’re also able to troubleshoot any problems and can take advantage of local resources provided by remote writers.
Diana Ruiz-Olvera of Skyword shares the benefits such teams bring, adding that “not only will your writing team be able to propose unique topics, but they may suggest new approaches to (or perspectives on) content writing and provide you with information that you couldn’t unearth through data analysis or research alone.” She continues, “Having grown up different cities and, in some cases, countries, international writers fully grasp the collective identity of their birthplaces. They instinctively know the best ways to reach and engage audiences in their particular locations. They possess knowledge not only of their cultural histories and social structures, but also the beliefs, values, and traditions that hold strong symbolism and emotional depth—all of which are the key elements of inspirational stories.”
Multicultural doesn’t always mean reaching out to new territories worldwide; it can also mean reaching out to different cultural, religious, and ethnic groups locally. In recent decades, African American markets and (more recently) Hispanic markets were targeted, with entire channel and publications created to cater to these communities exclusively. Today, most big name manufacturers still retain an entire Hispanic arm in their overall marketing campaign. Even more recently, we’ve seen the spike in the appeal to a Muslims demographic – with the American Muslim consumer marketed estimated to be worth billions and the halal/kosher food market worth $547 billion alone. It’s clear that extending your business reach by embracing cross-cultural marketing is about more than just feel good campaigns; it’s a highly lucrative market that’s just beginning to unfold.
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