When it comes to boosting sales, one of the go-to tactics businesses lean on is expanding into new markets. Learn how these five international brands found success across the globe.

A one-size-fits-all marketing strategy isn’t enough to catch the eye of the today’s discerning consumer, no matter where they are in the world. That’s why more brands with their eye on expansion are customizing their campaigns to their new markets. Essentially, they are “thinking globally, and acting locally,” all with the aim to better cater to those specific customers and their unique needs.

That localization effort usually includes translating copy to the local language and creating marketing materials with regional customs and values in mind. After all, studies show that 75% of consumers prefer to buy products in their native language. Another 86% of localized marketing campaigns performed better than English-only versions.

While this is a strategy more companies are exploring, there are a handful of major brands who have already nailed this strategy. Here’s what they’re doing and how you can learn from their example.


Airbnb

5 Brands Who Killed It with Localized Content Strategies — Air BnB
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This vacation rental marketplace has seen explosive growth in less than a decade in business. Airbnb has grown to more than 1.5 million listings in over 34,000 cities across the globe. Much of that is thanks to the company’s successful localization strategy.

Building a presence in almost 200 countries meant that Airbnb had to not only translate the platform into dozens of languages (more than 26, actually), but the brand also created content marketing targeting specific markets. From Airbnb magazine (available online and in print) to targeted social campaigns to robust city guidebooks to localized experiences for tourists, the rental platform has gone to great lengths to create tailored, localized content for its growing base of hosts and travelers.

And as demonstrated in this video, Airbnb leans on voiceovers in localized videos to ensure nothing is lost in translation, as can happen with subtitles.


Uniqlo

5 Brands Who Killed It with Localized Content Strategies — Uniqlo
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In recent years, this minimalist fast-fashion brand has exploded, opening more than 1,500 stores across Europe, Asia, and the U.S. And while the brand has deep roots (and its headquarters) in Asia, it takes a strategic approach in the way it creates social media content for its varied, growing markets.

For example, the retailer localizes its Facebook pages by country. That way, it’s simple to customize the content they promote by region. So, if the marketing team needs to spread the word about a promo on winter coats in Australia while running ads for its new line of summer dresses in Macau, it’s easy to run that localized content simultaneously.


Netflix

5 Brands Who Killed It with Localized Content Strategies — Netflix
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While video streaming service Netflix has been around since 1997, much of its expansion in recent years has happened outside of North America. As of 2017, Netflix was operating in more than 190 countries, and almost 73 million of its 130+ million subscribers are outside the U.S. That’s an extraordinary expansion, considering that the streaming service was only in 50 countries as of 2015.

And while other brands localize their content to better serve targeted customer groups, as the Harvard Business Review points out, Netflix must “secure content deals region by region, and sometimes country by country. It also must face a diverse set of national regulatory restrictions, such as those that limit what content can be made available in local markets.”

Because of its ambitious push toward global expansion, Netflix had to undertake an entire localization program in order to curate local-language programming and content for customers in each country. That included strategically rolling out programming with localized subtitles, local languages to its user interface, and dubbing to existing programs.

More recently, the content strategy has expanded to creating original programming in 17 different markets. This is content that Netflix can promote to local customers. But, it also attract new audiences across its global platform.


Coca-Cola

5 Brands Who Killed It with Localized Content Strategies — Coca-Cola
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Image via The Old Major.

Unlike our previous examples, Coca-Cola sells physical products that ship across the globe. In 2016, this iconic multinational brand brought in $41.86 billion in net operating revenues. Only 15.4% of the global revenues were from North America that year.

Because of Coca-Cola’s prevalence in markets across the world, one of the brand’s big concerns is localizing its products and packaging. To ensure its line of products resonate with customers anywhere, Coca-Cola has taken great care to create localized packaging for many of its major markets.

For example, Coca-Cola localized its soda cans for the Chinese market. The revised packaging features well-known local celebrities, important events, and localized product copy on each can to catch consumers’ eye. The Chinese packaging also demonstrates the brand’s knowledge of the local market.


Johnnie Walker

5 Brands Who Killed It with Localized Content Strategies — Johnnie Walker
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Image via macondo.

You’ve likely seen an iteration of the whisky brand Johnnie Walker’s ubiquitous “Keep Walking” campaign. Originally launched in 1999, Johnnie Walker’s slogan has served as a framework that speaks to the core human desire to move forward in life—even if it’s one step at a time.

This core message translates well across cultures, languages, and regions. That’s why the whisky brand worked with agency BBH to take this campaign and localize it across 120 countries. While the “Keep Walking” theme guided each ad, Johnnie Walker and its partner agency created dozens of iterations (more than 100, to be precise). Every version had localized quotes and phrases to make each poster more relevant to its target market.

The campaign was a rousing success. Global sales spiked by more than 94% and incrementally building worldwide brand awareness.


Moving Forward With localized Content and Campaigns

Most brands constantly have growth on their mind. But, growing your sales strategically through tactics like localized content and campaigns can ensure you not only increase sales in new markets, but also drive brand recognition.

And now that you have a handful of inspirational examples of how major brands have created localized content, you can work toward creating a tailored campaign for your own brand.

Top image via Willy Barton.


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