OneForma by Centific

How to Make a Brand Succeed across the Entire Digital World

Think globally. Act locally. For decades, this philosophy has been the north star for how global businesses operate. But many global companies are learning the hard way that in the digital world, thinking globally and acting locally is more difficult than they’d imagined it would be.
January 23 2023

The Challenge

Successful global businesses understand that they need to adapt to local cultures. Even businesses such as McDonald’s that have globally recognizable identities adapt their brands for local cultures, including their menus, marketing strategies, and customer experiences.

But in the online world, global brands struggle to adapt their user experience locally, including offering content in local languages and providing a user experience tailored to the habits of local cultures. Failing to do all this can be costly: A Nimdzi Insights study of online user buying behavior conducted in over 70 countries and 66 different languages shows that 9 users out of 10 will ignore a product if it’s not in their native language.

Symptoms of a Problem Making a Brand Global

It seems counterintuitive that a business would have a difficult time keeping its online presence up to date. Isn’t digital supposed to be easier to manage than an offline presence? This may be so, but easier doesn’t mean problem free. Brands are coming to Centific asking for help to adapt their digital identity, products, and offerings for different countries. They share some critical challenges, such as:

  • Publishing content that is translated poorly for local idioms.
  • Use of colors and graphics that do not resonate with local markets. (For instance, in China, white is often used to symbolize the color of mourning, which may not be what a brand intends by emphasizing white in its imagery.)
  • A customer experience that does not resonate. For instance, a mobile app provider came to us because it was not gaining traction in Japan. Our analysis revealed that the user experience for sign-up was not personalized to how the Japanese market uses mobile.

And there are many, many more examples I could cite. Perhaps you have experienced some of them.

Why It’s Difficult to Adapt a Global Brand to Different Country Markets

Why do these problems arise? We’re finding a couple of issues getting in the way:

  • Many of the decisions about thinking globally and acting locally are being made from a central office. But headquarters is not well equipped to adapt their global brands locally. They cannot be in every market to understand the nuances of local customs. They don’t speak the language of every market they operate in.
  • Headquarters often relies on someone in a local market like China or Germany to help them localize content, language, and the user experience. But their teammates on the ground might not have the time to provide feedback. They have jobs of their own to manage about. Coordinating with HQ to provide local content and QA a website’s language is the last thing they want to do.
  • And they may not be in the best position to understand what local users want. Just because someone lives in Johannesburg, it doesn’t mean they understand how to design a great online user experience for a customer in Johannesburg.

Businesses need help. Many are turning to outside partners for expertise creating localized experiences. But they need to vet their partners carefully, asking questions such as:

  • What style guides do they use for creating content in local languages? How often are those style guides updated?
  • How well does the localization partner keep up with changing customs, such as Gen Z idioms, as well as ephemeral content such as trending hashtags on TikTok? How agile and adaptive is the localization partner?
  • How well does the localization partner apply technology such as artificial intelligence to monitor fast-changing digital behavior globally and locally?
  • How diverse and global is the pool of subject matter experts used by the localization partner? What subject matter expertise do they possess?

Businesses are discovering that their localization partners are coming up short. The level of quality varies dramatically from one partner to the next.

To provide a consistently highly quality experience for global brands, Centific has acted: the launch of Dragonfly.

A Resource for Global Brands

Dragonfly is an intelligent enterprise solution that enables businesses to gather local market, persona-based insights on your global customer experience while simultaneously delivering ROI data on your globalization and marketing investments.

Fueled by OneForma, our proprietary global talent platform, Dragonfly leverages more than 700,000 users in 200+ markets to assess a company’s brand at scale. Dragonfly empowers businesses to:

  • Enable or expand international access to their brands.
  • Build deep, meaningful connections with customers, regardless of location.
  • Improve local conversion rates.
  • Scale product usability for new markets.
  • Increase inclusivity through language accessibility.
  • Unlock access to in-market resources and support.
  • Improve the bottom line.

Dragonfly uses an intuitive interface to help global brand managers quickly and cost-efficiently understand the global customer experience of their platform, digital product, or content.

By connecting a business’s content to its platform, Dragonfly helps global businesses understand and manage the questions, domains, user personas, and markets/languages the business is targeting. With Dragonfly, a business can launch assessments in selected areas, and receive custom insights and reports detailing how they stack up with competitors, and ways to improve the customer experience locally.

As noted, we recently helped a business improve its app experience in Japan, which is an example of Dragonfly in action. Another recent example: a global technology company wanted to get a sense of how well one of its products (a content platform) was performing with its customer experience in different markets. We ran the client’s content through OneForma as well as their competitors’ and gave them a comparison score for each market. This led to various changes to how they presented content in their purchasing experience.

Contact Centific

Traditional ways of adapting products for local markets aren’t working. Relying on human judgment on the ground is not a scalable approach. But technology needs direction from people. Dragonfly combines the best of both worlds. Contact us to learn more.

Jonas Ryberg
Chief Globalization Officer, Centific

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