What is Image Localization? In an increasingly interconnected world that spans national and international borders, content marketing strategies can no longer get away with focussing on one audience. Any company that wishes to appeal to a global audience can’t expect cultures in other countries to simply adapt to their message, content and visual style, they are expected to do the effort and connect with audiences. Doing so requires research and effort on your part to understand and appreciate your audiences, wherever they are, but it pays dividends in terms of long-term trust and engagement.
Here are a few things to bear in mind when creating a localized image marketing strategy:
One practical aspect of image localization is text embedding. If your images are going to be shown in multiple countries that don’t speak the same language, embedding text in one language is not going to connect to another region, and might even turn them off of your content. Ideally, make embedded text region-specific, or err on the side of caution and avoid is altogether.
Focus On The Customer
Anyone who has ever learned another language will appreciate that you don’t become fluent in that language until you learn to think in it, rather than think in your own language and translate in your head. The same goes for image localization. As Kyaw Thet, a tech blogger at Simple Grad, says: “the best strategies don’t just select one body of content and try to translate it into various other cultures, they engage with the new audiences and develop content that is specifically relevant to them.” Not only will this avoid any cultural mistakes (more on them next) but it will also make the content infinitely more engaging for diverse audiences.
Research Your Audiences
Nick Adams, a webmaster at Top UK writing services, reminds us that “Different target markets respond very differently to certain images. If you’re marketing to different countries or cultures you may find certain images are considered distasteful or even offensive in one place and perfectly fine in another. Do your research to make sure your imagery cannot be misinterpreted in any of the regions you are targetting.”
Adapt To Your Audience
Once you know which of your images play best in certain areas, put that strategy into practice. Use culturally specific images on geo-focussed domains, so that audiences know you’ve made the effort to get to know them.
If In Doubt, Stick With Neutral Imagery
This links back to the point on audience research: if you have any doubt on whether a particular image will play as you hope it would in a different country, best make sure it’s as neutral as possible. That means no depictions of nudity, alcohol or potentially illicit activities, no matter how tasteful the image might seem.
Pay Attention To Colors
Another aspect of images that varies wildly from country to country is the presence and significance of color. Color can be heavily symbolic and stir up great emotion — just think of national flags — so it pays off to do your research into your target audiences to find out what colors resonate most with them. While black is often negative in Western markets, in African regions it’s associated with wisdom, age, and masculinity. Green in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries is a sacred color, and yellow can mean caution, envy or mourning depending on where you are.
China is an attractive market to many Western companies, but they have particular relationships with color that deserve attention. Not only is the Chinese relationship to red almost completely opposite to ours — red indicates a rise in the stock market, not a fall — but they generally react better to brighter, more vibrant colors than the general American consumer.
Beatrice Potter is a marketing strategist. She works closely with a myriad of organizations to develop fully-functioning websites centered on the organization’s brand image. Her daily work includes creating marketing proposals and developing content distribution plans.