By Lindsay Hong, Chief Operating Officer, Locaria
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Marketing Frontiers is a new series from Stagwell exploring the methods, mediums, and messes modern marketers will grapple with over the next decade as they chart transformation in the discipline. This March, Stagwell is exploring Audio.
Audio provides disproportionate opportunities to gain cut-through in certain markets and demographics. Localization is the gateway to both accessing the best global content for US consumers, and scaling US brands worldwide.
With no images to aid understanding, successful audio localization has to be high quality, and still requires a human touch.
Approach localization the same as global media planning.
Recent research has shown a renaissance in the popularity of audio content amongst U.S. consumers, with younger segments finding audio more trustworthy than other digital channels. Additionally, as the popularity of shows such as Squid Game has recently shown, consumers in the U.S. have a growing appetite for international content. As brands shore up their global content properties in the coming years, the key to meeting the demand for international and multicultural audio content will be a smart approach to localization.
Engaging US audiences with the best creative work emerging overseas
The US audience benefits from a wealth of high-quality domestic content, produced with big budgets and starring global talent. When seeking impactful international content in this mature environment, the uncomfortable truth is that all creative markets are not equal.
Some markets have prioritized creative industries and are stronger sources for new video and audio content. The focus the South Korean government has put on creative industries as a source of regional influence since the Korean War has contributed to the success of Squid Game. The global content market is huge. As brands look to shore up their international content properties in the coming years, starting with content from markets that have already proven their creative skills in cinema could provide quick wins. For example: in Europe, Germany, France, and the UK are well known for their cinematic prowess, while the Nordic countries offer opportunities with their noir genre. Further afield, India (Bollywood) and Nigeria (Nollywood) already produce English language content, requiring less adaptation for the US.
Once great content has been found, adapting it for US audiences requires linguistic skills and deep cultural understanding. Editorial decisions have to be made in partnership with localization to ensure the original language’s drama, romance, or humor is not lost in translation. Collaborative workflows between creative and production talent are essential for making efficient adaptation decisions. Building audience data into that process can reduce subjectivity, speed up the process and reduce controversy around localization choices.
Leveraging US content to reach international audiences
While US consumers are seeking international content, authentic American stories can also play well globally. In the race to develop an audio content universe, brands should consider tapping into the expansive body of compelling U.S. podcasts and localizing them for international reach.
It’s important to note that audio content, unlike video, provides no visual aids to the consumer to support understanding, so high quality localization is even more important. Developments in AI technology and improvements in home recording equipment are reducing costs and speeding up audio localization, unlocking global audiences. However, as most creative content still requires human intervention and editorial agreement, brands should apply a targeted approach. By investing in localization where brands can have the most impact and utilizing a variety of methodologies to deliver local language content, costs can be controlled. So which markets offer the greatest opportunities to engage audiences with series like Serial or Smartless?
When it comes to the percentage of internet users consuming podcasts:
- Sweden, Norway and Denmark all over-index. The Nordics offer a wealthy consumer base, and a less competitive marketing environment than other European and English-speaking markets, providing attractive opportunities for growth.
- Spanish is becoming the second universal language for podcasting. In 2021, Mexico had a higher podcast penetration than most of Europe. Localizing to Mexican Spanish has the added benefit of offering deeper engagement with US Hispanic audiences.
Lastly, English-speaking markets can be a quick win, but to have real resonance and stand out from the competition, brands should adapt content to local English versions. They should also look at adapting content such as track listings or summaries and consider offering supplemental information explaining certain terms. This makes audiences feel better understood and drives loyalty.
- Audio provides disproportionate opportunities to gain cut-through in certain markets and demographics. Localization is the gateway to both accessing the best global content for US consumers, and scaling US brands worldwide.
- With no images to aid understanding, successful audio localization has to be high quality, and still requires a human touch. Locaria’s ISO-certified global network of highly skilled talent ensures messages have impact in any market, and protect your brand from embarrassing mistakes.
- Approach localization the same as global media planning. With an approach similar to media planning, Locaria’s content analysts ensure efficient global scaling of content across all channels, based on business objectives, and respecting budgets.
Learn more about how Locaria can help you scale your content globally here.
Locaria is a pioneering multilingual content activation agency which specializes in supporting in-house marketing and e-commerce teams, media agencies and creative production houses. We build linguistic solutions to scale content and campaigns internationally, while carefully balancing efficiency, effectiveness, creativity and quality.
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