Even with an overlap of content requirements, a company needs to understand a country’s market to create better content which speaks to its core customers. Only then can there be a website structure and user journeys which will make sense for the user. They would need to be scoped out.
While much of the content will be common to the platform across all boundaries, there are a number of other issues:
What are the country regulations for a company, it’s product or its service. It may be there are safety regulations, a requirement to register for a licence to operate or to employ locally. In the EU, such regulations might be common across Europe, but, of course, the UK has made things more complex and it’s trickier still in other parts of the world. There is no point beginning the communications work until that is done (operational, not communications strategy again), but you also have to show that compliance in your communications work.
In certain parts of the world (the Middle East for example) there might be issues with certain products and services due to religious laws. Betting services that are illegal under Sharia law or food processing needing to be Halal. Again, operational issues need to be addressed in communication, or a project might be doomed.
The impact of culture of communications can be tricky to sport. Some cultures take a more formal approach to communications than others. The Western approach can be quite wry or ironic, but other cultures can seem rather more sincere and would take phrases at face value. That can lead to significant culture clash issues.
Terminology is often an issue in industries with a high degree of technicality and the issue of how you understand your users and their degree of sophistication in language is tricky in every territory. But there are also terminology issues in similar cultures with a shared language. Let’s assume you want to sell trousers in the US. They call them pants over there. Over here pants might be found under the trousers. Which they call pants. Even that isn’t easy.
Imagery needs to be accessible, relatable and not capable of causing offence. To take another simple example. Some countries in the Middle East might expect a woman to have her head covered in pictures. You might not agree with that, but that might not be a battle to enter, so a company which defiantly offers pictures of bare-headed blonde women, may not make inroads in their market. If the requirement for women to cover their heads (and faces) in certain countries is annoying to you, then that’s a justifiable position to take, but maybe not a commercial one.
Relevant case studies and success stories
Relatable and accessible also counts for case studies. A company in Nigeria may not find a tale of customer satisfaction from Stockholm all that relevant to them. If a company can’t find a success story in Nigeria, then it should at least find one in Africa. Customers want to feel they are not taking the first steps, they want the comfort of others.
Even with these covered off, there are number of elephant traps for the unwary which only the use of local knowledge can uncover. And that will take a process of constant refinement of the digital ‘products’, the iterative processes which all organisations go through.
But the prize is in opening up those new markets.
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