Robert Gorby of language translation technology, services and content management company SDL, asks if UK firms are ready to take a Brexit chance.
You can’t switch on the news or read the newspaper without seeing at least one mention of Brexit and its impact on the UK’s global position. The post-Brexit era is a step into the unknown and no one can be certain as to how it will play out. It goes without saying, therefore, that companies across the nation will have to alter their strategy when it comes to communicating on both a domestic and international level.
Across the Channel
Leaving the single market brings a combination of fear and excitement. Of course, the UK’s trading relationship with Europe is strong and has given businesses the opportunity to direct their content with a general European focus. However, according to SDL’s Market Reach Calculator, Germany and France are quickly gaining popularity, with 1 in 3 (28 per cent) marketers currently looking to target their content towards Germany, and 1 in 5 (21 per cent) targeting France.
Despite the fact the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, it’s important for marketers to not isolate these countries and integrate brand messaging throughout the continent. Although Europe seems local, there are over 20 different languages spoken across the continent. It is surprising to see that over a quarter (26%) of businesses don’t adapt their content when expanding into these markets. In today’s current climate, localisation has never been more important, especially when more than 80% of German enterprises use direct marketing to reach to clientele, so when competing with other European brands, poor translation and misunderstanding of culture is a fast track to a damaged reputation.
New global community
Outside of Europe, research from Thomson Reuters has shown that 70 per cent of global GDP growth is predicted to come from emerging markets by 2025. Indeed, with over 200 million people Brazil and 1 billion in China alone, it’s easy to see why.
These markets, however, require an entirely different approach. In Brazil, for example, only 66 per cent of the population are connected to the internet. In China, it’s just over half of the population (52 per cent) and India, a meagre third. Coupled with poor English proficiency, these are not the easiest consumers to reach using traditional digital marketing techniques.
Here, it’s important that marketers make the most of assets that will have the biggest impact. 2.6 million Brazilians have a blog that they update daily, for example, yet only half (48 per cent) of companies would translate their blog content for foreign audiences – a clear missed opportunity. Equally, responsiveness will be key – many emerging markets have leapfrogged desktop to go straight to mobile, so consider whether your email marketing or customer support is phone friendly.
Brexit at home
Meanwhile, consider how much you want to emphasise your British-ness on home ground. The result of the referendum illustrated a huge generation gap in the way the public voted and marketers would be naive to not consider this in their strategy. The Buying British report showed that 83% of people over the age of 55 are more likely to buy British food as a result of June’s referendum, compared to 57% of 25-34 year olds.
Strength and unity
Most importantly, for brands to navigate the current political climate, they must show consistency. Amongst the uncertainty that lingers across the country during Brexit negotiations, it is important for the public in markets within Europe and further afield to see a strong image of certainty that they can trust. Be strong, consistent and clear with your brand messages to demonstrate leadership. A strong brand message that travels across the globe will ensure that a brand succeeds.
Ultimately, Brexit will bring a new age of international trading which with it, brings endless opportunities. Whether deepening ties with the continent, building their presence in markets they may have not considered before, or looking at the home market, they key is nuancing content so that it feels personal to each market. Those companies that keep the consumer at the heart of their brand will be the ones who will reap the most success.