Or what if your clients perceive something else about your brand message while you want to convey something entirely different?
That could pose a pretty bad impression on your brand image; unfortunately, there are many instances in which such incidents have happened. It often occurs when companies globalise their brand through cross-cultural campaigns.
But how is that possible when your brand message is the same for a specific marketing campaign? Well, one of the major reasons could be a poor translation used in such campaigns that might miscommunicate the brand message. These “miscommunications” often happen due to a lack of cultural awareness and nuances when a brand literally translates the brand message from one language to another.
The consequences could be really bad, believe us!
Let’s understand this through an example. Suppose you work for an organisation where you have a decent image, and everyone admires you. Now, consider you are transferred to a different team abroad where people are not fluent in English. To communicate with them, you used an ordinary word-to-word translator.
Unfortunately, one day, you wrote an email to your project head using that translator that turned out to be offensive in their regional language. What he understood of your message was entirely different from what you wanted to convey. However, due to a poor translation lacking cultural relevance and understanding, you were thrown out of the project at the same moment.
And that’s not it. Although you had a good image among the team you last worked with, the incident severely impacted that, too.
Well, you might have understood the message here. The same can happen with your brand image too. Remember, just because a marketing campaign poses a success story in one country does not necessarily mean it would also be a hit in the global markets. In fact, for the worse, such global campaigns can go far beyond offending the international markets.
Without the assistance of an experienced, culturally adaptive, and aware team that helps your business talk like a local, it would be challenging to recreate an authentic and resonating brand message in the global market.
The Sweden home appliances company entered the US market to promote one of their vacuum cleaners with the tagline: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.“
Although the sentence was grammatically correct, it also had a double entendre, meaning Electrolux is good for nothing. Well, who will buy something that’s of no use at all?
One of the famous examples of the translation-gone-wrong category is Pepsi. When the company entered the Chinese market, the translation of its marketing campaign “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life.” went way more literal than expected.
In Chinese, the translated version of the tagline meant “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave.” It wasn’t only humoristic but left a bad impression on the nation whose people believe in ancestor worship as a part of their culture.
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American chicken company Perdue Chicken came up with a clever tagline, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.” to enhance brand awareness. However, their branding strategy went wrong when they entered the Spanish market.
The translated version of this message ended up something like this, “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate.” Well, neither the line made sense nor this marketing campaign in Spain!
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One of the oldest and most popular brewing companies in America, Coors has also been a victim of the wrong context and translation. Their advertising team introduced a campaign with the slogan “Turn It Loose!” in the Spanish market to appeal to the people having a good time while drinking their beverage.
However, the idea went entirely different as the meaning of this phrase as per direct translation in Spanish was “Suffer from Diarrhoea!” And obviously, nobody wants that, right?
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Like many other companies facing translation issues regarding brand messages, HSBC has also been there. Their tagline stateside was “Assume Nothing,” which was completely fine. However, it didn’t work out in the overseas market.
The resulting translation in many countries was “Do Nothing,” which was definitely not the message the company wanted to convey to its customers. Due to this translation error, HSBC had to spend around $10 million to fix it and come up with a new tagline.
Like these, many more popular brands have committed the same mistake in some way or another while translating brand messages into the global markets.
However, almost all of them have learned the same lesson: ‘Conquering new markets is accomplished by following the right marketing tactics, and right marketing means translating the ideas, not just the words!’
Reading until this point, you might understand how important a brand message is for a company. On top of that, you would probably be wondering how crucial it is to translate your brand message in a way so that its real essence is not lost.
Well, both of your considerations are correct, and that’s why it becomes essential to know about some factors that can make or break your brand image in the global markets while translating the brand message. Besides this, you must ensure that you are using the right resources and considering professional translation services that communicate with your customers in their native language.