I have been asked lately to talk to a couple of peers in the industry about Marketing Localization at Adobe and thought this would make an interesting blog post as well.
At Adobe, Marketing Localization is centralized and consists of a team of International Program Managers, which I manage.
I believe this is still the right model for us. Adobe has offices all over the world and decentralizing marketing localization would actually introduce inefficiencies. That said, the challenge with a centralized model is to balance productivity with the ability to provide GEOs with the right process and tools so they can participate and provide valuable input around GEO-specific nuances, country specific content, etc. This is an on-going challenge and we work very closely with our Marketing Managers worldwide to conquer it.
The challenge here is the balance between giving more flexibility and freedom of expression to the regions and the use of productivity tools such as Translation Memory. If we want to leverage the savings that TMs and other tools offer to localization (and we do), we can offer some flexibility in the target content but not as much as sometimes the regions would like to have – for instance, complete re-writes of segments.
At Adobe we are aware to these issues and the key here is to work closely with the regional offices and offer them opportunities to provide feedback early on, directly into the source content, before localization starts. It also means providing opportunity for reviews on localized content that is presented in context in a process that allows for easy feedback. Our GEOs are Field Marketing Managers and we are sensitive to the amount of time spent in reviews.
There are always challenges in localization and in particular in Marketing localization, where ‘good translation’ is just not good enough.
Take the Digital Marketing BU for example. Worldwide campaigns around the digital marketing solutions have to appeal to ‘marketers’, to professionals that create marketing content, and so the ‘localization quality bar’ for the content we provide to our GEOs has been raised significantly.
Here’s an example of a recent campaign that was particularly challenging for localization due to the use of the very US centric expression “ticks them off”. For translators is not always a clear choice of words for the target language. The ‘weight’ of the expression and what it conveys need to be taken into consideration.
Regional offices are free to create their own marketing materials – International Brand Guidelines are in place and Adobe’s Brand team works directly with the GEOs to ensure a consistent interpretation and use of our brand.
We are very protective when it comes to the Adobe brand and although the regional offices are given some flexibility in terms of creating some of their own marketing materials (in their original language), Adobe’s Brand team normally is involved to make sure the materials follow the established international brand guidelines.
What regions or international markets are most difficult or challenging for localization?
I think anyone that works in localization would start by saying that Japanese is a very challenging language to localize. The idea of ‘translation’ is already something that is not appreciated by the Japanese market. A very good ‘translation’ still means ‘it’s translated’ and so it has a different flow and feel than the content that is originated in Japanese. This becomes an even greater challenge around marketing content.
At Adobe we do have a successful program for localizing marketing campaigns into Japanese and that involves working very closely with our in-country product marketing managers and employing in-country copy editors when necessary.
That said, every language and every country present challenges. We recently had to deal with orthography changes in Brazilian Portuguese, tonality changes in Spanish (formal to a more informal tone), imagery issues in the middle east, different ‘flavors’ of a single language, and so on. I guess I would say that there are no ‘easy’ regions. Our work is always interesting and we look at these challenges with a very positive attitude – these challenges are what differentiate translation from localization and it’s always exciting to be part of this process, where you see the source messaging deployed all over the world and having the intended appropriate impact in every region, around the globe.
What aspects of branding are most important to localize for regional audiences? What channels are most important?
The emphasis has greatly shifted to online content (web pages, multimedia content and social), the larger part of the content we now localize will end up on Adobe’s 57 international sites. The need for printed content has decreased but there are still certain regions that need to be supplied with printed content. We try to listen to our GEOs and provide relevant localized materials.
The Adobe ‘look and feel’ is very homogeneous in all our sites. Our regional offices have the flexibility to add country specific content but the site template is the same for all locales and all international sites are centrally managed.
Regional offices are also free to create some of their own marketing materials – International Brand Guidelines are in place and Adobe’s Brand team works directly with the GEOs to ensure a consistent interpretation and use of our brand.
I believe the big challenge now is the creation of a strong and successful Creative Cloud brand worldwide – and we are well underway 🙂
The regional offices should be an extension of your team and taken into consideration in every step of your processes and tools.