Big brands are not the only ones that should fear cross-cultural branding issues. With access to the internet and rise in social media, every brand should be prepared for the issues they may face when it comes to branding worldwide. It has now become possible for your brand to gain international recognition with the rise in social media activity. You should now begin to ask yourselves: Will my brand get lost in translation?
Although your marketing strategies are catered to a specific target market, with social media, your marketing can travel far and wide. This creates a potential problem for brands when it comes to marketing their company or product. Whether it be the branding copy or the visuals, what works in North America, may not necessarily work in Europe or Asia. Below are some examples of how brands have encountered and dealt with this cross-cultural branding issue:
FedEx’s North American slogan, "It's not just a package, it's your business.” did not translate well in other countries. When read in a different language, it was as if FedEx was saying: “we want to handle your package.” While it’s funny now, some did not appreciate this slogan and FedEx had to scrap this idea.
The famous crispy chicken has a clean and family friendly slogan in North America: “Finger Linkin’ Good.” But when this tasty slogan was used in China, it became quite the opposite of a good time. The slogan translated to: “Eat Your Fingers Off.” If we saw this slogan, I doubt we would be eating their chicken ever again! To fix this issue, the company had to change their Chinese slogan to fit with the culture and market.
Fukushima Industries Corp.
This Japanese Freezer company recently unveiled a new mascot…however the name of their mascot definitely was lost in translation. The mascot was shaped as an egg with wings and was named “Fukuppy.” This caused an outcry from social media users, who ridiculed the Japanese company for using a mascot that linked with Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster. The company had to make public apology for the mishap.
Air Asia’s Phuket Deal
Not all translation mishaps can turn into a disaster however. As you can see from the billboard, sometimes getting lost in translation can work well for a company. A town in Asian, named Phuket, was used to advertise Air Asia’s newest flight deal, which ultimately worked in their favor. Don’t get it? Read the tag line out loud and you’ll be laughing in no time!
Gone are the days where you can pick any old branding concept made for North America. As you see from above, your branding messages can now be viewed by all. To avoid your brand getting lost in translation, we recommend booking a creative strategy session with us. At MBucher Conlsuting, we’ll sit down with you and develop a winning branding strategy that will work for you. We’ll also help you develop a solid social media plan and a crisis management plan in case you ever find yourself on a “Brands Lost in Translation” list in the future.
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