Going Global is Easy – Tips to make it REAL

May 4, 2009

When I hear I want to go Global and when I look at execution strategy for initiatives,localization is an afterthought. How can you grow GLOBAL when you have not considered Localization as part your core business strategy?

Here are the 5 tips that will help you become more productive and efficient:

1. Design Localization Strategy : Make localization discussion part of your core business strategy if you are planning to extend your programs to scale out of United States (AKA English). Localization is a High Cost Value Proposition if this is not planned cleanly. The localization strategy must be clearly aligned which means, you need to have this information:

  • What markets are you planning to enter or grow –> Define the need: languages, content and people to work with
  • Which audience you are engaging –> English Speakers, Dual Language Speakers, Native Speakers
  • How many people will be using –> Determine which core languages you want to prioritize, every language addition = add costs
  • When do you want to launch –> Determine the timeliness; vendors; people to engage
  • What will be the ROI –> Write a business impact statement (example: Localized 12 content pieces in 12 languages; driving revenue of 25 million; capturing 100 million eyeballs; increase satisfaction by 3 points and saving 100K/month in support costs)
  • How much $$ do I need –> All the above will provide an estimate for effort required to localize

2. Define Specifics: To make localization cost effective, deliver high quality and increase time to market, you need few things to be very clear.

  • Management Support – Secure the right support from management before execution-which means written signoff
  • Content – How many pieces of content (Web, Sales/Marketing, Technical, Tools) are you planning to localize.
  • Budget – How much budget you are planning to invest
  • Timeframe – When do need to bring all the pieces to market at the same time so impact is very high
  • Vendors – Which Vendors to select -Local or Global
  • People – Who has experience to execute at Global Level
    Impact – What business impact your are planning to deliver
    Measurement – How to measure end to end touchpoints experience
    Add all the above information, to help you prioritize for execution.

3. Execute Localization – Once you have designed and defined specifics, it is time to execute. This is the step where rubber meets the road. Here are the things to make execution very smooth and effective, which are:

  • Define Core Team – Ensure you have all the key stakeholder
  • Share the Business Impact – Ensure everyone on the team is aware of the impact (applies Vendors who are supporting the cause)
  • Weekly Checkins – Ensure you are engaging with the teams to checkin
  • Give Kudos – Recognize every week in your checkin for someone who had made an impact
  • Communicate (UP-DOWN-SIDEWAYS) – Take this seriously. Build a standard template to share weekly/monthly progress on changes, impact. This will take you a long way to keep you sponsor supporting the work.

4. Measure Adoption: This is a step we usually forget after localization is done. If you want to assess the impact, you need to measure adoption. Once your content is localized, you need to track who is adopting it. Here is how you track:

  • Go back to your design – Identify key people from your market and ask for their adoption plan. This usually changes so much that you will give up very easily. Automate the process by doing GIVE/GET model.
  • Give Incentive if you want to see traction.
  • Do Community Sharing calls – Get all the market leaders to share how they are adopting and landing the content in the market. This is where you see creative juices flowing. Connect People and Ideas.

5. Measure Business Impact – After all the steps above, measuring business impact will not be difficult. You will realize the business impact if you connect People and Ideas. Once you reach the impact and beyond, communicate.

  • Write a best practice and share with others.

Let me know if you would be interested in resources such as Globalization; Localization Design Model; Business Impact Creation Model; Project Management Templates.