Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on Feb 4, 2015: Common Branding Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing Your Brand for the Spanish-Language Market

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http://www.merrillbrink.com -- Smart companies take the time to test product names, slogans, and even personalities used to represent those products and develop localized campaigns that are sure to appeal to buyers’ preferences.

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To be truly effective, any marketing material that is being translated into Spanish should be localized by native speakers for every subset of the Spanish-speaking market the company hopes to reach.

According to Forbes, by 2015 the purchasing power of Hispanic consumers will reach $1.5 trillion, a trend that has prompted many companies to market their brands to the growing Spanish-language market.1 Unfortunately, some companies have opted to enter the Hispanic marketplace with translated versions of current branding campaigns– only to have them backfire due to a lack of understanding of language and cultural differences between Spanish-speaking buyers.

Advertising Campaigns that Failed in Translation

You’ve probably heard the story of how Chevrolet’s Nova automobile failed to attract buyers when it was introduced to the Hispanic market. A language translation oversight was the problem. Somehow, Chevrolet’s marketing team missed the fact that no va translates to “it doesn’t go” in Spanish. Little wonder that Hispanic buyers were not rushing out to buy a car that promises it won’t go anywhere.

Chevrolet is not alone. Other big names have made similar blunders in translating their branding campaigns for the Spanish-speaking market. One of Mitsubishi’s more popular sports utility vehicles, the Pajero, failed in this market because its name literally means “a crazy man who pleasures himself repeatedly into unconsciousness.” When Purdue Chicken translated its famous slogan, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” into Spanish, the slogan read, “It takes a hard man to make a chicken affectionate.”

Not a “One Campaign Fits All” Market

“Hispanic consumers appreciate when you speak to them in their own language,” says Edward Gold, advertising director at State Farm Insurance.2 Many marketers and advertisers are well aware of this and have made the effort to create Spanish language marketing campaigns to win new customers. But as the Chevrolet and Mitsubishi examples illustrate, simply translating marketing materials into Spanish is not enough. Marketers must first understand that they cannot market to Hispanics as a single group. To be truly effective, any marketing material that is being translated into Spanish should be localized by native speakers for every subset of the Spanish-speaking market the company hopes to reach.

Different market segments also exhibit unique tendencies and behaviors based on their own culture. Failure to account for these sensitivities can also result in a failed branding campaign For example, using personalities from one segment may have a negative effect in another. A football star from Mexico may be a well-received spokesperson in his own country but anger customers in Colombia or Argentina. Even Hispanics in the United States must be treated differently, with marketers often using a mixture of Spanish and English (“Spanglish”) in their advertisements.

The buying power of Spanish-speaking has caught the attention of many companies, and for many, the race is on to reach these buyers ahead of the competition. It’s understandable that companies feel the need to rush to tap into this huge market. However, history shows how easily an important message can be lost in translation and alienate, rather than attract buyers. Smart companies take the time to test product names, slogans, and even personalities used to represent those products and develop localized campaigns that are sure to appeal to buyers’ preferences. This investment makes all the difference when it comes to finding acceptance in a demographic that has an enormous amount of purchasing power.

References:

1 Llopis, Glenn. “America's Corporations Can No Longer Ignore Hispanic Marketing Like Mitt Romney Did,” Forbes, November 12, 2012. Web.

2 Grover, Ronald. “U.S. Marketers Say Hola! to Hispanic Consumers”. April 8, 2009. Web. http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2009-04-08/u-dot-s-dot-marketers-say-hola-to-hispanic-consumers

Read full article: http://www.merrillbrink.com/branding-in-the-spanish-language-market-02022015.htm

About Merrill Brink® International

Merrill Brink International (http://www.merrillbrink.com) is a leading provider of complete translation and language solutions for global companies and law firms, with special expertise in serving the legal, financial, life sciences, software, heavy machinery and corporate markets. A proven leader with more than 30 years of experience, Merrill Brink offers a wide range of language solutions including translation, localization, desktop publishing and globalization services.

Merrill Brink is recognized in the industry for its commitment to quality and its pioneering approach of leveraging technology to reduce costs, eliminate redundant processes and accelerate translation life cycles. Merrill Brink is certified to ISO 9001:2008; ISO/IEC 27001:2005 and ISO 13485:2003, and compliant to EN 15038:2006 and ISO 14971:2007.Together, these standards provide assurance that the most stringent process and quality standards for translation are followed. Merrill Brink International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Merrill Corporation.

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