In the early 90s, while on a trip in Silicon Valley, my car rental sported a new GPS navigation prototype that the rental company was testing. It offered accurate and useful maps while in the San Jose area. But as I drove to visit a relative in Salinas, the GPS navigation display run out of data and displayed nothing but a blank screen with the car icon in the middle and a compass on top, rendering it almost useless and sending me adrift.
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are very useful but only when local data is available. Despite of the Global name, they are useless without local intelligence!
Similarly, companies that claim to be “global” are only so where their products, website and marketing collateral are localized. Selling across the border may make you an international company, but not necessarily a global one. To be a truly global company, like a global navigation system, your products should be in use across the globe without leaving your consumers adrift.
Global Localization Strategy
Your localization strategy is therefore a central component to your globalization success. “All politics are local” Tip O’Neill once said. There is much truth in that. But you should not stop there.
Meeting local requirements is at the core of global success, but synthesizing pertinent local experiences and folding them back into your organization can take you to even higher levels. The holistic approach to becoming global is the ultimate one, where the parts and the whole all contribute to the makings of your message, product and strategy.
Therefore, if taking and keeping your company global is a strategic goal, an effective localization strategy that enables global collaboration and reverse innovation should be at the core of your competencies. If not, you should identify a reliable translation company that you can trust with this challenge.
Today, there are enterprise software solutions that help facilitate this process. Advances in technology have made localization tasks much more efficient, not only enabling simultaneous releases and international product roll-outs, but also permitting cross-cultural collaboration and reverse innovation.