It’s the age of online video marketing. It’s also the age of reaching out to customers and prospects across the globe. But putting together a killer global video marketing strategy isn’t quite so simple. You can’t just translate your voice over so it speaks the right language to your chosen local market.
Oops. You thought that? Well, think again.
Research every market
Spend some time researching every market in which you plan to show your video. You’ll need to look at tech adoption in the first instance. For example, if your video features a smartphone, what is the most used smartphone in that country? Because that should be the phone used in your production. And what are the local audience’s tech usage habits? If they’re primarily smartphone based, the video needs to be designed with that in mind.
Then it’s worth exploring local customs. The best was to do this is to speak to a local. Ask them to review your script and discuss your concept with them. They’ll be able to spot opportunities to localise your content and ensure you don’t alienate or confuse viewers. For example, while “pants” means “trousers” in the US and South Africa, it’s “underwear” in the UK. That can lead to many an hilarious miscommunication.
Take the time to ensure these errors are spotted so they can easily be fixed. That’s best before production starts!
Decide on how to tackle voice over
If your video uses voice over, you’ll need to consider how this will work in multiple languages. You have two options here.
If you’re on a tight budget, it is okay to use subtitles. It’s not ideal though – subtitles detract from the viewer experience, especially when viewed on a smartphone screen. Keep in mind that smartphones are the digital device of choice by far across the globe. You don’t want your messaging so small it’s hard to read.
To give viewers the best experience of your video (leading to better engagement and conversion results), re-record the voice over in the target language. Voice123 can certainly help you out in this regard. It does mean hiring multiple professional voice actors – which will drive the price up.
Figure out what to do about your script
If you’re recording voice over in multiple languages, script length is likely to change. For example, a 60-second English-language script might become 70 seconds when translated into Mandarin.
Your production team must be able to adapt for this by lengthening scenes to facilitate the extra narration time. This could mean slowing down transitions, extending scenes or adding visual flourishes.
Review text and symbols
Any text in your video will then need to be translated into each new language. That means you need to think carefully about which signs and symbols to use. And keep in mind that a direct translation might not always be appropriate. You’ll have to work with your production team and local market consultant to find ways around that.
While the dollar is the universal currency, most people who don’t use the dollar don’t think in dollars. It’s therefore important to update any references to money to look more like the local currency.
Localise the visuals
If your videos will be used in different regions, your global video marketing strategy must include localised visuals. Say your explainer video for a new tech company is about booking taxis. Ideally, animate the taxis as black cabs for a UK audience, yellow cabs for an American audience, and so on.
Make the characters relatable
If your video contains characters or people, it’s important to ensure that your viewers can relate to these characters. You might decide to design animated characters or choose voice actors that represent a broad range of ethnic backgrounds. If that doesn’t work for your production, then an alternative is to use neutral characters. Have your production team design characters that are abstract and avoid any one ethnicity, age, or even gender.
Do you need multiple videos?
After considering this checklist, you might decide different markets are too far apart to be served by one video. Then it’s worth re-examining your budget. See how you can use it creatively to produce a number of videos to cover a number of regions.
And finally: may your global video marketing strategy be a tremendous success!
The author of this article is Heather Baker. She’s founder and CEO of TopLine Film and TopLine Comms. TopLine Film is a global video production company, producing corporate videos, animations, case studies and training videos for a wide range of clients including Microsoft, Cambridge University and Sony.