March 18, 2021

How To Adapt Your Style Guides For International Markets

Localising content is an essential building block of any international marketing strategy. Because online consumers favour shopping with information in their native language, producing content tailored to specific audiences must be a top priority for businesses with global ambitions. 
Communicating effectively across markets while keeping a consistent brand voice and style is not without its challenges; which is why creating an international style guide is the key to ensuring your brand remains the same across the globe and in different languages. 
An international style guide: where to start 
A style guide is much more than just grammar and spelling; it defines what a brand sounds like and how it communicates with its audience. This makes it an invaluable tool that will enable the writers, linguists, and creatives to produce time-efficient localised content that is both effective and aligned with brand guidelines.  
Many brands already have a style guide for their domestic market but may find it tricky to make it work across languages. Here are a few things to bear in mind when working on an international guide: 
• Use simple, straightforward language to describe the company, brand positioning statement and customer personas. It’s a good idea to avoid colloquialisms, jargon, and cultural references that are specific to one market. Instead, using direct language will make it easier to understand what a brand is all about and, in turn, how to correctly refer to it. Customer personas will mostly remain the same across markets, so including one or two lines about them will come in handy when creating new content. 
• Define the tone of voice. How a brand wants to communicate with its potential customers will remain basically unchanged across languages. Is its tone informative, friendly, or serious? Is the style formal, or informal? Does it use the second person to address its audience, or prefer a more distant approach? Identifying these elements in advance, and in as much detail as possible, will be incredibly helpful for writers and linguists, and help reduce the need for additional edits. 
• Be specific about usage and formatting. Giving general guidance on the use of slang and specialised terminology, and mentioning whether there are any banned words or terms is another great way to ensure uniformity. Information on the formatting of numerals, currency, dates, lists, acronyms, and abbreviations, as well as directions on capitalisation and punctuation, also need to be acknowledged. 
• Include examples whenever possible. Dos and don’ts can be a useful way to provide examples of how (and how not) to implement the recommendations and directions in the guide. 
Support from experts, every step of the way 
Once a brand enters the global marketplace, maintaining its style and voice can be a challenging task. THG Fluently can help you create international style guides to ensure the key components of your brand stay the same across the globe. Our experts will work alongside your marketing and sales teams to help you craft clear guidelines to communicate consistently and effectively with your audiences, no matter where they are. 
At THG Fluently, we’ve been providing translation services to businesses for more than 17 years. In that time, we’ve learned what it takes to support brand reputation and growth in international markets through linguistic and localisation services. So, if you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business by creating international style guidelines that will keep your voice uniform across markets, feel free to get in touch.

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