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25 July 2011

Digital media facilitate localization as well as globalization


In my book, The Global Brand, I highlighted contrasting trends towards globalization and localization and last year, I reported on one localization trend that is still going strong: the rise in the number of farmer’s markets.

At the time I could not substantiate the other localization trends, but news that teenagers are reviving local languages via social media suggests that this trend is also alive and well.

While some people are deliberately trying to use crowd sourcing to revive dying languages, others are using these languages to be cool. Bizarre though it might sound, teens in southern Chile are producing hip-hop videos and posting them on YouTube using Huilliche, a language on the brink of extinction.Books_globalbrand

This came to my attention via Mobiledia, which also reported that Samuel Herrera, who runs the linguistics laboratory at the Institute of Anthropological Research in Mexico City, discovered teens in the Philippines and Mexico who think it's cool to send text messages in regional endangered languages like Kapampangan and Huave.

The post posits that the attraction of these languages is that they offer exclusivity now that texting abbreviations have become commonplace. While this sounds a perfectly reasonable explanation, I believe that the use of languages like these is simply part of a larger need to affirm local cultural identity in the face of increased globalization.

Another data set that points to the same conclusion is one far more relevant to marketers: local pages for global brands in social media. Millward Brown's Dave Barrowcliff sent me this link to socialbakers.com that demonstrates that country specific fan pages tend to be more engaging than their global equivalent.

Indeed I reported in The Global Brand that YouTube found dwell time was far higher on its country specific sites than on the global one. The reason is simple. On a country specific site, people tend to share the same cultural frame of reference, sense of humor and language. It is easier and more enjoyable to express your ideas and share them with other people when they are quick to “get it.”

Findings like these should give pause to the people who assume that because the Internet is global, they must present a unified global face to their brand online. Some consistency may be required but how it is expressed may well need to differ locally.

Does anyone have any other examples of increasing localization to share? Do you think these trends are likely to last?

This post was written by Nigel Hollis, as spotted on the M&M blog.


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Nigel great blog and stimulating to think about this technology being able to save languages and cultures from extinction. I believe this is basic in our DNA to know our roots our nationality and our desire to in some way be unique as an individual.
My hope is that technology will also lead to saving extinct species of plants, animals and fish ---

I was stumped by this entry. Nice one! I never realized how much of a big this is issue is. It was before and is still today! It will be in the future. I can tell. Nice one. Thanks

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