A Guide to Image LocalisationThumbs up shows how image localisation can go wrong

Do you find the above image offensive?  Chances are you don’t.

But use this hand gesture in the Middle East and you might be chased by an angry mob.

That’s because while in the UK a thumbs up signifies approval, in the Middle East it means you’re going to jam your thumb into someone’s…

Assume Nothing

When localising a website it’s really beneficial to run through an in-country review, which will help reduce the chances of offending potential customers.

An in-country review is a bit like a focus group, with native people assessing your brand.  It will flag up any images that could be seen as potentially offensive, and any perception issues.  For example, have you considered how the colours you use in your marketing are perceived in other markets?

According to Color Marketing Group, colour can be up to 85% of the reason people buy.  Think about McDonalds, Coca-Cola or Pepsi and it’s easy to imagine why colour increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.

a yellow ferrari which could be offensive without image localisation

Most people can agree that the above car looks pretty sweet in yellow.  This would be especially true in the Middle East, where yellow is linked to prosperity and happiness.

But in Egypt and some Latin American countries, yellow is the colour of mourning.  So while those cultures might still love the car, another colour might resonate better with people in those countries.

Top Tips for Image Localisation

OK, so you’re sold on the idea that you need to look at the images on your site.  You’re ready to assess them to optimise your chances of success. But where would you start?

Here are our four action points for anyone considering image localisation for their international marketing campaign.

  • Choose a language partner who understands image localisation
  • Do an in-country review to identify any potentially offensive images and make sure images support your marketing message
  • Research the connotations of your brand colours in the target market
  • Think about how you can adapt your imagery to fit the new market, but keep brand consistency

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