MEDIA & MARKETING | Charlton Media Group, Hong Kong
Sophia Lai

Localizing content for the global audience


Content marketing is the strategy of developing and distributing valuable and relevant content to engage, acquire and attract target customers in order to achieve marketing and business goals.

With start-ups and SMEs growing like mushrooms across Asia especially in Hong Kong, content marketing plays a key role in business promotion.

When creating content-driven marketing, it is important for your content to be relevant, educational and entertaining to your audience based on their customs, rituals and culture. 

Relevant story-based content with a less direct sales message tends to work better for catching the initial attention of customers at the early stage of the buying cycle.

For audiences at the later stage of the buying cycle, a more direct message with specific promotional offerings tends to be more effective. Besides fine-tuning the balance between push and sell in creating content, relevance is a key part that should be addressed from the outset with a clear segmentation strategy.

Over the past decade, the Internet has emerged as a marketing enabler and lowered the barriers to entry for companies that want to do business in the global market.

Multinational companies can now reach out to the globalized audience with its website and an e-commerce solution. The question is: what is the most effective way of engaging the audience?

Proper content localization is the answer. Doing business in different countries requires planning and a strategic approach that addresses not only presentation language, but cultural differences in each target market.

There also lies the difference between content “translation” and the concept of “localization” — bridging these variances — and in doing so, making the content truly relevant from a standpoint of local context.

Relevance is always a key part that should be addressed from the outset with a clear segmentation strategy. There’s no set rule on drawing a fine line between what is too much branding in your content, the key is to associate your brand in a way that is relevant to your audience.

Even common languages such as German, French and Spanish can have distinct regional variances in dialect, semantics, and slang, depending on geographic variances as well as variation between demographics such as younger audiences and education levels.

Content localization, which goes beyond mere linguistic translation, can help to smooth any rough edges in written material.

Hong Kong is often described as the quintessential East-meets-West city and it possesses a distinct and unique culture.

Despite the fact that Hong Kong and Taiwan are very close to each other geographically, the values of the people in the two places and how they interact with the others are somewhat different due to different cultural backgrounds and socio-economic factors. Marketers have to be sensitive about cultural differences in different countries and even cities.

Despite the importance of localization, the underlining brand values and culture cannot be undermined. When developing a marketing strategy that can be easily translated to reach a global audience, it is necessary to consider the following:

° Who is the audience that we intend to reach?

° What are the taboos and rituals of the audience?

° Is the content localization designed to communicate at a technical or emotional level?

Marketers have to keep in mind that consumers often make purchasing decisions at an emotional level. Having said that, marketers still need to understand and associate technical details to use and implement the product or service.

Content strategy is seen as an integral part of the marketing planning process as more and more marketing leaders look at their content marketing resources and ask if they are being deployed in the most effective way. Proper content localization is essential and is a key consideration for any such planning.


Sophia, among other experts will be sharing their case studies and strategies on the creation and delivery of relevant and valuable content, at a 2-day Content Strategy & Marketing Conference organised by Pacific Conferences, to be held in Hong Kong from 4-5 November 2013.

Event Details

Title: Content Strategy & Marketing Conference

Date & Venue:

4 - 5 November 2013, Regal Hongkong Hotel, Hong Kong;

7 - 8 November 2013, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore

Organiser : Pacific Conferences

Contact Person : Ms Charmaine Neo

Tel : (65) 6592 7352


Full programme can also be found at:

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Hongkong Business. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Sophia Lai

Sophia Lai

Sophia Lai is the Head of Marketing of Groupon Hong Kong, overseeing brand strategies, digital marketing and communications activities of the company. 

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