• Victoria Vilasanti

What does localization have to do with customer satisfaction?

Updated: Oct 1, 2018

Last post I started talking about brand consistency, right?

So now, we are going to deepen our discussion by trying to understand what happens in a consumer’s mind while processing information!

Well, every consumer is a human being, correct? As human beings, individuals have a tendency to search for consonant states of mind. That is, situations that make cognitive sense (or logic, if you want). In his book “The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance”, Leon Festinger explains that a pair of cognitions (thoughts or knowledge elements) can be either consonant or dissonant. When an individual has a pair of dissonant cognitions he enters a state called “cognitive dissonance”, which is an uncomfortable psychological state of mind. Once individuals are in cognitive dissonance, they will search for alternatives to mitigate that process and go back to a consonant state of mind. These resources to mitigate cognitive dissonance could be anything, such as: searching for new information or attempt to justify an action to the self or to others.

In a consumption context, cognitive dissonance has enormous consequences to a brand’s relationship with consumers. Considering that a consumer has a pool of options to buy a product. When he does choose a specific product he is making a decision of a brand (product) over the other. Consequently, it’s imperative to the consumer that he knows that he has made the best decision. Note that, this process of maintaining a consonant and comfortable state of mind occurs, for the part, unconsciously.

That said, when a consumer gets to know a brand he forms an image of that brand in his mind, creating a unique meaning. Remember, brand image refers to the “visible result” of branding efforts. So, when a consumer buys a product (or service) from a specific brand he expects a certain “behavior” from that brand according to his previous knowledge. If this consumer receives information that goes against that knowledge (especially after a purchase) he will suffer from cognitive dissonance. Moreover, this uncomfortable state of mind can lead consumers to feel guilt and regret, to break their trust, to perceive less brand value and credibility, and to decrease satisfaction and loyalty. Furthermore, consumers could try to mitigate cognitive dissonance by returning products and spreading negative word of mouth (WOM).

For instance, if a consumer buys a product from a brand that he is loyal to and, while traveling to another country or surfing on the internet, he faces massages in other languages that brings out different brand meaning, he will start a process of cognitive dissonance. One can notice, therefore, that accurate translation and localization of contents

have a strong influence on consumer satisfaction. Notice that it is not a direct cause and effect relation. Nevertheless, it happens because consumers, as any other human being, are susceptible to the occurrence of cognitive dissonance. Hence, localization is an important tool that helps to avoid dissonant information processing, which, in turn has an impact on consumers’ attitude and behavior towards a brand.

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