Why should brands have consistent communication across cultures?
Most of marketing experts will defend the idea that brands should strive to be consistent across time and space. That is, to deliver the same message in different cultures, languages, and occasions. Furthermore, in a context that consumer have the world at their hands through their devices, it is imperative to provide a unique brand image to enhance brand perceptions and evaluations.
Brand image is conceptualized as the meaning that a brand has for consumers. It is the prime outcome of brand identity and it represents all associations connected to that brand. In other words, it can be considered a 'visible result' of the company's strategy.
With that in mind, one can notice that consistent messages make it easier to have control over brand meaning and, consequently, brand image. In addition to being easier to manage, a consistent brand also generates higher brand awareness, recognition and involvement, leading to better evaluations and higher willingness to buy.
A brand that is not able to achieve consistency can face problems such as decrease of brand value, credibility, and loss of loyalty and/or repeated purchases. That happens mainly for two reasons: First, because consumers perceive bigger uncertainty. It is almost like they feel as they can not trust the brand. Thus, buying that brand becomes illogical. Second, because inconsistent messages cause cognitive tension and, therefore, cognitive discomfort. In other words, consumers start to question their knowledge in regards to that brand because each contact that he/she has with that specific brand generates a different meaning. Imagine yourself in that situation, would you say that this brand has credibility? Would you believe that brand's advertisement? Would you think that its products are reliable? By reflecting on these questions, one can notice that brand consistency is a critical factor on consumers' purchases. Moreover, the process of content adaptation plays a key role on brand evaluation. A brand has to ensure that the customer experience will be the same in all platforms, languages and cultures.
At this point in time wouldn't you be asking me how come a brand should maintain the same message if different cultures reflect different messages? Well, of course a brand must be aware of linguistic and cultural particularities. That's exactly where internationalization comes in. Internationalizing your brand allows for the cultural and language particularities to be met whilst conveying a consistent brand identity to the public.
So if you decide to expand, make sure to choose your localization provider carefully and get your message across cultures flawlessly and consistently. Or contact us and we'll be glad to assist you.