From local to global: The evolution of localization strategies

by Marina Rusinow


The way we interact with global audiences has gone through a major makeover, all thanks to the digital revolution. In today's interconnected world, businesses are no longer confined within the borders of their home countries. Nailing your expansion strategy comes down to one word: localization. It's the secret sauce for connecting with consumers from different corners of the globe, smashing through language and cultural barriers, unifying your brand, and unlocking new opportunities for business expansion. 

In fact, about 73% of customers prefer to buy from websites that speak their language, according to the Harvard Business Review.

But localization is so much more than language. How can you ensure your message hits the mark no matter where it's heard? The answer lies in understanding the cultural and geographical attributes of your customers and how those attributes influence their buying decisions.

Localization in practice

These examples illustrate the various dimensions of localization beyond language translation, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive and culturally sensitive approach when expanding globally.

  1. Cultural representation in visuals: Tailoring visuals to resonate with local culture

  2. Localized customer support: Providing support in the customer's native language

  3. Adapting to regional trends: Aligning products or services with local trends

  4. Legal compliance illustration: Adhering to local legal requirements and regulations

  5. Localized social media engagement: Customizing social media content for diverse audiences

  6. Celebrating local holidays: Acknowledging and participating in local celebrations

  7. User-generated content across cultures: Showcasing diverse user experiences globally

  8. Global collaboration: Fostering collaboration among teams from different regions

  9. Localized packaging design: Adapting packaging to suit local aesthetics

  10. Multilingual marketing collateral: Presenting marketing materials in multiple languages

What is localization?

Localization is not merely translating words from one language to another. It is a comprehensive process of adapting your content, products, and services to the culture, preferences, and requirements of a specific target market. It's about speaking the language of your audience, not just linguistically but also culturally, economically, and legally.

Let's explore the evolution of localization strategies and understand why they are critical for businesses aiming to expand globally.

Localization vs translation

Localization goes beyond mere translation. It involves a deep understanding of cultural nuances. Does the color red symbolize luck in your target market, or does it denote danger? How should you lay out your content to appeal to your audience's aesthetic sensibilities? What images or visuals would resonate with them? Are there any local laws or regulations that you need to comply with? All these factors are taken into account while localizing content.

Even marketing practices are tailored to cater to specific markets, such as optimizing keywords, link-building strategies and lead-generation techniques to align with local search behavior.

Understanding cultural fit

Localization is a powerful tool to overcome cultural barriers. It helps businesses to understand, respect, and align with the preferences and norms of different markets. By crafting content that reflects local cultures and values, businesses can effectively engage with their target audience and foster brand loyalty.

Imagine trying to sell a product without understanding the needs, tastes, and preferences of your consumers. It's like shooting in the dark, isn't it?

Business benefits of localization

The benefits of content localization are manifold. It increases sales by addressing the language needs, marketing practices, and preferences of diverse audiences. It helps build brand loyalty by showing an understanding of the target market and creating a connection with customers.

Localization also enhances brand integrity by avoiding cultural faux pas and ensuring consistency across global markets. Moreover, it reduces customer support costs by providing localized troubleshooting guides and content in the preferred language of the customers.

Global footprint with a local feel

The evolution of localization strategies from simple translation to comprehensive content adaptation has been a game-changer for businesses expanding globally. A nuanced and well-executed localization strategy not only ensures linguistic accuracy but also embraces the richness of cultural nuances, fostering a sense of connection and belonging among global consumers. Brands that go beyond mere translation and delve into the intricacies of local cultures demonstrate a commitment to understanding and respecting their diverse customer base.

By resonating with local sensibilities, businesses can establish an emotional connection with consumers, transcending language barriers and creating a lasting impact. To sum it up, localization transforms a brand from being a mere product or service provider into a cultural collaborator operating on a global scale. So, if you're planning to go global, remember, localization is not an option but a necessity. It's not just a matter of words—it's about crafting an immersive and authentic experience for every individual, turning the challenges of global expansion into opportunities for meaningful, personalized engagement.

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Marina Rusinow is a Senior Manager of Solutions Marketing at Contentstack with over a decade of product marketing experience

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Five composable technology trends that will define 2024

Amidst game-changing shifts in the digital landscape, understanding the impact of composable technology is pivotal for businesses seeking a competitive edge in 2024. With personalized content, consistent and connected journeys, new features that make your digital life easier, and robust security measures ensuring your data's safety, composable technology is the secret sauce behind future-ready business operations.We have identified five key trends that businesses can’t afford to ignore. These trends will define how businesses stay ahead of the competition in 2024 and retain their best customers. This evolution of the modern consumer experience is not only the norm, it’s the expectation. We’re not just talking about another tech fad here; these are the trends that are already redefining how businesses operate, how consumers interact with brands, and how personalized digital experiences are delivered. 1. Composable content: The new normThe term “composable content” refers to a method of content creation where content is broken down into small, reusable building blocks and then these blocks can be combined and recombined to suit various digital channels.In 2024, composable content will become the norm rather than the exception. Businesses increasingly recognize its value, as it allows content teams to tailor content to specific audiences and platforms without reinventing the wheel each time.One of the key drivers behind this trend is the rise of mobile apps and other digital platforms. Composable content allows businesses to deliver a consistent message across all these platforms, enhancing the overall customer experience."As we navigate the evolving landscape of consumer expectations, the agility offered by composable content becomes indispensable. Businesses are poised to adopt a more modular approach to content creation, enabling them to assemble and reassemble digital experiences to match the precise needs of the moment. This fluidity ensures that our messaging remains not only relevant but perfectly timed and targeted, meeting our audience exactly where they are."- Neha Sampat, Contentstack CEO2. Composable design: Flexibility at its bestComposable design takes the principles of composable content and applies them to software development and architecture. In a composable design framework, software is built using autonomous, exchangeable components that can function independently or together. This approach enables developers to build complex systems with simple parts, allowing for greater flexibility and scalability.As we move into 2024, expect to see a surge in the adoption of composable design principles. This trend will be driven by the need for businesses to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and customer preferences.“In 2024, we will witness the rise of composable architecture as the new standard for technology innovation. Just as LEGO bricks allow you to build anything you can imagine, composable technology will empower businesses to assemble customized solutions, adapting swiftly to evolving needs. The era of rigid, monolithic systems is coming to an end, making way for a more flexible, agile and cost-effective future.”– Jasmin Guthmann, VP MACH Alliance and Head of Corp Communications, Contentstack3. Composable DXPs: The future of content managementComposable digital experience platforms (DXP), with a headless CMS at its core, are set to revolutionize how businesses manage and create content. 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Imagine being able to leverage the power of generative AI to compose unique products, services or experiences tailored to your audience. Composable tech and generative AI are poised to revolutionize industries and empower individuals and businesses to push the boundaries of what's possible. “The simple tasks are going away now that AI is here. We traditionally spend so much time designing interfaces to make doing simple tasks easier (how many screens should this be? Is the button in the right place?) but now so much of that can be done on our behalf. It’s really changing the interface for doing work as drastically as the advent of the web did.”– Conor Egan, Vice President of Product and Engineering, Contentstack5. Prioritizing composability in application planningGartner forecasts that by 2024, 70% of large and medium-sized enterprises will prioritize composability in their application planning. 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The future of travel content: Unlocking the potential of composable experiences

The holiday season is upon us, and there is nothing more enticing than finding the perfect travel offer right when the weather gets colder and everyone dreams of an easy trip home for the holidays — or the perfect winter getaway. And that means travel companies are on the hook for providing that perfect offer, to millions of travelers, all looking for something just right, just for them. Composable content makes that task easier than ever. The concept of composable content is revolutionizing how we create, manage and deliver travel and tourism-specific digital customer experiences. It's a dynamic shift from traditional monolithic content creation to a more flexible, efficient and scalable approach.What is composable content in the travel industry?Composable content is designed to be reusable, rearranged and reassembled in different ways across multiple platforms and contexts. It's like building blocks — creating smaller, self-contained content pieces that can be compiled into a larger, more comprehensive travel experience.Each module independently holds value but can be combined and recombined to create diverse omnichannel offerings without the need for repetitive content creation. For example, Icelandair uses composable content to serve localized content in 12 languages, to 16 local markets, all with a relatively small team of content editors. This way, they can serve customers in their local language and create custom travel offers for every region, all from one central content platform.The power of composable experiencesThe force-multiplying power of this approach lies in its inherent flexibility and efficiency. It allows for more efficient travel and tourism-related content production. Instead of creating new content for every scenario, modular content enables repurposing and re-packaging existing modules as needed. This reduces the time and resources spent on content creation and ensures a consistent brand voice and message across all channels.Composable content also makes updating information significantly easier. Instead of searching through extensive page backlogs to make updates, with composable content, you simply update the relevant module and the changes are naturally propagated through any channel that uses that module.Additionally, in the era of highly personalized travel and tourism experiences, composable content shines through its ability to adapt to individual needs. Modules can be rearranged, substituted and assembled based on specific preferences, allowing for a truly tailored travel digital content experience.Travel experience brand GetYourGuide uses composable content modules to create exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experiences — called “Originals” by GetYourGuide — that are promoted using rich videos and influencer content, allowing them to reach new audiences in new markets compared to their regular suite of traditional travel offers.Empowering content creatorsTo harness this force-multiplying power, content creators need to be able to execute a customer-data-driven content strategy. They need to identify the core travel messages, divide them into logical modules, and ensure each module is self-sufficient and capable of standing alone.Essentially, they're creating a content library, which content creators can draw from and combine in countless ways to craft unique, personalized travel experiences. It goes without saying that technology that supports composable content is paramount to successfully executing this approach. Pedro Torres, Product Manager at GetYourGuide, says leveraging Contentstack composable technology has been a game-changer for content editors. “Contentstack helped us establish pre-approved components where users can quickly create content and drop it into flexible templates, transforming our approval processes and how we think about new experiences.”Content reigns supreme in the travel industryThe future of travel and tourism digital experiences is indeed modular. As we navigate the ever-changing digital landscape, the force-multiplying power of composable content will become increasingly apparent in the travel and tourism industry.Composable content offers a streamlined, efficient and adaptive approach to content creation perfectly suited to our dynamic digital age where content reigns supreme. It's not just about creating content anymore — it's about composing unforgettable travel and tourism experiences.

Building a scalable DXP - Part 3

In parts one and two, we covered the basics of building a scalable DXP and how to scale your DXP. In taking on the initiative to scale your DXP, it is fundamentally important to know why you are doing it.Let’s dive in.Why should I scale?If building and scaling your DXP sounds like a lot of work and critical thinking, it is. So why should you do it? You may be enticed by the revenue you want to increase or the costs you want to decrease, but if your reasoning only extends to cash flow, you will open yourself and your company up to potentially bad decisions. Of course, any sound strategy you take with your digital experience platform (DXP) ought to lead to increased financial returns on your investment and effort, but that is only one of many potential outcomes. If those additional returns aren’t quickly felt by the team undertaking the work and feeling the brunt of the change process, such as in a bonus strategy or revenue share, then those returns won’t be durable enough to instill a lasting approach to scalability in your digital organization.A DXP puts the customer firstThe first reason you want to build a scalable DXP is for your customers. Adopting a scalable approach will allow you to reach them better, faster and more efficiently. It will allow you to continue to evolve your mission and increase your engagement with your audience. Scalability for your DXP means your customers can efficiently interact with your brand, including sales, support and even your community of customers. It means that orders are accurate and filled quickly. It means that the latest and greatest news and information from your company are always right there ready for your customers to experience in their preferred context. Create and manage more contentIt also means that you can create and manage more contexts. Consider a traditional monolithic CMS that is designed purely for publishing on the web. Perhaps you’ve cobbled together bold-on API solutions that allow you to publish simultaneously to the web and your mobile application, and perhaps you’ve optimized a slew of copy-and-paste processes to their maximum efficiency. But adding another distribution channel, say, a voice app or integration with an IoT device, feels like months, if not years away from your present state. Now consider how replacing your monolithic CMS with a headless CMS would tear down walls for your team, allowing your content managers to focus on crafting delightful and optimized content while your designers and developers focus on the presentation of that content in numerous contexts.Unlock the potential of your peopleThis leads us to the second main reason you want to scale: your people. Time not spent copying, pasting and emailing content and collateral is time that is available for ingenuity and innovation. As you unlock scale within your DXP, you free up your team to focus on the areas where they can create real value, which is typically a rewarding and uplifting result in your staff’s day-to-day work. Although it may be tempting —and at times, necessary — to optimize and scale your DXP or other business processes to reduce team size, that should rarely, if ever, be the sole motivating factor for pursuing scalability. Instead, pursue scalability across your organization and DXP as if you are upgrading everyone’s daily lives or giving them a new suit of clothes to replace the old ones that don’t fit so well anymore so that they can do their very best high-value work. Your team will thank you for setting them free, and your customers will thank you for the ease with which you provide them with your services. After all, businesses are run by people to provide goods and services for others, and meeting the needs of both groups of people efficiently and optimally is the definition of good business, which inexorably leads to growth.A scalable DXP drives business growth  While many companies are fortunate enough to achieve growth, not all of them can achieve scale. Often what holds a business back is more the result of how teams look at their internal systems and processes than it is about market conditions. In fact, by looking deeply and understanding the end-to-end processes within your organization, you have the potential to actually drive demand by making your products better and cheaper than your competitors. This is precisely the outcome Ransom Olds achieved for Oldsmobile in 1901 when he implemented the first automobile assembly line and increased output by 500% in one year.Today, blazing-fast mobile connectivity, the Internet of Things (IoT), and new devices on the market all point in the same direction: the number of places where your customers expect to engage with your brand online is growing, which means that your capacity to meet them there should also be growing if you want to maintain your competitive edge. By understanding the assembly line that makes up your DXP, you can see each system and step in your publishing process clearly, which will allow you to make intentional changes in your core technologies and people processes that will unlock scale.We are fortunate to be at a time when there have never been so many tools and options available to optimize and scale your DXP. From back-of-house big data, inventory and digital asset management tools to headless CMS, automation tools and instantaneous publishing on CDN geographically close to the user, the ability for digital teams to reassess their DXP implementation and optimize for scale has never been more within reach for everyone.Equipped with a firm grasp of what it truly means to scale and the steps outlined above, you and your teams should now be ready to unlock efficiencies that have previously held you back and embark on the exciting journey of scaling your DXP.Learn about our Developer Fast Track to see how you can start building today.