As one walked through McCormick Place through the sea of heavy machinery and engineers, one would be hard-pressed not to wonder, “how long did it take to assemble some of these ‘booths’ and machines?” IMTS is an event that takes place every two years and consists of a collection of the world’s greatest manufacturers and the up and comers in the manufacturing industry.
IMTS consists of over 2,000 exhibitors showcasing their products throughout nearly 2 million square feet of the showroom floor. And while this convention always attracts the best of the best, this year’s IMTS 2016 showcased its highest number of exhibitors in its history.
A Real International Flair
IMTS brought together an incredible collection of manufacturing professionals from all over the globe. As industry leaders continue to find unique ways to showcase their business globally, it was fascinating to see the amount of attention (and money!) given to creating, for example, a three story display that was outfitted in both English and Japanese signage. And if cool displays and interactive digital experiences weren't enough, perhaps a ride in the electric, self-driving vehicle Ollie would quench the more 'futuristic' thirsts.
A Real International Concern
As companies both large and small continue to progress into their identified emerging markets, I found there to be a real concern of how companies managed their carefully created cultures and marketing messages shown to their clients. As Hans Platt, President of Power Automation, mentioned, "We have had terrific international growth and while our marketers in Germany are doing a great job I want to ensure that retaining the message as it was intended in our mother tongue is a high priority." This is a perpetual challenge for many of the companies I spoke to at IMTS. They are increasingly more dependent on working with in-country resources and outside language providers to ensure that their message is effective and accurate. Much of this responsibility has been absorbed by the digital marketing professionals who are tasked with providing the latest and greatest information to their clientele at publishing rates never really experienced before in marketing.
Tackling These Real Concerns
Obviously it's always easy to point out the business challenges that are posed, in this case, around corporate and brand integrity. So I'll instead provide some proven tips that have enabled companies, both old and new, to provide a clear and concise message, no matter the type of corporate, marketing or product content, they provide to their current and prospective clients, partners, and employees.
1. Provide your audience with localized content, not translated content.
Key Benefit: Translation means that your audience will gain a general understanding of what you're trying to communicate to them. Localizing your content will provide your audience with a relevant, genuine message that is intended for them in that country, region and industry.
2. Build a centralized localization database that hosts all terminology, style guides and translations.
Key Benefits: Reused terminology and translations will ensure consistency as well as generate a far better ROI on localized content.
3. Separate your content creators from your content editors.
Key Benefits: There will be a high quality, polished message for your translators and your audience to enjoy.
4. Translate your content where your content is going to be consumed.
Key Benefits: In-country writers and translators are the key to providing your audience (clients, employees, resellers) with content that is relevant to them.
5. Identify and agree upon a localization technology platform that fits your business needs.
Key benefits: Relying on multiple translation tools and platforms creates additional cost sink holes and fragmentation of critical product, marketing, and corporate data within an organization. If corporations are going to spend the money and resources to create first class content they should have it in one agreed platform that benefits the entire organization.