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Can't read, won't buy: globalization requires more communication than ever before

By Contributor
Thu 28 Apr 2022

Article by Globalization Partners, Thomas Merchant.

The American activist Marian Wright Edelman said, “You can’t be what you can’t see”. The current global remote work revolution is certainly helping businesses worldwide provide opportunities for people to “see” and to “be” in ways that before now were not possible.

Communication is a key tool in driving this democratisation of opportunity, and language has an important role in this. By speaking to customers and employees in their native tongue, we can better identify and achieve our common goals and provide a real opportunity for people everywhere. For example, one global employment platform has translated its website into fifteen new languages. In doing so, they are now directly communicating, in language, with 160 countries globally.

In a world where local and global sit more comfortably side by side, a more authentic and recognisable voice is becoming increasingly important, and language is key to engaging with customers on all channels. A recent CSA Research report into business user language preferences and behaviours found that when faced with the choice of two similar product offers, 76 per cent of people are more likely to purchase the one in their local language.

Eliminating ANY barriers between the consumer and what they need from you is important. For a company emerging from pandemic business conditions, it is likely to be even more critical. As many far-sighted and dynamic organisations look to capitalise on the ‘new normal’, where remote work has been embraced, and talent more widely spread throughout the neighbouring region or even the world, finding new markets is becoming a fundamental part of their plan. With this breaking down of traditional geographic barriers, it makes sense to not only find talent in new jurisdictions but also to open up business channels there and tap into new markets.

Again, a major role in opening those markets is to present customers with information that is accessible. Having local-language advertisements or articles that lead to an English-language website is inefficient and will place a barrier between you and your customer.

Recent research from Globalization Partners has established that to reach 160 countries worldwide, it is necessary to localise material into 15 different languages. This is out of a total of 6,909 known living languages. While most organisations looking to explore new markets in their region will not need that kind of global scale, it will still be necessary to consider communications material and digital channels in a local language.

Further investigation from CSA research suggests that – at a very minimum – 73 per cent of consumers want product reviews available to them in their language. While nearly two-thirds will tolerate mixed languages on a website, a further 40 per cent will not buy products or services in other languages.

Looking again at changing trends in global business, it becomes apparent that companies are revisiting their approach to finding talent and looking beyond borders to new jurisdictions. Research by Australian recruitment firm Robert Half, as reported by Staffing Industry Analysts, suggests that as many as 70 per cent of Australian business leaders will seek to hire international talent permanently in 2022. A further 61 per cent will look for international talent on a contract basis.

While most of these hires will be brought into the country to work, many are also embracing the remote workforce, with up to 68 per cent of companies set to hire international talent to work remotely. When looking specifically at the technology sector, this figure rises to 77 per cent when limiting the results to CIO-level respondents.

These figures are compounded by a recent  CFO Survey conducted by Globalization Partners, which suggested that 74 per cent of CFOs were considering a shift to remote or hybrid work. In addition, a further 80 per cent were considering an expansion into new countries where they did not currently operate as part of a long-term expansion strategy.

With this level of regionalisation and globalisation, it is clear that companies are embracing the changing business landscape and will seek to leverage remote workforces in new jurisdictions to find the talent they require to maintain business continuity and tap into new markets.

Making this transition even easier, a global employment platform can now facilitate that expansion in a matter of hours, saving businesses the weeks or even months it can take to set up an entity and hire employees in new jurisdictions. With all payroll, insurance and local laws adhered to, it is possible to have a fully compliant employee working productively in a new country rapidly, with little risk to the organisation.

With more ‘feet on the street’, the world subsequently becomes a smaller place. As a result, new markets are easier to find, and new customers easier to win. All of this, of course, can be much easier and more effective IF the company also has the foresight to properly prepare and engage with their new market in their own language.

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