Internationalization and Localization

Introduction

To understand internationalization and localization, we first need to know what globalization is. Globalization is the interrelationship between countries, cultures, economies and market opportunities. This factor is directly linked to the world’s technological advances. Such as international air travel and the internet. These factors make it easier for businesses to enter other countries. As well as to increase brand awarness and make their products known worldwide. The terms of localization and internationalization fall under the banner of globalization. Globalization is an economic movement. In this article, the differences between localization and internationalization will be briefly explained.

Internationalization

As the name says, internationalization is the process of making a product or a service international. 

Internationalization is the growing trend of business expansion in international trade. It is a set of best practices that bring products and services to other markets. A good example is McDonald’s, which has an equal structure in all countries. This chain brand shows a certain characteristic of serving fast food in all its branches.

Consequently, the offered product/service should be designed in a way that meets the needs, wants, and values of users in new markets. In other words, they must be adaptable to fit in different markets. 

Entering the foreign market is essential for the growth of your business. Most importantly, successful international expansion requires planning, research, and preparation. Below are some questions to keep in mind when you aim for internationalization:

  • What can you offer to the foreign market?
  •  Does your company have the right mindset and resources?

Internationalization can be done in three main steps. Firstly a rigorous assessment of your business and the selected market will be conducted. Secondly, an entry strategy will be designed. This requires research and contacting potential customers, distributors, and partners. Finally, you can start negotiating the terms of your business with possible partners.

Localization
Photo by Red charlie

Localization

Localization is the process of adapting your product to one specific target market. This means the product or service needs to be adjusted to a particular market characteristic. This practice should come after internationalization. Therefore, once your goods are international, then you can start tailoring it into the local necessities. Below we name a few examples of localization components:

  • Naming conventions;
  • Adaptation of your marketing;
  • Development of new features to serve local needs;
  • Change of pricing strategies;
  • Currency (symbol and value);
  • Writing direction (left to right, right to left or vertical);

Let’s take the example of McDonald’s restaurant with branches in more than 100 countries. This brand is a prime example of globalization, internationalization, and localization. One of McDonald’s location strategies is to consider the needs, wants, and values of destinations. For example, they offer a menu adaptable to various local tastes and customs. In addition, McDonald’s restaurants in Israel serve Koshe food and respect Sabbath and Jewish holidays. Its franchise in India, where most people don’t eat meat, has its meatless menu, that is, maintaining its global brand identity and adapting its products and services to local markets.

Additionally, not only expanding a product to various national or even regional markets is important but it is actually very necessary. In other words, if you believe your business is necessary for a nation or a community within society, then why not introduce it to the rest of the world! 

International globe
Photo by Ben White

Consequently, companies must first internationalize before they can localize a product. This is because localization is the after-process.

Moreover, overcoming barriers to internationalization is a great challenge. And therefore, in order to ensure success, it requires the help of experts.

At uGlobally, we can help you leverage your business with:

  • Internationalization strategies from our clients;
  • Validated selection criteria for your next market;
  • Unique guides and tools for you to create a variety of global strategies to deepen your team’s vision of the best way to go global

uGlobally team is here to assist you with integrating your business to the next level.

Click here to start the walkthrough

 

Julie Kohl