Localizing the Story: Contrasting ...


The best global brands recognize that their communications must be tailored to the local markets.

Last year two of our account folks in our Japan office penned a post that examined how Sony created two different videos for the same camera, one for the U.S. market and the other for the Japanese market.

Today, Jiyoung Moon in our Korean office tackles this broad topic.

By Jiyoung Moon,
The Hoffman Agency Korea

Many Westerners have the impression that Asian cultures are serious and formal.

Not true.

For instance, it’s interesting to compare a Korean blog post and a UK blog post featuring the same product, a remote control for a TV, from LG Electronics.

The headlines set the tone.

The Korean touches the heart, “Let’s Unveil the Secrets of Magic Remote … It Will Do Whatever You Say” in contrast to the UK’s intellectual approach, “LG’s Magic Remote Recognised by Universal Design For Ease of Use and Convenience.”

Keeping with this theme, the Korean post opens with Korean heartthrob, Won Bin, who consistently appears in TV commercials, as the hook.

Yes, the Korean version covers the main features/functions of the product, which are Magic Wheel, Magic Pattern Gesture and Voice Recognition as covered in the UK version.

But the tone and manner are much friendlier aided with more explanatory images.

Meanwhile, this UK post illustrates the major features and functions of the Magic Remote with minimalist images and no clutter.

While it’s not fair to assume that the style of LG Electronics UK Blog represents all the English-language blogs, it is obvious that Koreans enjoy a certain style, which is very different from U.S. or UK blogs.

You can really get a sense of the style differences when you compare Google …

With Korea’s No. 1 search engine and portal called Naver.

I think it’s fair to say that white space with one or two images appeal to English-speaking audiences, but Korean audiences think such an approach is boring and not “kind enough.”

You may be surprised by the fact that Asians, including Koreans, have a high propensity for intuitive communication, aided by non-verbal elements. While the importance of intuitiveness in the product development field is highly recognized in the Western countries, they still have a tendency to rely on verbal factors in communications.

In this regard, Koreans often feel that English texts are too wordy.

On other hand, Westerners might look at Korean design and be turned off by what they perceive as clutter.

Again, it’s all about taking the time to tailor the communications to the local audience.

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