ULG's Language Services Blog

Building the Business Case for Creating Culturally Intelligent Experiences

Multicultural consumers are now the fastest-growing group of consumers in the United States and currently represent 42% of the U.S. population. Also, non-U.S. markets represent 84% of the world’s purchasing power. These consumer groups demand more than ever of the organizations they interact with, including personalization of content and experiences. Case in point: 40% of these global consumers won’t buy in any language other than their native tongue. Organizations who cannot effectively engage these consumers with culturally relevant experiences risk getting left behind. Translation and interpretation are often the first go-to, but these services alone are not enough to accomplish full cultural integration.  

Culturally intelligent engagement through relevant experiences is crucial, but requires investment in customer research, localization, and translation. It also requires understanding the Cultural Drivers of Engagement (CDE), the factors within a culture that affect how a customer engages with a company, such as their demographics, their belief system, and the way they research, shop and purchase.  

Getting buy-in from leadership is essential, because the disconnect between businesses and multicultural consumers won’t go away without a new approach. It’s an investment that must happen to bridge the gap between businesses and their increasingly diverse consumers.  

Here’s how to build the business case for culturally intelligent engagement and culturally relevant brand experiences.  

The tangible benefits of culturally relevant experiences 

If you’re just getting started with building culturally relevant brand experiences, or need to prove to your C-suite that the ROI is there, then it’s important to understand the proven impact of culturally adapting your content and message. Here are some statistics that illustrate how localization—the adaptation that occurs after you understand the Cultural Drivers of Engagement-can help you reach more customers more effectively:  

  • Localization can increase search traffic by 47%, boost website visits by 70%, and increase conversion rates by 20%.  
  • 65% of customers prefer local language content, even if they speak English.     
  • 86% of localized advertising campaigns have higher click-through and conversion rates than the English language versions. 
  • 75% of global customers simply won’t buy outside of their native language. That means that localizing for a specific target market could potentially increase your revenue in that market by two thirds.  
  • 72% of contact center leaders say offering multilingual support increases customer satisfaction. 
  • To prove the value of your existing localization campaigns and make the case for further investment, set up and track relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). You can monitor these metrics using tools like analytics software, marketing automation software and CRM systems, among others.  

Here are the top four key performance indicators that you can track. 

Sales in the target market 

One of the most effective ways to prove the value of culturally intelligent engagement is to track sales in the target market. With the right tools, you may even be able to tie sales to specific experiences.  For example, HubSpot was able to tie an additional $144,000 in annual recurring revenue to a single eBook localization project.  

Web metrics such as page views, conversion rates and SEO keyword rankings  

If your web metrics are on an upwards trajectory after adaptation, then your efforts have been successful. Poor conversion rates generally indicate that something about the experience you’re offering to visitors is pushing them away and may be a sign of poorly adapted content. Also, poor SEO rankings and low page views indicate that you may need to localize your SEO strategy to take into account how people in your target market search for your product or service.  

Social media engagement 

Increased social media engagement in your target markets can boost your brand as a whole. For example, Samsung used localized sub-accounts to grow its global presence on Twitter, where it’s now the largest brand. 78% of consumers say that companies’ social media posts influence their buying decisions, which is why social is a key lever to pull for brand awareness, contacts and leads, as long as the social strategy is aligned with the local market.  

Customer support cases

Has the number of customer support cases gone down in the target market since you began localizing with a focus on offering culturally relevant experiences? Can you estimate how much money was saved as a result?  

Using these KPIs, you can put together a picture of where, when and how your localization program has taken effect.   

However, if you want to know how much revenue was generated because of these efforts you can calculate the ROI of your localization strategy with this simple formula:  

(Additional revenue produced by localization - the cost of localization)/ the cost of localization = the ROI of localization 

To prove the value of cultural intelligence to your leadership teams, you need to be able to show them the money, and tracking KPIs will help you do that.  

The soft benefits of culturally intelligent engagement  

Companies that take culturally intelligent approaches can also demonstrate indirect or qualitative benefits that are difficult to measure but can also be significant. These can include:  

  • Raised visibility in the target market or broader reach.
  • Increased brand loyalty.   
  • Higher levels of trust. 
  • Competitive differentiation. 
  • More satisfied customers. 

When you provide experiences for your customers that are customized for them, they feel understood, appreciated and are more likely to develop an affinity for your brand.  

How to get buy-in from your team to build culturally relevant experiences  

Culturally intelligent companies can benefit from increased brand loyalty, customer engagement, and revenue. But you don’t have to take our word for it. There are numbers that you can share with your team to demonstrate that this culturally intelligent approach and effort is worth it.  The investment in cultural intelligence and a strategy centered around the Cultural Drivers of Engagement has ROI and is a justifiable investment.  

If you’re ready to take the next step, we’ve put together a guide to help you better understand the CDE and help you apply this framework to build culturally relevant experiences that connect with your target market. Download it here. If you’d like help getting started, our team is ready to assist you. Book a consultation today!