So you’ve drawn up your global strategy, you’ve built your website, your product has been manufactured, and your marketing materials have been translated. Are you ready to sell abroad? Not yet! A crucial step that some companies are unaware of is the brand name check. This is to ensure that the name of your product and your slogans are suitable foruse in your target market.
There is a great potential for your message to get distorted along the way due to the inherent differences between global languages. A direct translation of something in English could mean something wildly different in another tongue.
Getting a brand name translation wrong could potentially jeopardise the entire global strategy. Brands like Pepsi and Ikea have learnt the value of brand name checking the hard way. If you’re wondering whether your brand name is suitable for a global audience, keep these examples in mind…
Some hilarious examples
- When launching in China, Pepsi’s slogan “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life” was translated as “Pepsi Brings You Back from the Grave.”
- In China again, KFC’s famous slogan “finger licking good” was translated as “eat your fingers off.” I think most people would rather eat chicken!
- In Mexico, Frank Perdue’s tagline, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” was quite painfully mistranslated into Spanish as “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate.”
- Known as a successful chain around the world, Ikea has been using the same Swedish brand names for its products in every country. However, that strategy might cause a problem sometimes. As a Swedish word which means “mysterious” in English, ‘Knepp’ has a completely different and strong meaning for the Danish neighbours. You better not say it out loud if you happen to visit Ikea in Denmark sometime.
What can translations do for you?
As you can see from the above examples, when looking for a suitable brand translation, carrying out in-depth research is essential. This should consider elements such as pronunciation and spelling, cultural barriers and legal issues.
Considering whether a brand is easy to spell and pronounce for the target audience is also important. This leads to higher brand recognition. Always remember, what works in one country won’t necessarily roll off the tongue so easily in another: if pronunciation is tricky, then the name should be adapted to suit the needs and tastes of the destination audience.
Ensuring that a name is culturally acceptable and isn’t offensive to the audience is crucial too. Look at whether any colours, numbers, symbols or other imagery link to taboo, superstition or anything else that is undesirable.
Checking that a name is available as a trademark and domain is something simple that should also be factored in as part of the due diligence process.
Brand name checking that could save you a lot of headaches
Brand name checking does not have to be expensive and the money spent is nothing compared to the irreparable damage that can come from launching a brand name that creates a bad image.
Our brand name checking service will ensure that your brand name is appropriate for your target market and creates the desired impact. This service works by sending a checking survey with your relevant brand names or slogans to language professionals in target countries. The translators we use are highly experienced and familiar with local culture, customs and products.
An internet search is also conducted, to search for other products using similar names in the market, and any issues are flagged up.