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Simplifying Transcreation for Brand Managers

Transcreation. If you’re not using the word already, you soon will be.

Transcreation is the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while preserving the creative, cultural, and emotional nuances from the original version. And it’s something that is happening more in life sciences.

As companies strive to achieve greater brand consistency across their territories, brand managers are tasked with rolling out globally-produced materials for local affiliates to adapt for their market. And while that sounds easy in theory, it’s rather tricky in practice.

Local affiliates often aren’t aware of what is being produced by global, and if they are, they are not informed well enough about the strategic vision. Often that’s down to the fact that brand managers simply don’t have the resource or the bandwidth to communicate the vision effectively. And when they do communicate the vision, they often do so very conceptually and not in a way that gives the local affiliates an understanding of the core materials they need to properly localize the strategy.

So more often than not, a typical scenario is this: a brand manager at a global level sends a PDF to the local affiliate. The local affiliate realizes it can’t do anything with the PDF. It commissions a local agency to create something similar. The local agency asks for source files and logos. The local affiliate asks global for the files, and global begins tracking them down. The local team realizes it needs to include the claims and references associated with the original piece and starts looking for source owners. Time passes. Money is spent.

By the time the local affiliate tracks down all of the assets, it may as well have just created it from the beginning. And often local affiliates do just that and create their own content, resulting in duplication of work across the entire process.

Now imagine a different scenario. The global team informs the local affiliate of a new campaign and provides the local affiliate with access to a campaign toolkit in one centralized source. The toolkit contains all of the assets, source files, and reference materials needed to recreate the campaign at a local level. With visibility of all global source materials, the local team better understands the strategic vision for the campaign and how it can be localized for its market. The local team can communicate the vision and provide the required assets for the local agency to produce a full set of localized materials. The global team has full visibility of what the local team produced and can track usage of global-to-local materials. Time and money is saved. Duplication is reduced. And the risk of core messages being “‘lost in translation”’ is significantly lowered.

Sounds simple in theory, right? And it is. However, changing the way things have long been done is no easy task. It requires a change of mindset and some upfront hard work. But the long-term benefits will make it all worthwhile.

Transcreation may feel like a new way of working in life sciences, but consumer goods companies have worked this way for years. And the majority of agencies are also used to working like this. Don’t be afraid to question the status quo. True change comes from changing mindsets and embracing new ways of working. That, supported by the right technology, is your silver bullet to consistent global messaging across all of your territories.

See the related blog Five Top Tips to Accelerate Transcreation for Life Sciences Brand Managers from Huw Jenkins, a thought leader and digital asset management strategist for Veeva.