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Lingo24’s latest Global First event was held in London on Wednesday, and brought marketing, comms and HR leaders from across the UK into a single forum to discuss global trends, challenges and opportunities.
In today’s globalised world, resonating your messaging with local audiences is fundamental to a connection with them. And businesses and organisations who do make these connections can gain a real edge over the competition. But as more areas across the globe use the internet to seek out services, how can organisations ensure their messages are resonating properly?
These issues were addressed during this Global First summit, hosted by Lingo24 at the Collective HQ in London.
Jill King, Director of International Markets at Virgin Pulse, kicked off the evening with a discussion on how she and her organisation attempt to promote physically and mentally healthy lifestyles in local workplaces all over the globe. The challenge, according to Jill, is to not only reach, but resonate, with disparate audiences.
When it comes to creating a meaningful message, Jill asserted that one rule for one location is not the rule for another. As an example, Jill highlighted the different diets of global cultures, and so taking the approach of simply talking to your local audience (in this case telling them what to eat) is not a conducive approach. Instead, Jill advocated for organisations to adopt mindful, meaningful messaging – in this example promoting the benefits of a healthier breakfast, or implementing a ‘park as far from the office as you can’ scheme for workplaces.
“Everybody has a norm, and to create an impact you have to understand the cultural nuances before you engage them.”
And the challenge of a meaningful connection, according to co-speaker Professor Sir John Curtice, BBC regular and a Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, has never been greater. Highlighting Brexit as a case study, Professor Curtice asserted that politicians have seldom struggled to resonate with the UK’s electorate more so than in 2019. Whilst the polls were split back in 2016, Professor Curtice presented YouGov data which shows that the UK is just as divided today as it was three years ago.
And this struggle for a connection, Professor Curtice continued, is having a real impact on UK and international enterprises. While UK businesses are in agreement that free trade with the EU is a positive goal, such an agreement comes with extenuating circumstances – namely free movement.
Professor Curtice noted that politicians have not been able to come to an agreement which the UK electorate finds palatable, causing their campaigns and messaging to be largely lost, even on those who voted Leave in 2016.
“The debate surrounds control. But as of yet politicians have not been able to reconcile this with the people.”
Jill advocated that the best way to resonate with audiences is to “think global, act local”. Jill noted that while having a global strategy can ensure continuity across a campaign, its messaging must be responsive to local issues. She recalled Virgin Pulse’s campaigns having to adapt to the cultural norms of the workforces of the UAE, such as Ramadan, where teams would go through most hours of the day without eating or relaxing, before binging where it was culturally permitted. To create an impact with a local audience, Jill described four fundamentals that business and organisations need to execute:
- Attracting the right people – making sure the locality is receptive to your messaging
- Keeping people motivated – ensuring the messaging fresh and top-of-mind
- Multichannel communication – finding adaptable methods to convey consistent and
- Measurable outcomes – creating a demonstratable outcome to senior leaders
Jill argued however that addressing localisation challenges presents huge opportunities for organisations looking to make an impact. In her experience, monitoring the health of a workforce directly translates to the bottom line of that business. According to Jill, a healthy workforce entails organisational benefits including increased productivity and less time taken off work for sickness – benefits which she asserted are of particular interest to the C-suite. Beyond physical health, Jill recalled another case study where the mental health of workers in financial industries is taken in to particular consideration.
Messages, Jill continued, must also be creative. With the average worker being burnt out on stock photos and messages, Jill stressed the need for a bespoke approach to every audience. When it comes to health messaging, for example, a new piece of hardware – such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch – can be among the most compelling methods of communicating to the average workplace.
“Across every geography comms are vitally important. We need to be able to tap into people to address them properly. We can’t bore people to change.”
We’ll be running more Global First events, in London, Amsterdam and elsewhere later in the year so sign up to keep informed at www.lingo24.com.