For many financial services companies, going global is the next step after meeting targets and achieving your goals at home. Maybe your business is considering expanding internationally but feeling unsure of how to begin, or maybe you already have an established international presence but your website and marketing initiatives aren’t performing as well as you’d hope.
In both cases a strategy of localization will help build and maintain lovable experiences for your customers around the globe.
The case for localized financial experiences
There is a general case to be made for creating localized brand experiences regardless of whether you sell sneakers and sweatshirts or banking services and insurance plans. Localization increases relevancy to your target audience and makes the experience of engaging with your brand feel more personal -- both desirable outcomes from a marketing perspective.
However, there are also specific reasons financial services companies should make localization a priority when expanding into international markets.
Chief among these is the fact that localization can help build trust, something that is absolutely crucial when it comes to financial services. Properly localized content signals to customers that your brand understands them and their needs, and this helps inspire confidence.
Beyond perceived trustworthiness in the eyes of customers, there is also the issue of local regulation to consider. Achieving and maintaining compliance with financial regulations is complicated enough in your home region, but it becomes infinitely more complex when you begin expanding internationally, where regulations may be stricter or broader depending on local legislation.
In any case, regulations will vary by region and country, and running afoul of them can be disastrous for your brand. Becoming locally-compliant is an essential component of the localization process for financial services companies.
Building localized experiences for banking and insurance brands
The allure of expanding internationally is strong but doing so quickly without establishing a strong foundation based on local research is a recipe for disaster.
Competitive research, real-time user testing, and user surveys are all key to understanding the sentiments of the audience in each of the specific regions your business hopes to expand into.
Some important tips for businesses in the financial sector to remember as you approach a localized strategy include:
- Understand the needs of the local consumer - At the most basic level, you need to find out what local consumers are looking for in their financial services products and services. Bear in mind that assumptions about what those needs are based on your brand’s knowledge of your consumers at home will likely not be directly transferable as cultural and regional differences play a major role.
- Make localized experiences robust - Because localization can be complex and time-consuming, brands are sometimes tempted to save resources by developing watered-down versions of marketing materials and assets for global markets. This is a mistake, and it might be considered to demonstrate a lack of respect for international consumers. Make sure the localized experiences you develop for consumers abroad are just as robust as the ones you develop at home.
- Maintain brand equity - Especially in banking and insurance, having trust in a particular brand is huge. While localization is key to building trust with international consumers, localizing too much risks eroding the power of your brand image. Focus on methods of localization that still allow your branding to shine through, especially if your business has already begun to generate local awareness.
- Keep an eye on device usage - With banking and financial services increasingly becoming digital endeavors, it’s important to pay attention to device usage. Certain regions are quicker to adopt emerging mobile technology than others, and some will be more comfortable carrying out financial tasks on mobile devices. In some areas the primary (or only) means of digital connectivity may in fact be a mobile device, so don’t leave this element out of your localization strategy.
Introducing Global Experience Assessment
As an agency we serve a number of clients in the financial services sector and we understand that global expansion is often both a key goal and a significant challenge. Effective localization combines emerging technology with the human touch required to identify, understand, and incorporate cultural nuance into strategy.
We developed our Global Experience Assessment to help our clients scale globally and efficiently. Our Global Experience Assessment is a flexible solution that generates in-depth global research in a format you can scale at a pace to match your expansion into international territory.
Find out more about our Global Experience Assessment and how we help our clients in banking and insurance take on the world, one local experience at a time.