Do you remember your very first international business trip? Going to another country to do business can be both exciting and daunting. It signals growth in your company - but because of all the differences in doing business globally, it can also be a nerve wracking experience.
The same can be said about taking your insight communities into new countries. Brands with operations around the world need to engage with their customers and prospects wherever they may be. Ensuring that connection takes into consideration local customs, languages and consumer preferences will increase your chances of gathering meaningful insight.
This checklist of things to keep in mind will help you get started on the right foot.
This might feel like a no-brainer, but there are some complexities when it comes to language. If some countries have multiple official languages, which one(s) do you choose? Even in markets where there is one official language, you may want to consider giving members the option of one of two languages (eg: Spanish and English in Mexico) depending on who you're trying to recruit within the market.
Multiple languages also brings the added complication of translation, particularly if you're replicating projects in different markets. Streamlining the translation process by managing it internally or through one external agency, and ensuring there's someone on the team who can quality check the language translation is important for success.
- Project Process, Ownership and Quality Checks
Are you planning to run custom projects in each market or will you start a project in one language and then replicate elsewhere? If you have insight teams in all the markets you want to run your projects, then your life will be a lot easier because they can either the manage the project completely, or can help with checking the translation. Working in other markets may mean holding meetings at odd hours to accommodate the team, so be prepared to be flexible. And if you don't have local teams in place in each market, you'll need to work with a vendor who can support you in those markets.
For custom projects, you'll either need someone to run the project from start to finish in each language, or you'll need to go through a full translation process for design, analysis and reporting. The translation should be quality checked by a native speaker to ensure everything makes sense and sounds conversational rather than academic. Obviously it's easier to have everything delivered in one language.
If you're replicating then you'll need to add on time for translating everything: design, open end coding and/or analysis, and reporting. And if it is a qualitative project you'll need to find an appropriate moderator and determine whether they will do a verbal debrief, a topline or a full report in their language (which then needs to get translated). One of the inherent benefits of having an insight community is speed. But if you're managing a multi-language community with replicated projects you won't be able run projects very quickly.
Not all lists are created equal. In some markets it's quite difficult to get a hold of quality customer databases with email addresses (eg: Latin America, India). Think about alternatives for building your community including your brand's website, social media, point of sale (which has seen success in retail) mail-to-web (which has proven successful with businesses who still typically communicate via mail such as utilities), and purchased recruit.
- Internet and mobile penetration
Some markets have relatively light desktop Internet penetration but have higher mobile internet and text usage (eg: second and third world countries). So you'll need to think about how you're incorporating mobile access into your recruit, communication, and invitation plans for your community.
When it comes time to design (or translate) your profiling questionnaire and start running projects, consider how each market may culturally interpret questions, images and scales differently. For example, it is not recommended to ask about income directly in Latin America as consumers will not give you an accurate answer, and in Asia consumers tend to lean on the heavy side of positive scales.
Cultural interpretation of images can also impact the creative design for insight community. For example if you're launching a community in Japan or China you should ensure you have images of people from those countries not stock footage from North America.
You may also need to consider taboo topics, particularly those with legal implications. For example, insight communities in China should avoid anything related to political, social or gambling topics.
Speaking of legal: every market will have different rules and legislation when it comes to privacy, sweepstakes and contests for incentives, domain registration, server location, and government involvement in the research process (particularly in China where all social research is monitored and regulated by the government). Consult with your legal team when going into a new market.
It's very exciting times if you're thinking about taking your insight community global! Doing so requires a lot of research and coordination, but using this check list, you'll be well on your way to going global.
We'd love to hear your thoughts about running insight communities around the world. Share your questions and fill in any gaps we may have missed.