Posts Tagged ‘Marta Majewska’

Different Words, Same Ideas

Originally posted on the Porter Novelli blog by Marta Majewska

During World Word II, an American spy was caught by the Germans. Not because of his language skills. He spoke German like a German. But one little detail gave him away: the way he held his fork and knife.

Speaking a language is not enough. Not to be a spy, nor to be a good communications professional. In order to successfully blend into a culture, you must know that culture inside out. And that goes way beyond the language.

“When a pharmaceutical multinational launched a new product internationally, they thought they could avoid translation issues by using pictures to explain the benefits. The picture on the left showed an ill patient, the middle one, the patient taking the medication and the picture on the right showed him looking well again. Among the markets for the launch was the United Arab Emirates. Arabic speakers read from right to left.”

This is just one of many examples from “The Little Book of Transcreation” that I found in my Cannes Lions goodie bag today. Never heard of Transcreation? It’s about translating words, creative concepts and ideas without losing the cultural impact. Very often what it comes down to is: different words, same ideas.

Although the book mainly gives examples from the advertising world, I can see similar challenges when it comes to language and linguistic associations that underpin the campaigns in the world of communications. And those have gotten even more complex with the rise of social media.

Much has been said about how global social media is and how it doesn’t know the boarders and don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of truth in there. Your customers are able to see what your brand is doing in different markets and what happens in one country, good or bad, can easily become a ‘thing’ in another. But your target audience still lives in one country, with their own language, their own sayings, their own slang, their own culture and their own cultural heritage. No matter how ‘cool’ and creative your campaign or program might be, without taking into consideration the market’s language, culture and the brand’s positioning, you can harm not only your campaign but an overall brand too.

Don’t be mistaken, I am a big fan of global campaigns. They ensure greater brand consistency and messaging across markets and can be executed at reduced costs. But a global campaign will never be successful globally, if it’s not relevant locally. How can you ensure your audiences get culturally relevant messages wherever they are in the world? Involve the locals. Have all communications signed off by a local product manager or marketing manager. Have a local community manager who communicates and engages with the local audiences. Think globally, act locally – I know this slogan has been overused, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.


Dare To Be Different

Originally posted on I <3 Social Media by Marta Majewska

I’m a girl. Put some pink trees and animated animals on the wall and you caught my attention. I am also a geek. Add technology and fast working Wi-Fi to it and you’ve created an experience I will not easily forget.  Yes, I am talking about Microsoft here. The combination of technology, art, great music has made their event a night to remember.

In today’s challenging and competitive market where consumers are over flooded with information and overwhelmed by brands trying to interact with them and grab their attention, it has never been more difficult but also more important to stand out. Whether it’s an event or campaign, online or offline, brands need to find unique and exciting ways to connect with their audiences.

The HP Mobile Park is yet another original approach that made our client stand out at the SXSW Festival. What they did is create a temporary community, right next to the convention center, open to all SXSW attendees where tech, music and film bloggers as well as artists hang out.  A perfect place to relax in the sun, network, have a drink and listen to a great music. What else can you want, right?

Samsung has made the bloggers’ life easier and so much more entertaining. The Samsung Bloggers lounge is THE place to be if you’re a blogger and need to recharge your batteries, have a coffee with fellow bloggers, meet the ‘geek’ celebrities or have a book signed. There is also some great live music here and some nice food too ;)

If you’re a smaller company or a start-up, don’t worry. Differentiating yourself doesn’t always mean spending thousands and thousands of dollars on big the latest technologies and xxx. Antenas Direct found a way to stand out by advertising their Facebook page during the most prominent digital event worldwide full of AR, QR, 3D … on a cardboard beer case. Trust me, they set themselves apart.



SXSW for Japan #sxswcares

Originally posted on I <3 Social Media by Marta Majewska

Japan faces one of its most devastating natural disasters in 100 years.  Here at #SXSW, we are  putting our hearts, minds and wallets together to raise support for Japan. If you would like to help too, here a  few ways to do that:

1. DONATE – Make a donation here or text your donation to 90999 (if you’re in US).
2. SHARE– On the web; On Twitter; Mention it in your SXSW talks with #sxswcares and #sxsw4japan
3. CREATE A FUNDRAISING PAGE – Start a page so your friends/family can donate to disaster relief. Read tips for it here.



On Furry Animals in the Digital World

Originally posted on I <3 Social Media by Marta Majewska

When I walked into the Hilton hotel yesterday afternoon, a giant squirrel caught my attention.

10% of women are attracted to men in furry costumes, says the squirrel’s sign. I could argue about this one, but let’s be honest, no matter whether you’re 5, 25 or 50 years old, mascots do have an ‘aaaaaw’ effect on people. It turned out the mascot belonged to the session, “Brand Mascots in the Digital Age,” that was about to start so I couldn’t resist attending.

The session started with a question on whether anyone from the audience has already worked on a brand mascot digital campaign. Honestly, except for one campaign in Poland, I couldn’t even really think of a digital campaign featuring a brand mascot in the European market, but it turned out that about 20 people attending the session had already had experience working on a brand mascot online campaign.

That almost made me panic. I am usually on top of things and I like to be the first in just about everything, and now I am sitting here and can’t even think of 3 mascot campaigns whereas 20 people around have already worked on them? Luckily, it quickly turned out that it’s not me. It’s Europe.

I learned that brand mascots are undeniable part of the US culture and brands have a long history using those mascots as a part of their marketing efforts. With the rise of the digital world, many brands are trying to move and translate their mascots to the social space. As seen in the session, some are more successful than others. It looks like when done right, mascots can be a goldmine for a brand, but when done wrong, they fail big time.

I think there is a lot of potential in working with brand mascots. Old mascots have an advantage of people already feeling connected to them, but are at a higher risk of losing the true essence and personality of the mascot when translated to digital media. New mascots need to earn their place in people’s hearts (and wallets) but have an advantage of getting a personality that fits in the digital world.

Whether old or new, mascots give brand a personality, something that is crucial in the digital world. They also create positive feelings towards brands and as I learned, when used correctly they can do wonders for selling techniques. I hope next year, I will be among the people that raise their hand when asked about an online brand mascot campaign. :)