Is Multilingual Content The Way Forward?

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Content marketing is the linchpin of any business strategy in the new digital era. Brands with solid content strategies are dominating the industry. They offer solutions to their customers and connect with them personally, making consumers feel like a part of the brand. The new market allows consumers to choose from umpteen options, which poses the question for brands: Are we getting the maximum ROI on the investment, especially in a diversified market like India. 

Are we reaching our entire audience? Are we able to tap into every household and corner of the Indian consumer market?

Marketers and brands from third-world countries like the USA, the UK, or Japan won’t even entertain such thoughts where they have one predominant language. However, the question comes up naturally in a country like India that prides itself on its rich culture and vernacular languages. The major challenge for brands and marketers is to reach and influence a wider audience.

Growth of Indian Creator Economy

Let’s see how the Indian content economy has grown to create a clear picture. 

From just a handful of creators a few years back that could be easily memorized in one’s head, the Indian creator economy has witnessed a boom in the last couple of years. India had over 658.0 million internet users as of January 2022. Today, YouTube alone has 40,000+ Indian creators.

Some credit goes to Jio’s launch, which brought the internet to even remote areas of the country. The average data consumption of an Indian data user exceeds that of a global user by 6.5 GB per month (Global average: 11.9 India: 18.4 GB/month). This increase has shifted the market from top metro cities to Tier 2 and 3 cities. 

This shift calls for a change in brand communication and marketing, especially in language. The local Indic language users have increased, mainly Hindi, Marathi, and Bengali. 

And here is why. India is a country with over 100 languages and about 1,600 dialects. Only 10% of that population accounts for English-speaking users. Yet, brand communication and marketing is majorly executed in English. With the rising users in Tier 2 and 3 cities, the gap between users and brands expands with a surge in demand for vernacular content.

Therefore, in India, the best way to reach the corners and connect with your audience is to uplift the vernaculars with you. You don’t have to take our word for it or rely on data.

Imagine yourself living in a foreign land where they do not speak your mother tongue. You run errands, work all day, and connect with people from different cultures, none of them familiar with your regional language or culture. And after a long tiring day, you bump into someone who greets you in your native language. Can you imagine how you would feel? 

That simple greeting would become a melody to your ears. It won’t matter where this person is from or what their profession is. The sense of familiarity overpowers all your feelings. You would love to have a conversation with this stranger in a foreign land more than anything else.

The same happens in the digital world for non-English speaking users too. Any content in a regional language lures them in, and they are eager to respond to it. 

Let’s take the example of Policy Bazaar, which incorporated Hindi creative messaging by translating words from English campaigns to attract non-English speakers. The results were an 18% reduction in cost per lead. The experiment was so successful that now policy Bazaar runs a Hindi landing page. The company gained 3x growth within the first six months after its launch.

RummyCircle also experimented with local advertising and increased its paying users by 27%. 

This is a classic example of familiarization and a sense of belonging. People are more likely to respond to ads in their mother tongue than second or third language. Today the branding game has widely changed. Customers are at the centre, and you have to keep them at the pedestal and work around their preferences, choices, wants, and needs. Even a strong brand message is futile if your target audience fails to understand it. 

The communication gap between brands and regional users

The above campaign results show that there is still a wide communication gap between brand messaging and consumers. Converting ads to regional language led to Policy Bazaar’s and RummyCircle’s immense growth, even though it was just a tiny part of their marketing. Imagine a company’s success if they adopted vernacular as an essential part of their marketing. 

Even the individual creators have identified the potential and have already started to leverage this gap. The prime example is Mr. Beast on YouTube, who uses dubbed content to attract and connect with users who prefer regional languages.

Multilingual marketing strategies are not an option for most businesses and brands serving in multilingual and multicultural countries. Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Its multilingual heritage contributes 10% of its GDP, which prompts us to circle back to India and realize the need for vernacular content.  

Multilingual marketing, thus, becomes essential in India to scale up businesses, lower the cost of ads, and connect with the target audience on a deeper level — the kind that not only translates words but also includes local culture and nuances to retain the message. Brands and individual creators can increase sales with localized stores and websites. Vernacular languages can help them connect with the dominating population of non-English speakers and become the authority in their industry. With localization comes belongingness and familiarity; inducing such feelings in their target audience will strengthen customer trust and loyalty. 

The Bottomline

The communication gap between brands and regional users holds excellent potential waiting to be unleashed. If you are a creator, founder, or marketer, it is a great opportunity to leverage and capture a large section of the potential audience. Rather than viewing it as an obstacle in the path, you should explore and experiment with vernacular content. With AI-powered tools, you can translate content into several languages with just a few clicks. 

“The Internet moves very fast. In the old world, we could afford to sit and analyze forever. But in the new world, the first mover has the advantage.”

— Raymond Kwok —

It’s time to scale up your business!

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