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Content is King ;) but who owns the throne of content?

Content is King ;) but who owns the throne of content?

The hot potato! The ones trying to bell the cat, the grey area, the silent war!! Stark vs Lannister vs everyone! Everyone competing for the throne, the throne of content!!

Today’s post will cover one of the most controversial aspect of our industry!

Content … who gets the final say?

Is the Marketing team the ones signing the final content?

Or should it be Globalisation/Localisation teams?

Or maybe the product teams? after all they may not know that well the nuances and particularities of the different markets and consumers, but hey! it’s their baby ! they’ve been planning for months’ releases and content, so maybe they should have the final say!

During my career, I’ve seen different companies and different strategies to decide who owns content creation and who gets the final say.

I’ve been in Localisation teams sitting with Production and considering Localisation as part of the software development phase. I’ve been also part of Localisation teams that belongs to marketing, because content creates the perception of a brand, and that’s one of the responsibilities of marketing and Globalisation/Localisation teams.

So, how do we solve this dilemma when it comes to content creation/review and sign-off?

To be honest, I don’t know, sorry if you were waiting for a magic answer. I don’t know which is the best model, but I saw and I practiced some approaches during my life that worked well. One of the first areas to agree is about the responsibilities of local teams and headquarters. Defining exactly goals and responsibilities between the different teams is crucial to determine the content strategy of any company. Because we might be all in the same page, product teams, globalisation teams, headquarter marketing teams … we are all on the same, but we have different needs in terms of content!

So, how do we approach this scenario then? Some ideas in the next paragraph 😃

Step 1 to bell the content cat

•   Align objective/goals and let local offices to give feedback.

Ernesto Sirolli is a noted authority in the field of sustainable economic development and is the Founder of the Sirolli Institute. He gave a great TED talk that I like to re-watch every now and then … Want to help someone?Shut up and listen … in this talk he explains in a hilarious way the importance of listening to locals. He defends the fundamental problem with how we help is that we think we have the answers. And he illustrates with the example of the hippos 😃 In a way in our industry we have our own hippos. We (any content team) believe we have all the answers but the smart action to do is to listen the locals. How do we do this? Let the local offices/experts to give feedback about the content.

Mc Donald’s example in China or India is a good example. Mc Donald’s headquarters from USA defined strategy…. But they listen to local experts. Culturalization and adapt to local clients is key. In this specific case they did this by introducing the Mc Veggie or the Aloo Tikki Burger, a burger with a cutlet made of mashed potatoes, peas and flavoured with Indian spices. Cows are important in the Indian culture, so vegetarian hamburgers (or chicken) is a good strategy 😃  

I find useful having headquarters defining central policies and way of work, but I do believe feedback of local offices must be heard. If you ask to these teams who owns content creation both will say that they own it. If we assume for a few minutes that’s the right answer then the next logical question we need to do will be: Who should lead then that effort?

Finding a balance between owners might be difficult. As rule of thumb I would suggest that any content that it might exposed to different countries is more useful when is led by local teams but having the policies cascaded by regional teams makes a lot of sense. Let the local teams give feedback about the “ingredients of the hamburger” 😃  

Step 2 to the bell the content cat

•   Role of Globalisation/Localization teams is to serve.

I mentioned earlier that Loc teams might sit in different layers of the company. With Dev teams, Marketers or as SME. Where the Global team sits is not important, what it’s important is the mindset; and here in my opinion the mindset should be to serve. During all my years in the Localisation industry I think that I managed to get a good relationship with a big number of different stakeholders. Some moments with conflicts and crisis were high, of course! we human beings are quite unpredictable …. however with a “servant leadership mindset” as Dave ramsey would claim  everything is easier.  

How can I be a servant leader when it comes to content creation and my role as a Globalizer? Very simple! I need to explain that I’m here to help them; to explain the best practices when it comes to approach local markets, to help them to find the right partner.

The mindset I impose myself and that I try to propagate through my teams is that we are ALL one team working in the same product contributing to create a successful company.  If the idea of being a servant leader or function does not resonate with you I would recommend the book “EGO is the enemy” this book changed the way I think in different aspects of my life. Kudos to Ryan Holiday! I don’t see the work situation as win-lose relationship anymore. And I’m totally fine taking a role of serving leader in any content creation strategy

Step 3 to the bell the content cat

Define a strategy content process.

Strategy in this context means ensure the content is global and ready to be localised. It means being in contact with local offices or data scientist to determine new markets to enter and it means being able to transfer the company’s goal, voice and style to the agencies working with us. In this step, I’d like to emphasise the importance of reviewing that the content is global and ready to be localised. What we do at this phase is very important for the later releases in different countries. During this phase we focus that English source material is highly translatable. Simple mistakes, ambiguity, or inappropriate use of terminology won’t help to localise in 20+ languages. Clear, concise, and grammatically correct source material cuts costs, reduces time, and improves content quality. Once we (usually Loc teams) review the English content is good to go we can start outsourcing content to vendors (so they can prepare a local version of our content). Allow your content people to team with the right partners and build your brand identity!!!

Create content that’s targeted for audiences in local markets is quite challenging for any marketers. For this reason I find more interesting finding ways to allow any “family” to sit in the throne for a little bit that starting a war to decide who owns the throne of content. 

Summarising my 3 key-take aways are:

1.   Align objective/goals and let local offices to give feedback

2.   Adopt a servant-leader mindset

3.   Find someone to oversee your content and team up with the right partners.

Good luck out there ! and enjoy... Summer is coming 😃


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