Each tourist knows that after a long trip, seeing the Starbucks or McDonald's logo means s(he) can find the restaurant with a specific list of drinks/dishes with a predicted taste. So, above, you read a quick explanation of standardization. However, this topic is much broader and has nuances that need to be known.

Global standardization strategy aims to create and use uniform standards and methods and offer the same products/services/production for all markets.

Today, businesses gravitate towards using a global standardization strategy as the world is connected across continents and countries. Big labels from various industries, such as Coca-Cola, Nike, and Amazon, widely use it. Thus, people from the USA and Japan will have almost the same experience with a Coca-Cola bottle or Starbucks coffee. And this "almost" is pretty important to describe.

Global Standardization vs. Localization

When compared, global standardization and localization are strategies for business growth across diverse markets. Standardization implies scaling the procedures and products without deep adaptation for new markets, while localization is about focusing on tailoring products and services to meet individual markets' specific needs and preferences.

Global standardization sounds excellent in terms of a few moments like:

  • Less marketing and financial efforts - there is no need to rebuild the product and marketing strategy fully;
  • High brand recognition — as mentioned above, customers worldwide can quickly identify the product, improving its trustworthiness.
  • Streamlined processes — the standardized practices can be easily replicated across different locations, speeding up all the processes.

On the other hand, as we often highlight on our blog,

local culture and preferences highly impact brand success in regional markets. Ignoring this fact can lead to failure.

One such example is Starbucks' strategy to enter the Australian market. They came to the market with the already-established coffee culture and tried to sell their vision, which predictably failed. If we dive into the history (what Starbucks didn't do at their time), we will know that after World War II, many emigrants from Greece and Italy came to Australia and brought a part of their coffee culture there. Australians already had favorite drinks and understood the nuances of coffee making, but Starbucks didn't consider this information. As a result, they lost $105 million in this market and were forced to adapt the menu to fit the local taste.

So, the strategy of 50/50, when companies keep the identity but slightly change their product, is widespread through other brands. For instance:

  • McDonald's provides local cuisine weeks and different menus depending on region - under the recognizable logo, you can find shrimp in an Egyptian restaurant, salad with Parmigiano in an Italian restaurant, and squids in Greece.
  • Coca-Cola's sweetness varies depending on the region in which it is sold. For example, Coca-Cola in the US is much sweeter than in Japan.

When to use a global standardization strategy?

Based on what was written above, global standardization works partly, and businesses adapt to local conditions anyway. Standardization strategy can work if:

  • The business has low competition or provides unique services in the region. In this situation, there is no need to stand up for the piece of the market.
  • The regions are culturally close. Some countries may have a close mentality, religion, and economic situation. As a result, the target audience for your product will be the same. This data implies there is no need to overhaul the marketing strategy entirely, and you can utilize many existing approaches.
  • The product evokes the same feelings in people worldwide. For example, Kinder Surprise is one of the most popular chocolates for kids, so they keep the design and message to audiences throughout all regions.

When don’t use the global standardization strategy?

  • There are cultural differences between the markets. It is impossible to use the same narratives for countries and regions with opposed meanings for essential things. If your product or service somehow affects a sensitive topic in the area, the best way would be to use the localization approach.
  • Regulatory differences. No matter which method you choose, it is essential to research and comply with local legal requirements and regulations.
  • Dynamic market. Fast-developing industries require a fast reaction to all challenges. Global standardization will be the losing option in such markets as it slows innovation and responsiveness to market shifts.

Based on the last point, global standardization would not work in most technological areas where innovation is a natural business development process.

How to implement the global standardization strategy?

If you plan to use a global standardization strategy, you will require a tool to manage translation efforts and establish standard translation processes across all regions. Scaling successful experiences across regions requires an instrument to provide such an option, and Lingohub could be an ideal match for you as it offers:

  • Centralized translation management: No matter how many team members you need to involve, how much content you should keep translated, and how many markets you want to work with, Lingohub can help manage the translation process conveniently.
  • Terminology management: Global standardization means that some terms will have the same spelling throughout all regions, and the easiest way to guarantee this is to create and maintain the Lingohub term base. No matter which language your team will translate - they will have identical rules for selected terms. Also, you can mark some words as untranslatable or provide translations only for some languages.
  • Backups and version control. The backup option protects all your localization from mistakes and fast-resets to previous versions if any occur. Also, your team can see each segment's version history and status so that multiple users can work together on translation projects in real-time.
  • Wide list of supported tools. Lingohub integrates seamlessly with development tools (GitHub, Gitlab, Azure, Bitbucket), content management systems (Contentful, Storyblok), applications (Figma, Zendesk), and other platforms commonly used in global businesses. Such an ability allows businesses to implement new tools in the development/translation process and ensure no integration issues will arise.
  • Wide list of supported file formats. The translation process will always be uniform, regardless of your teams' file formats. Moreover, the Lingohub XLIFF format is designed for simple collaboration with external translation agencies and protects your file structure from errors.
  • Unified criteria for all languages. The built-in quality checks feature maintains high-quality standards, which means all your text will be translated with predetermined criteria.
  • Comprehensive reports. Control all the projects via dashboards, create custom roles for users, manage the projects (group and highlight them), overview the progress per language, generate cost reports and much more. All translation teams can be via well-organized UI.

To sum up

A global standardization strategy aims to streamline processes by implementing uniform products, services, or methods. This process requires centralizing operations and tools to achieve consistency and scaling across all regions, and that's what Lingohub was designed for in terms of translation. We did our best to create a solution to keep all the translations centralized and manage them easily, regardless of their quantity and complexity. If you want to get more information about how Lingohub will work for your project - schedule a quick demo call with our team and

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