Three Examples of Outstanding Localization

Remember KFC's adventures in China? The company managed to bounce back from its slogan debacle by pulling off a classic localization checkmate move, bringing in content tailor-made to the target market. In this case, such content took the form of a menu featuring traditional Chinese dishes like congee. This brought familiarity to the brand and allowed different age groups to come dine together, with something familiar for the older generation and some hip and international fried chicken for the youth.

Nintendo is a company that has found success doing practically the opposite of what KFC did. Nintendo doesn't create market-specific content. It sells a form of Japanese pop culture globally, and consumers, especially in the USA, lap it up. Internationalization is integrated into game design from the very beginning. While Nintendo's internationally marketed games may be steeped in Japanese cultural references, they avoid anything that would prevent non-Japanese players from appreciating their exoticness and enjoying the game. Another thing Nintendo has always done is stick to strict decency guidelines for game development to ensure the whole Nintendo experience remains a family-friendly affair. In terms of localization, this move is pure genius, as the company has been able to appeal to the social mores of practically every culture on Earth while remaining fun and exciting.

Not wanting to leave anyone out, we can cover a few all-stars which all got one thing right in their localization. Accommodation booking sites like, Airbnb, and all localize not only their in-house content but also the user-generated content on their sites. This is a key benefit when it comes to reviews of accommodation options but also adds value in terms of user-generated guides and tips on what to do or where to eat in a holiday destination. When it comes to market growth, Airbnb has crushed it in places like China by offering registration through the dominant local social media platforms rarely encountered in other markets, e.g., WeChat and Weibo.

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