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The power of using native language in marketing

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The power of using native language in marketing


The cultural nuances in communication are often missed when brands only speak to dominant English-speaking audiences. CEO of Lexigo Mark Saba addresses the finer points of language in marketing.

Australia has long been considered a multicultural country that people from all different backgrounds and walks of life can call home. Despite this, the vast majority of marketing is geared towards English-speaking people, leaving culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in the margins.

Connecting with audiences is at the core of successful marketing. With more than 22 percent of Australians speaking a language other than English at home, failing to engage CALD groups in their native language only limits your chances of success. In order to truly engage Australia’s multicultural community, marketers must understand the positive impact that using native language can have on both brand success and community engagement. 

Creating cultural relevance

Language and culture are inextricably linked. When you communicate in the native language of your audience, you are not merely conveying words but also cultural nuances, references, and sensitivities. While many members of CALD communities do speak and understand English, they may not be able to pick up on these details in the same way they would in their native language. These important elements enrich your message with cultural relevance, helping you to better connect with diverse audiences.

By speaking the native language, you demonstrate a genuine effort to connect with your target audience, acknowledging their unique cultural context and how you’ve considered their needs along the way. This, in turn, fosters a sense of trust and reliability – two very important components of any successful campaign.

Establishing an emotional connection through language

Emotion plays a pivotal role in marketing. No matter what the product or service you’re selling is, at the heart of all marketing campaigns is a core feeling that connects the brand with potential customers. In a multicultural society, however, it’s short-sighted to assume that English is the best and only language you need to use to connect with customers. For many diverse communities, native language is the key to emotional connection.

When you address your audience in their native language, you are more likely to elicit emotions and create a deeper emotional connection. Many CALD people not only speak their native language at home, but they also think in their native language. Using this language in your marketing invokes a sense of familiarity and comfort, making the audience feel like the brand understands them on a personal level.

Emotional connection fosters one of the most powerful feelings you can get from a customer – brand loyalty. Not only does an emotional bond influence the likelihood of creating loyal customers, but research suggests that customers who are fully connected with a brand emotionally are 52 percent more valuable than even the most satisfied customers. For diverse audiences, the key to achieving this is using native language that allows your customers to emotionally connect with your brand.

Overcoming language barriers

Accessibility is everything when it comes to marketing. If a portion of your audience doesn’t confidently speak or understand English, creating content in their native language will help you to communicate your message rather than have it become lost in translation.

This is also important for those who may be proficient in a second language like English but still prefer to consume content in their native language. According to one study, 72.4 percent of people are more likely to buy products with information written in their native languages, and 56.2 percent say that having information in their own language is more important than price. Overwhelmingly, we can see the power of communicating in your audience’s native language and the role it plays in expanding your reach and ensuring that your message reaches a wider audience.

This is particularly important in global markets where diverse linguistic backgrounds are increasingly becoming the norm. Overcoming language barriers is essential for inclusivity and ensuring that no potential customers are left out due to language limitations.

Demonstrating authenticity

Inclusivity and diversity are core components of brand success, but actions speak louder than words. Brands can’t just claim inclusiveness, instead brands must demonstrate commitment to diversity by investing time and resources into creating linguistically diverse campaigns.

Brands that make the effort to speak the native language of customers demonstrate a genuine interest in an audience and a commitment to serving their needs. It shows that you genuinely care about their experience, connection, and preferences and are actively seeking their engagement in your product or service. In a world where consumers are becoming increasingly discerning, authenticity speaks volumes.

Multiculturalism is part of the fabric of Australia, so it’s time that marketers begin weaving it into the fabric of their campaigns too. By respectfully and responsibly using native language, we can tap into the diverse communities that have been waiting far too long to have their voices represented in marketing.

Read more about diversity movements in Australian marketing here.


Mark Saba

Images attributed to Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash and Mark Saba.


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