Insights November 22, 2021

A different approach to big brand localisation?

By Living Word

Following a big backlash when one of KFC’s customers in India complained, the global fast-food chain announced that it would take more care to integrate regional sensibilities into the brand, highlighting an ever-growing demand for localisation in marketing and brand awareness.

First of all, let’s look more closely at what happened in India. In a viral video, a customer in a KFC branch in Bangalore was seen and heard asking an employee to play Kannada music – Kannada being a language widely spoken in the southwest of India – instead of songs in English. The employee then goes on to say that Hindi is India’s national language, and that Kannada music won’t be played there. After the video did the rounds online, the #rejectkfc hashtag went viral, and demonstrations were held outside the branch.

KFC, in turn, was quick to respond to the allegations and said in a statement that it has “the highest respect for the cultural values of all communities”. The result? The global chain now wants to “integrate regional nuances across all aspects of the brand – from the menu, food to in-restaurant elements, customer communication, local celebrities, and more”.

Global outlook

But what does this mean for brands’ social media marketing globally? In a world that’s growing ever more connected, being open and global is crucial to many. However, brands should not forget that localisation matters too, as the above example shows. Minorities can feel like they’re being overlooked and seen as less important, so from a marketing perspective, being mindful of cultural and regional variations can really make a substantial difference.

Brand localisation

The key to all of this lies in so-called brand localisation, a process that adapts corporate messages and marketing strategies to a specific culture by using translation and transcreation. Localisation plays an extremely important role for companies seeking to branch out internationally and get closer to their regional audiences.