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Strategically Transcreate for Local Authenticity

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In a globalized economy and increasingly connected communications landscape, accurate and authentic localization becomes crucial for brands to relate with audiences across markets. But good localization goes beyond simply translating content into different languages; it’s a matter of recognizing cultural meaning and injecting relevance into a message as well.

This requires brands to perform a careful and precise balancing act by being authentic to local audiences while staying faithful to the overall brand message. “The biggest challenge for everyone is to get the right tonality of the campaign, but also for the culture and markets—and still safeguarding the message of the big idea and brands,” says Petra van Veldhooven, Business Director at MediaMonks.

As speaking to a global audience becomes more important to success across industries, brands can’t treat transcreation as an afterthought. In fact, Forrester reports that that “cross-border shopping will make up 17% of ecommerce in 2023,” especially for shoppers based in China and the United States.1 With a focus on ecommerce, a space that’s become largely democratized thanks to user-friendly digital shopping platforms, it becomes clear that the need for better transcreation is no longer just a concern for global enterprise—which means brands must implement scalable solutions for any level of transcreation.

Lay a Strong Foundation for Localization

Transcreation requires brands to develop a more efficient production process, making careful planning a key component. “While it’s not possible to localize every product in every market, it is important to have a strategic view towards localization,” writes Nielsen. “To maximize growth, you must focus on the right opportunities—and that often means examining consumer insights at a market-by-market or even household level.”

Monk Thoughts The most important thing is preparation from early in the creative stage.

Strategy is critical to success, and in an ideal scenario, transcreation is accounted for at the highest level of creation. “It’s important to have someone who’s client-side and understands the process, who understands what comes later,” says Jose Tirado, Senior Producer at MediaMonks. “The most important thing is preparation from early in the creative stage.” This means producing master assets in such a way that accounts for easy revision for localization—for example, filming different versions of a video to portray different cultures.

Both Tirado and van Veldhooven worked on a project to transcreate a safety campaign for Uber, spread to 27 different countries and comprising 2,400 assets. Given previous transcreation work, Uber made a conscious decision not to include too many images in the transcreated elements, opting to keep the process focused on copy instead for flexible editing. Because Uber and their agency supplied the master assets, this shows how acknowledgment of the overall process from the beginning mitigates common localization challenges further down the line.

Strategize by Blending Media and Creative

Perhaps the most significant way that brands can ensure a smooth transcreation process is by aligning their creative and media strategies. Establishing a clear media strategy per market ensures your master assets are available in every format and size needed, whether it be a square photo or social-first vertical video.


The transcreation campaign focused on graphical elements and copy, like the form seen here.


The Uber UI is also edited, providing an authentic feel for each market.

If this volume of formats is difficult for your brand to forecast, an end-to-end partner can help. “Visibility into consumer insights, media and creative enables transcreation efficiently at scale,” says MediaMonks Founder and COO Wesley ter Haar. United with our sister company MightyHive, which helps brands build their media capabilities to ensure relevance across the user experience, MediaMonks is acutely positioned to help brands strategize the full process— from establishing the creative concept to diversifying it per market needs.

If working with a partner, brands require one with global expertise that can offer authentic, local messaging. A simple example of this is knowing what can and can’t be shown on-screen in some countries, and accounting for differences in regulations. A partner that can offer a local authenticity bolstered with global understanding can help brands go far in providing more relevant, resonant digital experiences. In the Uber safety campaign, for instance, we went beyond just changing and translating the voice over by refreshing visual branding elements to provide a truly local, authentic feel.

Empower Local Teams through Delivery

Delivery is just as important as production when it comes to transcreating content, and empowering local teams to make the message is key to ensuring it’s genuine. For internationally known beer brand Amstel, for example, we not only produced over 200 assets for the brand; we developed a centralized marketing platform making it easy for local marketing teams to stitch together clips and copy into the perfect video for their audience.


Team members simply select their chosen clips and fill in a few fields to construct the perfect video for their audience.

This setup ensures that all messaging is consistent with brand guidelines and faithful to the message it wants to convey, while still allowing local markets to call their own shots, so to speak. It’s also incredibly scalable, allowing brands to easily grow their support for new markets. Whether you need content to last a calendar year or require more frequent deliverables—as provided by our global content hub exclusively for Avon, which also empowers local reps to mix and match tailored creative—we enjoy helping brands find a solution that best fits their specific transcreation needs.

Transcreation can be a complicated process, especially when it comes to managing a high volume of assets spread across dozens of markets and different channels. But with careful planning early in the creative process, brands can strategically scale up their messaging to a variety of markets through authentic transcreation.


1 How To Serve Cross-Border Shoppers In Today’s Global eCommerce Landscape, July 2019, Forrester.


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