Digital Advertising Agency

The magic behind creating an international voice

By Ed Grice | Head of EMEA



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November 12, 2021 | 6 min read

Rapid globalization enables brands around the world to effectively connect with billions of new customers in original and innovative ways, however it’s no surprise that maintaining consistency across those countless markets requires a tailored approach that addresses multi-market challenges and complexities before they arise. Behind the magic of the most innovative international campaigns is a measured approach to creating breakthrough creative that resonates internationally by blending the best of people, technology and strategic partners across time zones.

By first cultivating a deep understanding of international audiences, brands can effectively speak dozens of languages, while planning for cultural nuance and aligning with local shopping behaviors across regions to power a truly global, yet personalized, presence with their customers. Let’s take a closer look at how we approach this process at PMG.

PMG on working transatlantically and how to unify international voices and intentions.

PMG on working transatlantically and how to unify international voices and intentions

Finding partners that speak the language

There are hundreds of languages and dialects spoken across the EMEA and APAC regions, adding a layer of complexity to marketing in those regions. To run media at the equivalent level of scale achieved across platforms with English-first messaging in the US, we must ensure that we’re correctly communicating to these audiences through the extraordinary process of language transcreation. Not to be confused with language translation, which is the process of replacing words in one language with their corresponding word in a new language, language transcreation helps brands convey the same message and creative concept in a new language by taking local cultural undertones, trends and perceived interpretations into consideration.

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To support this process, marketers must utilize a combination of local language experts and multilingual teams who amass regional expertise. To do this, we have assembled a dedicated advisory group on everything from copy editing to creative reviews, ensuring search terms across core languages are correctly targeted regionally for our client partners.

Transcreation is so much more than translating copy, as it incorporates and infuses the latest trends, relevant media considerations and cultural nuance, all to power relevant creative messaging, brand and media activations that resonate with key audiences around the globe.

When brands get it wrong

Often brands have taken a simple translation approach to scaling media to new markets and have gotten it wrong. This is the downside of what can happen when brands take a unified approach by simply running global assets ubiquitously across the same platforms in all markets.

Cutting through in-market

To support the launch of a new Beats by Dre product, Powerbeats Pro, in Russia, PMG’s international team adjusted and optimized the campaign to address a local audience and adapt to a local and heavily nuanced media landscape. The campaign cut through by being built on local insight and market intelligence, and by leveraging partnerships to provide access and legitimacy. The strategy included:

  • Identifying a suitable local launch moment to align with the Moscow Marathon

  • Presence and prioritization of domestic social platforms such as VK, Russia’s equivalent of Facebook

  • Localized media partners’ selection and collaboration

  • Supporting local athletes and artists, including athlete sponsorship and Apple Music Playlist

  • Copy localization working with local native copywriters underpinned with stringent QA processes

  • On-the-ground activations mapped on consumer behavioral data and insights, including a Moscow Metro free wifi takeover and a combination of formats, both static and digital, along the Moscow Marathon route

Understanding cultural nuances and key shopping moments

In addition to speaking local languages, it’s also important for marketers to know when holidays and cultural events occur within different countries and regions. By keeping a pulse on key shopping moments, marketing becomes more strategic and can be set up for greater success. While nearly everyone in the US is familiar with shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are similar events happening around the world throughout the year that are just as important to plan for.

Working in tandem across territories

Despite all the preparations that can be made, managing multi-market campaigns and ad accounts still renders plenty of complexities – whether it’s campaign approvals, forecasting and billing, understanding data compliance and security, or international tax laws and customs. The combination of cross-functional support and our marketing intelligence platform Alli allows our teams to span time zones and continents for 24/7 support, ensuring full optimized campaign media coverage and greater consistency across regions. When adopting an agile, measured approach to international marketing, whether a brand is in five markets or 50, it’s important to refine and amplify its voice to regional audiences and drive truly global media activations.

Ed Grice, head of EMEA at PMG.

Digital Advertising Agency

Content by The Drum Network member:

PMG is a global independent digital company that seeks to inspire people and brands that anything is possible. Driven by shared success, PMG uses strategy, creative, media, and insights, as well as its proprietary marketing intelligence platform Alli, to deliver against its mantra of Digital Made for Humans™. Our team is made up of over 475 employees across six cities globally, and our work for brands like Apple, Athleta, Beats by Dre, McDonald’s, Old Navy, Hyperice, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Sephora, and Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey) runs across 85+ countries and has received top industry recognition from Cannes Lions to Adweek Media Plan of the Year.

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