The culture of a country is an important consideration when looking to sell in a given market. One assumption many companies make is countries where the “same” language is spoken, also have the same culture and will respond in the same way to marketing campaigns. In reality, each country has their own culture which is not necessarily governed by the language they speak, in other words, whilst it is easy to assume translating content into a single language can cover various countries this is not the case.
This article takes the example of Germany and Austria as a case study to demonstrate that although both countries speak German, the local variations mean a different strategic approach is needed in order to ensure success.
Whilst Germany’s population is around 82 million (1) Austria’s is only about 10% of that. Clearly, the Austrian market is a lot smaller however it is worth bearing in mind that Austria is actually ranked 16th over Germany’s 19th in the top 20 countries with the highest GDP per head. (2)
CULTURE IS KING
Austrians are very proud of their country and culture – and get very upset if Austria is lumped together with Germany. The main language is German but the majority of the Austrian population have a very distinct dialect, often using many different words. For example, even basic words such as “sink” in German is “Spüle”, whereas in Austria it would be “Abwasch”. Clearly then, a successful keyword search for Austria would need to be done separately in order to maximise results. Depending on your product or service, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities due to sloppy translation and localisation work.
There are also crucial differences when it comes to traditions in Germany and Austria, so when creating a campaign which includes such traditions, be careful not to target both countries with the same content.
This is another important consideration when looking to generate content and online PR campaigns. There are currently 129 daily newspapers in Germany whilst only 18 in Austria. Given this large difference, a more personal and relationship-building focus is needed for Austria than Germany in order to ensure success.
INTERNET & SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE
There are big differences when it comes to internet usage. There are 56.1 million users in Germany (3) and 6.19 million internet users in Austria (4), or in population terms, 68% in Germany and 80% in Austria meaning Austrians are actually much more digitally savvy.
User behaviour is also different in both countries, especially when it comes to social media. In Austria, YouTube and Facebook are the most popular social media channels followed by Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram – whilst Twitter has the lowest number of users (5). In Germany, there is a different order and usage. Facebook, YouTube and Xing are the top 3 – followed by Google+, Twitter, StayFriends, LinkedIn and Instagram. Looking at those numbers and rankings, it shows there are many platforms to keep in mind when creating a digital campaign.
If you are planning on creating a separate campaign within the Austrian market, it is important to consider that competitors and opportunities will also be different in each country. There are many well established local companies who are based in Austria, which is still a huge factor in the purchasing behaviour of Austrians.
The overall message here is clear: people who speak the same language do not necessarily speak the same culture and one size does not fit all. Consideration of these details and accurate localisation of digital marketing strategies will make a big difference when it comes to the success of your international campaigns.