Transcreation: It’s All About Cultural Empathy
What does it take to have a successful German transcreation?
The goal is clear:
To make a splash within the German market. Easier said than done! Like with most countries, Germans have their own preferences, habits and peculiarities. So how is Germany unique, and what should you know about this country, aside from its thriving economy?
Tourism: Why People Visit
Tourism is big business, with over 83 million foreign visitors per year. One of the reasons for this is that Germany is steeped in old European history. The most popular tourist attraction is the Cologne Cathedral, an impressive feat of Gothic architecture and a testament to German Catholicism dating all the way back to the 13th Century. Close behind this are the Dresden Frauenkirche, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the world’s ultimate fairy-tale venue: Neuschwanstein Castle and the Dresden Zwinger that houses internationally renowned museums. And of course, there’s also Oktoberfest that draws in approx. 6 million visitors every year, being the world’s largest folk festival. This annual celebration is a much-loved tradition in Germany that actually begins in September.
Land of Innovators
The first ever book printed with movable metal type in Europe was the Gutenberg Bible, printed in Germany in 1455 by Johann Gutenberg and kickstarted the age of printed books as we know it! What German’s do, they do well. The globally recognised Gummy bears were invented by the German entrepreneur Hans Riegel. To this day, Haribo remains the market leader. Germany truly is the land of thinkers, creators and engineers. The humble yet mighty calculator, lifesaving insulin, both the petrol and diesel engine, LCD screens and walkman devices were all invented in Germany. Who knows what they’ll think of next.
Life in Germany
- The majority of Germans are women. A total of 51.2% of the German population is female.
- Statistically, if they have children, Germans will have their first child at the age of 29.
- A German education is considered one of the best in the world, coming third in the World University Rankings.
- The most common cause of death in Germany in men and women is coronary heart disease, yet according to the Global AgeWatch Index 2014, Germany is the third best country on earth to live if you want to attain as old an age as possible, after Sweden and Norway.
Some Fun Facts
- 31% of the land area in Germany is covered with forest.
- There are more than 1000 types of sausages, that’s a lot more than just frankfurters and bratwurst!
- In Germany, there’s no punishment for a detainee trying to break out of prison because it’s seen as human instinct to be free.
- In Germany, it is actually illegal to run out of petrol on the motorway. This is seen as a foreseeable issue, that leads to breaking the rule of not stopping on the AutoBahn.
Interesting, right? All of this valuable information is just the tip of the iceberg of innumerable facts about which Germans need not be taught. A person’s culture runs far deeper than bullet points of information, without giving them a second thought, these things are known to all Germans. ‘Even if he knows no words or numbers, a man lives his culture’.
It’s with these same innate feelings that consumers make buying decisions.
Without being born, raised or at least living in Germany for many years can one hope to understand how a German feels, how they think and of course, what makes them say yes to your product or service! This is true of any country with its own heritage, so it’s worth considering within any globalisation strategy.
Obviously, there are universally understood no-go’s depending on the region:
- The Chinese don’t eat with a knife and fork
- The fridge business in Greenland isn’t exactly booming
- You can’t do business with pork in Islamic countries.
So, what about Germany, Austria, Switzerland? What’s going on in these countries? Where is the niche? What constitutes a marketing faux pas? And most importantly, what will appeal to a German, an Austrian or a Swiss? How do you offer what competitors can’t or won’t provide?
You need to understand how a German thinks.
Germany is not that far from Italy, right? The Italians love all things fun, things with a good design or that are just cool. An Italian doesn’t have a problem with wearing sunglasses at night in the disco, if it looks elegant (or at least, if it’s in ‘style’). Of course, elegant design appeals to all of us, including the German markets, but far more important to these consumers than the ‘fun’ aspect are reliability, technical perfection and warranty. Germans want something that works well and will last.
What Does This Mean for Your Product?
Let’s talk about how to put your best foot forward in the German market. With our experienced, native German speaking transcreators, we will place your advertising message in pole position to complete on the same level, with the same insight as a German brand.