Shock! as Londoners Talk to Each Other With Help From National Theatre

National Theatre,  Watch This Space Festival - Peckham Performance

National Theatre, Watch This Space Festival – Peckham Performance

It may seem counter intuitive to think that, the best place to hide or lead an anonymous life is a large city like London, with a population of 8 million. But when you consider the hectic pace of life and other factors, such as the fact that Londoners hardly talk to each other (at least not in the tube or on buses), London is actually the best place in the country for someone who is seeking anonymity, to live.

A Londoner, who was once seduced by the charms of rural idyll went to live in a village for a couple of years, on his return to London said he prefers the anonymity of London, “In the two years I lived in the village, I knew everyone’s business and they all knew mine”. He finds this level of familiarity to be too great, and was pleased to get back to London.

Some people welcome the anonymity of the capital city, while others think it’s something that should be changed. Whichever side of the debate you are on, one thing you will find difficult to resist, is the non-London like behaviour of talking to other Londoners in a public place (except to apologise when you bump into someone or they into you). For a brief session, lasting about 45 minutes or so, ‘National Theatre’s Watch This Space’ Festival completely change the behaviour of Londoners.

National Theatre Watch This Space Festival

National Theatre Watch This Space - Peckham Square

National Theatre Watch This Space – Peckham Square

In Peckham Square, a group of performers stretched out a hand to invite onlookers to join them. As each volunteer joined a performer, the volunteer was invited to lie down next to the performer, using the performer’s case as a pillow. The author of this piece volunteered to join a performer who he tried to engage in conversation, but the performer just smiled and did not talk. After lying down for what seemed like a few minutes, the performer got up, and, motioning for the author to stay put, he returned with a new volunteer who took his place.

The performer went away again, returning with yet another volunteer, this time, the new volunteer was invited to lie below the author, using the author’s knees as a pillow to rest his head.
Within a short space of time, the performers got about 25 or more people lying next to each other or below each other and surprise, surprise, these stranger were introducing themselves and talking to each other in a non-London manner!

This fantastic open air performance I later learned was by the National Theatre and it’s called Watch This Space. There was a group hug after the performance between the volunteers and the performers.
Your can find out more about the performance and National Theatre at their website

The Basics of Multicultural Content Marketing

Multi-Cultural Content Marketing

Multi-Cultural Content Marketing

Global firms that already have content marketing strategies in place must consider going from global to local with a multi-cultural strategy. For those who haven’t had a content marketing in the first place, now is the perfect time to do so although you will need much catching up to do. Indeed, English is still king, but the queens are scattered worldwide. Let’s look at the statistics first before we proceed with how you can get started with doing a multi-cultural content marketing.

Languages used on the Internet

According to the Internet World Stats, the top one language in the web is English with 26.8% total Internet users. Other Internet languages by their Internet penetration are Chinese (24.2%), Spanish (7.8%), Japanese (4.7%), Portuguese (3.9%), German (3.6%), Arabic (3.3%), French (3%), Russian (3%) and Korean (2%).
The figure complements with the results of the study conducted by W3Techs claiming that 55% of the most visited sites use English as their primary content language. Other commonly used content languages are German (6.1%), Russian (5.8%), Japanese (5.1%), Spanish (4.7%), French (4.1%), Chinese (2.9%) and Portuguese (2.3%).
What does this mean for global brands? The Internet presents itself as the most powerful sales weapon ever invented because of its global reach. English may be the international language for the web, but it is not a global language. Did you know that only 25% of people worldwide speaks and understands English? What about the 75%? This 75% are those who search the web using their native tongues.

Getting started with a multi-cultural strategy

Now that you had a good grasp of how diverse the Internet users are, the next important step is learning how to communicate and interact with them.

1) Conduct a content needs analysis
Start from scratch through understanding your target audience. Understand the language they use while on the Internet literally and figuratively. Let’s say your target markets are English- and French-speaking nations. When creating the editorial calendar, the topics must resonate for both audiences. Better yet, and if it is more strategic for the firm, the marketing team may device separate editorial calendars for the two though the calendars should correlate with one another.
If you are targeting the same customer profiles, then you can simply trans-create (not translate) the English contents into French. With this, creating contents that would resonate for both audiences is possible since (most probably) the firm is marketing the same kinds of products regardless of the location.
Timeframes must be clear from writing the bilingual contents, trans-creating and publishing them. A review cycle must be clear for all the writers and trans-creators. Calculating the time required for creating, reviewing and approving original contents is the first step. The second step is adding time for trans-creating, reviewing and approving trans-created contents before publishing the bilingual simultaneously.

2) Develop content guidelines for writers and trans-creators
Content standards (or branding editorial guidelines) writers can consult upon creating bilingual or multi-lingual contents should be developed. Standards and guidelines help the editorial team in understanding the brand’s voice. They’ll stick to it because of a sense of ownership.
For a multi-cultural strategy, creating a set guidelines for each language separately (or as a supplement to the general guidelines) is also a must. Here are noteworthy points to take into consideration.

  • Cultural and religious differences
  • Dialects and idiomatic expressions
  • Political and economic situations where applicable
  • Measurement units

Certainly, writing anything offensive out of ignorance must be avoided at all times. You don’t want to brand to gain negative publicity otherwise the editorial team has to double their efforts to recover from the humiliation. Amusing mistranslations may work for your brand’s favor resulting to product awareness, but for how long? Show respect and diligence by choosing the right topics and themes to write about.
This brings to our next claim that the editorial calendars must also have provisions for brainstorming. Take a cue from the comments, concerns and questions raised by your customers on your social media presence. The locals enjoy contents more when these are written for them, about them and by them especially when the content tackles issues that interest them.

3) Build a diverse editorial team
Content creators are the driving force behind the success of any content marketing strategy. Hiring freelance writers is acceptable; they should be a native of the specific language though. That’s the golden rule to minimize the inherent risks. Thus, the firm may avoid cultural blunders that stem from publishing offensive statements and inaccurate facts. These mistakes alienate the people including potential customers from your brand.
Nonetheless, you can always choose to build a team of in-house writers. As much as possible, hire content writers — the trans-creators — from the same areas as the target audience. A local editor, who will approve and review the non-English contents, must be also considered. Even the simplest words can cause offence when translated without a knowledge of the local culture. Remember that marketing gaffes go viral, crumbling your hard-earned credibility in a couple of days.

Right, trans-creators are human and not tools or software applications! Auto-translation programs, even those that come with a hefty tag, will never give provide you with the quality that your contents need and deserve. Contents, regardless of which language they are written, must create a flow. This cannot be achieved with translating the manuscripts verbatim. Recruiting strong trans-creators who are not only natives, but also subject matter experts should be your priority.
Further, this is not solely about the choice of words depending on the country or area that the firm targets. Instead, universal themes must be apparent though local stories must be written. Storytelling is the key for successful local contents. Digital storytelling is a complex subject to touch. The bottom-line is writing stories about real people, with real experience and for real readers.

Powerful and effective multi-cultural content marketing is not without difficulties, but the content localization strategy is very valuable to any global brand. Such an old-fashioned concept about creating high quality contents the idea is to include on-the-ground knowledge of cultures. More than being bilingual or multi-lingual though, the brand must think multi-culturally. It’s not about the language per se, but the people and their core values.

About The Author : Cris is a blogger and currently working as a freelance writer in Optimind Technology Solutions, a digital marketing agency in the Philippines that provide services including SEO, web design, social media marketing, Facebook app and mobile app development.
Find out more about guest blogging on here.

Google to remove authorship photos from SERPs

SERPs authorship photo

SERPs authorship photo

One of the features bloggers are just getting to know and enjoy in Google SERPs, the picture of the author, displayed as part of listing on SERPs, just next to excerpts from the article, known as the authorship, will be discontinued in the next few days.

Google+ view counts will also be a casualty of the new changes, which is being made by Google to improve how results looks across devices, according to a post by Google’s John Mueller, who blogged about the changes on his G+ page.

We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices. As a part of this, we’re simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count. (Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.)

Many webmasters, especially those who have invested a lot of time and efforts in ensuring their Google Authorship profile is quite prominent are very disappointed.

John Mueller’s post however indicated that Google has tested the changes extensively and it does not in any way reduce the number of view or click through a page gets as a result of the changes.

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