in All Things Localization, Globalization, Language & Culture

When a company’s product or service is not interpreted or understood correctly by consumers, it can have a damaging impact on a company’s global product marketing and performance on the international market, with rebranding sometimes seen as the only solution. Recently, the Republic of Ireland’s Supreme Court declared, ‘Subway bread is not bread’. With over 145 Subway locations in Ireland, more than 22,000 in the United States and over 38,000 locations around the world, Subway is the world’s largest global fast-food chain. Although now reviewing the ruling, officials from Subway publicly disagreed with this announcement, stating that their bread is, ‘of course, bread’, and that they, ‘have been baking fresh bread in our restaurants for more than three decades’. The ruling however, based on Ireland’s Value-Added Tax (VAT) Act 1972, states that the sugar content in Subway’s bread exceeds 2% of the weight of the flour in the dough and as a result, the dough is more like a cake or muffin. Ultimately, the definition of bread under the Irish ruling does not apply to Subway’s bread and leaves confusion for the brand’s global product marketing.

This example is one of many global product marketing issues international companies face when operating in different markets: how do you market a product if it legally does not exist or there is no equivalent according to regional or international regulations? It is situations such as this one when localization becomes rebranding.

Hubspot, an American developer and marketer of software products, explains that companies rebrand due to visions, missions, values, or when the market is no longer reflected in a company’s brand. In many instances, companies are required to do this to regain the trust of their consumers and meet consumer expectations. Localization is the key to tailoring global product marketing content such as product specifications, labelling, and marketing collateral in targeted markets to ensure product success and increased market revenue.

Related:  Standardization Versus Localization: Walmart Adopts eCommerce Localization Techniques

Localization expert and author of Found In Translation, Nataly Kelly wrote in an article published by Harvard Business Review that even if companies conduct extensive market research, analyze data and carry out interviews before launching products in global markets, produced content can still be perceived as biased and inappropriate for international consumers. Biased content risks unsuccessful market campaigns and issues for rebranding.

Successful product marketing campaigns tailoring to diverse audiences often requires new logos, product names and the support of local customers. McDonald’s, another global fast-food chain, is famous for serving burgers that vary differently both in food content and product names to suit the regional cuisine or market. By localizing products, companies can take on opportunities in new markets that initially may have brought brand confusion or negative consumer perception.

Today, the global food industry is undergoing rebranding efforts. Increased focus and pressure to consume more nutritional foods, as a move towards overall health and wellbeing, has impacted many international food chains and businesses. With this growing awareness, paired with stricter labelling and packaging regulations, food companies need to pay closer attention to localizing their food content and specifications in international markets.

CSOFT specializes in all types of translation services for global marketing tailored towards the global food industry. With a global network of 10,000 linguists and subject matter experts, CSOFT helps international food companies to localize their branding accurately and effectively to increase sales and overall customer satisfaction. You can check out our food and beverage localization services in 250+ languages at!