Bookmark and Share




The soul of a brand does not only exist in the language. A product or service, a brand — they all live within the authenticity of their culture.
We will help you create the elusive true cultural tie and the personal touch that will make your brand grow.



The ABCs of Social Media: X Marks the Spot โ€“ Making Your Brand Easy to Find Online  


Social Media Marketing: The Mad Men Era Legacy in Today`s New Media Landscape 

Posted in:ICUC Blog - Author:Patricia Daumas


Today, any business with a solid marketing strategy already knows that a strong social media component is a must have. Big brands are now having a conversation with millions of follower. Almost any brand has some kind of social media plan, and a social media strategy is part of the curriculum of any new business course.

But what many brands fail to take into consideration, especially new and small businesses, is that a social media campaign needs to be anchored on a big idea, as any good old traditional advertising successful campaign taught us.  The lessons learned from the Mad Men era are still applicable when drafting a social media marketing plan.

Brands are interacting with consumers using a variety of media channels and devices more than ever before. It’s the “big ideas” that help ensure a brand has a single, consistent proposition across all platforms.

Leo Burnett famously said, ” Adapt your techniques to an idea, not an idea to your techniques.”  And this as true today as it was then.

What is that elusive “big idea”? It’s nothing more and nothing less than your unique brand message and how you will communicate it to the marketplace —something easier said than done.

Here are some tips on how to find your brand’s big idea and start planning  — because, “Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.”  David Ogilvy.

I. Establish your brand goals. 

What are you trying to achieve? 

The answer is not just “I want to create traffic or followers”. You want meaningful traffic. You want traffic that will help you achieve your primary goal.

Is there a problem you need to solve? Do you want to put your name out there? Or do you want to raise awareness of your product? Or change a perception? Do you need to build consumer loyalty?

II. Content is king

To achieve your brand goals you have to know the “how, what, and when” of your target group:

Understand your audience.  Who are you talking to? For a dialogue to be productive it has to be about shared perspectives. Know what your consumers expect from you so you can deliver.

Listen to your audience and adapt fast to changing perceptions.

There is no such thing as a good or bad strategy by itself. It is defined by the context at any given moment. What is good at one moment is bad at another.

III. Be consistent across all platforms.

Only if you have a solid brand goal, a clear and unique Big Idea, will you be able to create and sustain social media brand consistency.

Style: Actively push the use of consistent colors, fonts, icons styles, and logos.

Brand voice: Do you want your brand to be perceived as playful, corporate, traditional, or bohemian?

Are you embracing the conversation rather than trying to sell your brand?

David Ogilvy said it first: “A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.”

IV. Always hunt for the new media trends.

Don’t just follow your followers or you might fall behind.  Rather surprise them, take them to new places.

You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” -Steve Jobs.

V. Word of mouth is the best medium of all.

But it is a tricky one for brands. Social media has put more power in the hands of the consumer, and as a result, bad news travels incredibly fast.

Interestingly enough, Bill Bernbach also said, “A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it’s bad.”


There’s not a clear-cut divide between traditional media and new media.  As this great Google experiment shows, the new social media platforms are only great tools that still need great ideas.

It is, and will always be, about people and ideas, and great conversations, whether you are promoting your brand from Madison Avenue or from your computer in your living room.


Social Media in Bilingual Countries: Sustaining a Natural Conversation  

Depending on your target audience, chances are you will have to use more than one language on your social media strategy.

It’s estimated that up to 7,000 different languages are spoken around the world. But in fact, less than 100,000 people use roughly 90% of these languages. Technically, it means you need just a handful of languages to be able to communicate with most of the world’s population — which is fortunate for your marketing strategy!

Still, you will often have to create a conversation in more than one language per social media channel. Even if people are fluent in more than one language, most prefer to communicate in their mother tongue.

Let’s take a look at a couple examples:

  • In Canada: According to the 2011 census, English and French are the mother tongues of 56.9% and 21.3% of Canadians respectively. However, over 85% of Canadians have a working knowledge of English while only 30.1% have a working knowledge of French.

According to, Anglophones and Francophones search and consume new media differently. They are two very different target audiences. Understanding and evaluating the differences between theses two language groups is critical to your digital strategy.

  • In the USA: Of 291.5 million people aged 5 and over, 60.6 million people (21 percent of the population, or one in five people in the country) spoke a language other than English at home.

While Spanish remains the most widely spoken language after English, other languages, particularly those from South Asia and Africa, have also soared in use, according to a U.S. Census Bureau 2011 report.

An October 2012 survey of U.S. Hispanics by the Pew Hispanic Center found that between 2009 and 2012, the percentage of foreign-born and native-born Hispanics who used the web rose by 18 percentage points and 27 percentage points respectively. This helped drive up overall Hispanic Internet use to 78%, from 64% three years ago.

Two-thirds (68%) of Latino Internet users say they use Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites, according to the Pew Hispanic Center survey. By comparison, 58% of all U.S. Internet users say they use Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites.

With that in mind, here are some tips that will help you create a successful global social media content strategy:

1. Create posts in multiple languages.
2. Always use the language of the people you are targeting, — it’s not necessarily the language of your company.
3. Keep it natural — make sure it isn’t misinterpreted.
4. Speak the lingo naturally — both social media and language.
5. Choose between a formal and informal tone — this choice is culturally important.
6. Make sure to use proper grammar.
7. Use native speakers and professional translators.
8. Don’t use literal translations — always stay culturally appropriate.
9.  Avoid posting in one language and then linking to another site in a different language.
10. Develop a uniquely crafted voice and social media content in each language.

Unlike a traditional website, social media is built on interaction. Social media is already multilingual. To be able to rule that field is to find a delicate, but rewarding balance.


Moderating in a Multicultural and Multilingual World

One of the issues often overlooked when a company creates its first Facebook page, and that will come up sooner than later as their online social presence grows, is the fact that social media happens in a multicultural and multilingual global community.  No matter how precisely you target your web presence, chances are you are going to reach a diverse audience, and you have to be ready to communicate and connect with that diversity.

However, in today’s era of apps and online tools that seem to be able to do everything a human can do, only faster, we often come to the odd realization that some people think that machines are smarter than humans.  And a question frequently comes up in the moderation social media world: “Why not just have automated filtering machines, like curse-word traps, spam filters, boilerplate answers, and web translators for moderating? After all, they should make less mistakes than humans and they’re not biased.”

Is the dreadful 1984 Orwellian prediction upon us in 2013?  No, not yet. The community of online moderators, specialists, managers, and all the people that work behind the scenes on social networks, are all diverse people, very much real and alive, thank you. And they’re listening — in any language. They are part of the conversation.  Actually that is the whole point, a moderator HAS to be a person, because we have to be empathic in order to be believable and establish a trusted relationship.

Engagement is the name of the game.  The moderator or community manager’s responsibility is to protect and nurture a positive brand image. Community moderation today is much more than finding and deleting malicious content. It’s all about establishing a dialogue — a meaningful dialogue. It’s about creating a relationship with your fans. Moderators need to have the cultural awareness to strengthen a bond or find alternative solutions to mending broken trust or an ill-positioned line of communication.

Moderating a multicultural community is not only about the knowledge of the language; it also understands the differences in meaning that are specific to a particular country or region. It’s being aware of what could be offensive or otherwise misinterpreted, and having the depth of understanding to find alternative solutions. And machines are not very good at that. We know for a fact that fans recognize immediately if they are dealing with a human.

People know if you speak their language or if you’re using a machine. And a machine is a turn-off. It’s seen as disrespectful in many cultures. We can see this from actual quotes from fans that don’t understand certain updates or updates that were posted on the wrong market/wrong language: “You don’t care enough about me to give me your time”  ”I am not a machine, talk to me in my language.”  Why are we not treated equal?” “What are you doing on my page?” And so on…

As we’ve seen, a strong command of the language is essential. But even more critical is a deep understanding of the culture — knowing what to take into consideration prior to developing a piece of communication. I would call it a native-level cultural understanding. Any moderator or community manager has to be able to change his or her own style of writing to fit the readership’s genre. Moderators with language and cultural awareness are the stepping-stones of good customer service, especially in a multicultural world that meets on social media pages.

Still not convinced? Then check out this written notice by the management in a Japanese hotel room-service poster: “You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.”

Yes… good moderators count!