BlogBusinessDiversityCo-creation: how to co-create with your audiences in their native language and culture

Co-creation: how to co-create with your audiences in their native language and culture

Translation, transcreation or co-creation? Every in-language communication project has its own unique set of circumstances and goals. Sometimes, the budget is limited, or the timeline is tight and the priority lies in sticking to the budget or delivery date.

Other times, the utmost goal lies in resonance and ensuring that the audience doesn’t just understand what is being said, but can relate to it. Enter the Translation Conversation. 

In February of this year, at an RMIT Symposium discussing The Future of Multilingual Community Communications in Australia, LEXIGO introduced the Translation Conversation, a model to help you decide which approach is best for you to take depending on your priority – budget, speed, or resonance. 

Translation, at its core, is about communication – communicating effectively with multiple audiences in their native tongue.

Balancing these three pillars can be challenging, as they often compete with each other. For example, if speed is a priority, it might come at the cost of your budget or the resonance of your translated content. 

In choosing your priority, you determine the way forward for your project, whether it is translation, transcreation or co creation. Each language service carries its weight and impact in the communication space. However, in the realm of multicultural marketing, we have found that co-creation is the best method to truly impact and move your audience into action.

Why co-creation?

Co-creation allows us to create in-language content with audiences and communities, not just for them, ensuring that our marketing efforts are as diverse and dynamic as the cultures we aim to engage. 

Co-creation is a collaborative design process grounded in the principle that the varied perspectives of different individuals can lead to more innovative, effective, and inclusive outcomes. It’s not just about consulting or getting feedback on preformed ideas; it’s about genuinely integrating different viewpoints, native perspectives and expertise from the outset to shape the direction, content, and execution of a project.

Take a deep dive as we explore the ins and outs of co-creation and how to use it to pave a new path of effective communication with diverse audiences. 

What is co-creation?

The term co-creation was coined in 2010 by C.K. Prahalad, an Indian-American entrepreneur, and Venkat Ramaswamy, an author and marketing professor, to describe the emerging relationship between customers and companies as more and more businesses, such as LEGO and IKEA, had started to implement active participation from their customer base in the product development process to help them come up with new products. 

Co-creation opens up your innovation process, regardless of what field you work in, to a wide range of voices that otherwise wouldn’t be involved, most importantly, your customers, those who matter the most. 

In multicultural marketing, co-creation is a collaborative process that involves creating your campaign alongside the audience it’s aimed at. Co-creation is particularly significant in marketing as it ensures that the marketing strategies and communication tactics are not only about the audience but also by the audience, fostering authenticity and resonance. Using this approach allows for diverse voices with new perspectives to come together to craft culturally sensitive, relevant, and impactful messaging in-language, rather than through translation. In multicultural marketing, the customer co-creation process is non-negotiable as it ensures that every element of your campaign has been vetted by the very communities they aim to serve. 

Through the collaborative approach of co-creation, we aim to break down the barriers between businesses and their audience, fostering a more democratic and participatory process. In turn, this enhances the quality and relevance of the campaign, and builds stronger connections between the customer base and the business, while also giving participants a sense of ownership. 

Benefits of co-creation

The benefits of co-creation rely on several important conditions that must be met for the process to be effective: trust, effective communication, and a focus on results. It can be easy to deviate from the purpose of the workshop and the results that the session aims to achieve. However, keeping those three conditions in mind as you navigate the process can help ensure you reap the benefits of the process. 

The benefits of co-creation are many, the most prominent of which are: 

Cultural resonance

When you co-create with your audience, you’re not just guessing what will resonate, you’re creating what will resonate. This eliminates the risk of cultural missteps and ensures your campaign is rooted in genuine understanding. In turn, this could lead to a more positive impact on your audience, leading to your desired results. 

New and innovative ideas

The collective intelligence of a community often uncovers insights and ideas that would otherwise be difficult to achieve in isolation. The active participants of the workshop offer a different perspective on the customer experience, which can lead to innovative solutions. Co-creation is a powerful tool for innovation that benefits the brand and the community.

Build trust and loyalty

In the creative process of co-creation, a sense of ownership helps community members develop a stronger relationship with the brand. When people see that their voices are actively incorporated into the brand’s messaging, it lends itself to a level of trust and loyalty that is hard to achieve through traditional top-down approaches. 

We saw these benefits come to light while working on our co-creation campaign earlier this year for the Department of Health and Aged Care. Through our co-creation process, we tapped into a wealth of cultural insight about multicultural healthcare that directly fed into the messaging we used across the campaign and the channels we used for consumer engagement. In the process, we built a level of trust that the benefits of can still be felt to this day, with customers who have a renewed sense of security and understanding of their health and how they can take control of it. 

Through co-creation, you’re not just adding another tool to your marketing toolkit. You’re adopting a paradigm shift that recognises the value of community intelligence, the importance of authentic representation, and the incredible potential for innovation when diverse minds come together.

Our co-creation process

Co-creation is not a one-size-fits-all process; it requires a tailored and flexible approach that considers the unique characteristics and needs of each community. However, we at LEXIGO have developed a method based on five universal stages that can help guide any co-creation journey:

  1. Groundwork
  2. Co-creation sessions
  3. Messaging
  4. Creative
  5. Test and refine

Stage 1. Groundwork

As with any project, you need to start by setting a baseline. 

First, identify your objectives and your target audience (communities and languages) as this is the base upon which you will build your findings. Your objectives will keep you on track throughout the process, helping you focus, whenever you’re not sure which direction to take. 

From there, identify community stakeholders to work with throughout the journey. These could be community leaders, influencers and everyday grassroots members who can provide valuable insights throughout the process. 

At this point, you might also want to conduct market research for your co-creation sessions. Market research can help you identify hypotheses to take into testing and serve as a jumping-off point for your co-creation sessions. 

Also, at this stage, you can loosely draft your key messages, visuals and potential channel distribution strategy based on your hypotheses to use as a starting point during your co-creation sessions. These will serve as a discussion point to propel you into a complete marketing plan by the end of the session. 

Stage 2. Sessions

With your community collaborators in tow, your objectives set, and your testing hypotheses identified, you’re ready to move on to the next stage, your co-creation session. Your session can take on many forms, from a brainstorming session to an active collaboration workshop, or a virtual meet-up on online platforms. Regardless of the format, the goal is the same – to develop concepts that are not just innovative but also deeply resonant with your target communities. These sessions should be safe spaces where ideas can flow freely. Topics can cover everything including your key messages, distribution channels, creative design, and people of influence. 

The environment within the session is crucial for success. A collaborative environment where everyone involved feels like their feedback and insight are valued is essential to truly leverage the power of co-creation and get the most out of the participants.

Participants also want to feel like they’re getting something out of the session. A rewards system can help motivate your co-creation group to be more intentional in their contributions, which could lead to more successful co-creation efforts. Rewards can include anything from financial gain to free products or services in return. 

Stage 3. Messaging

Following your co-creation session, it’s time to start crafting the messaging that you tested in the sessions. Sometimes the initial drafted messages are a good starting point and only need to be refined. Other times, depending on how they were received, they might need to be rewritten from a different perspective. Regardless, when the final messages are crafted, they should ideally be sent to the co-creation group for their final opinion before going to market. This way, you’re completely reassured of the campaign’s resonance within the community. 

Stage 4. Creative

Your creative elements bring your campaign to life and should be sensitive and inclusive. Across different communities and cultures, some cultural sensitivities and preferences might arise, such as colour preferences, or images or icons that might be culturally unacceptable. 

Your co-creation session should allow you to consult the community on creative and visual elements. While laying the groundwork, you can do your own market research, however, in co-creation, visual elements must be tested to ensure that they will be accepted within the community. Similar to messaging, allow for feedback and refinement to ensure the visuals are culturally sensitive and aligned with the community’s preferences.

Stage 5. Test and refine

Once you’ve developed your creative concepts and messaging, present them back to the community for feedback, perhaps through focus groups, online surveys, or community forums. Listen carefully to the feedback and be prepared to go back to the drawing board, if necessary. What makes co-creation unique is the iterative process between you and your audience. Each cycle of customer feedback brings you closer to a final product that truly resonates.

Co-creation is not a one-and-done affair but an ongoing process. Establish clear feedback channels for your community collaborators to tell you what they think, and use the insights you gain to continuously refine your creative elements. Don’t be afraid to release multiple versions of creative based on the feedback and fresh perspectives received. This approach allows you to fine-tune the messaging until it resonates deeply with the community.

At LEXIGO, we created a Native Community Partnerships Panel that we work with on every co-creation initiative to coordinate directly with the community and conduct community checking to ensure that creative elements resonate across the board. The Panel works with the community to provide insights and recommendations in real time on multicultural campaigns to ensure that they represent the community members’ experiences. 

Moving forward with the new co-creation model

The concept of co-creation allows you to collaborate directly with your audience to gather new ideas, change the status quo and create unique content that speaks directly to them. The goal is to approach issues from a different perspective and come away with a fresh approach and better content that is relatable, relevant and resonant. While working independently might feel more comfortable, it might not be the most effective, and when trying to implement change, effective communication is key. 

The value of co-creation lies in its collaborative process that aims to build trust and mutual respect between businesses and their customers. It can help companies, governments, and communities move forward by creating a collective framework based on shared values and goals. 

As the market becomes flooded with more businesses looking to gain your audience’s attention, companies need to find innovative ways to appeal to their customer base. Make your audience part of your process and turn to them to provide the context upon which you can create effective native communication. 

Ready to get started?

Get in touch to find out how you can translate, communicate, engage or grow your audiences in their native language and culture—our team is here to help.

Pricing ↗

Service streams

LEXIGO is a leading provider of professional translation services, technology and native communication for business, enterprise and government—enabling organisations to communicate with confidence and boost time-to-market across 171 languages. Learn more

LEXIGO: Professional Translation Services, Localisation and In-Language Communication. Our head office is located at Level 21, 459 Collins St. Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia. Make an appointment or contact sales here.

LEXIGO is a triple ISO-certified organisation certified to the following international standards: ISO 9001 for Quality Management, ISO 17100 for Translation Quality and ISO 27001 for Information Security.

LEXIGO acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.

© 2011-2024. LEXIGO®, NX® and Be Native® are registered trademarks. All rights reserved.