How to build brand trust through language (and why that matters in localisation)

“If you speak to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. But if you speak to a man in his own language it goes to his heart.”
– Nelson Mandela


Building an international brand requires insight into how to build trust in new business environments where language and culture define how people think, and determine business communication and behaviours. To flourish on a global scale, businesses need to garner trust. But how do we build trust in international contexts?

As in any relationship, trust is something that has to be earned. It’s not automatic – you need to take active steps to show people that you’re worthy of their attention, and ultimately their investment. The way in which you communicate is a big part of that process.

Here are 4 steps to help you build that trust through your communication:


Step 1: Be consistent

Before jumping straight into your new market, it is critical to spend time getting the basics right first. Consistency across your communications is the first step in building trust with your audience. People interact with your business in multiple ways – they might see your TV advert, visit your social media pages, read a physical brochure, or speak to a salesperson over the phone – and those different channels all need to align with the same messaging.

Without consistency, your brand message will be diluted and potentially become confusing to your target audience.

So, how do you build trust through consistency?


Style Guide

When entering new markets it’s imperative to have a localisation style guide that’s easy to understand and implement across any medium; both within your organisation and externally to marketing partners.

These guidelines include the tone of the translation, word choice, formatting, brand voice, writing style, and more.

When many people are writing for your brand, you need everyone to work from one common set of guidelines.


Top tip: When selecting your localisation / translation partner, ask them if they are able to support you in creating these guidelines – a quality organisation should offer this service.



It’s easy to fall into the trap of writing the way you would in your home country, But translation is more than just changing the words from one language to another, it is a means of building bridges between cultures.

Choosing the right words and understanding the cultural nuances of your local market is essential if you want people to trust you.

When it comes to building trust, putting the priority audience first and committing to investing in meticulous transcreations, vs quick translations, makes all the difference.


Top tip: Choose a team you can trust to take the time and care to select words that truly convey your intended meaning. This team should be highly specialised in the language nuances of your local market and be able to remove any barriers while preventing any possibility of miscommunication.


Step 2: Be authentic

As the opening quote on this blog mentions, ‘if you speak to a man in his own language it goes to his heart’. This speaks volumes about the importance of language in building trust, including successful business relationships. Speaking to your international buyers in their language not only eases communication but shows commitment to building the relationship.

People don’t buy products, they buy the experience. They buy into the story you tell. The heart and soul behind your brand is what people buy into, and what builds their loyalty to your brand.

People also want to feel like they’re understood and listened to. Showing empathy in your communications will show your readers that you care. Trust is a natural next step.

Customers will pay to communicate in their native tongue, and 68 percent of surveyed consumers* said they would jump to a competitor if a business doesn’t speak their language. It’s on businesses to make customers feel valued and comfortable, so they can communicate their needs and report any issues with a product or service.

So if you want to build a relationship with your audience and begin to earn their trust, you need to show your personality. Authentic communication is what makes great first impressions last.


Top tip: Be purposeful about your communication and spend the time to research your new market. The more you understand your audience as people and explore how they think and what they need, the better you can adapt your communications to appeal to them.


The result? Authentic, empathetic campaigns that draw engagement and build trust.


Step 3: Be bold

The first three steps are essential in building brand trust through the language you use, but they’re not enough. If you want people to respect your brand, you need to stand for something or at least appear different from others in your industry. Being bold about delivering on what you stand for, will make your audience pay attention and trust that you’re capable enough to deliver.

Adding localised nuance to your writing will bridge the gap between you and your audience, making them feel more connected to you.


Top tip: Try adding more emotive language to your communications, again only what is culturally appropriate and acceptable.


Step 4: Be supportive

Great content is designed to persuade people to buy into you, and from you, but to build trust you messaging should not always be focused on the sale.

Creating useful and valuable content will encourage people to read, engage, and ultimately trust your recommendations later on.

Localising the content will also be key to your brand’s success in each market, as some topics may not be relevant in a particular country or they may be off-the-table completely.


Top tip: Ensure that you have a content strategy for each market you are entering or operating in. Your localisation partner will be instrumental in assisting you with local expertise into what content will resonate and what needs to be avoided.


Brands that are able to have success in cultivating strong and authentic connections with audiences will be those that commit the time, research, and learnings necessary to create culturally appropriate campaigns that build trust. 

If you are in need of localisation and/or translation services to expand your business and ensure lasting brand trust in your European markets, then get in touch with us.


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*Source: Unbabel’s Global Multilingual CX Report 2021