Adaptation: the not so obvious thing

Adaptation, the one thing I learned the hard way in China. I did it when I trullydiscovered that cultures play a huge role in the way you market, and too often you can make the mistake of adapting your product without considering some factors. And that’s where you really screw it up.
I know, you might be thinking that doing a literal translation is an obvious failure, but in the end, if everybody is doing the same mistake it can’t be so obvious.
When I was in China I developed my company’s website from scratch. New strategy, new design, and new ways of telling the story.
To put you into context, we had seven different markets with different cultures. Some of them were similar but a tiny thing could make a big impact. You bet it happened. We had to rethink the project and find different ways to approach those  markets. Result: different strategies and a waste of time.
So obvious! But until it happens to you, you don’t notice it.
One size doesn’t fit all. It’s impossible. Well, it’s not actually impossible, but you’d have all the tickets to get out.
It’s like when the smartphone era started to make noise and the newspapers put their web designs, literally, into those small screens, generating a horrible user experience.
Adapting your product is not only a matter of translating what you already have. It’s about understanding your audience and how they interact with those tools.
Something that sounds obvious, but again and again we fall in the same trap.
Then, how do we solve that? By being empathetic and understanding how the consumer thinks. Easier said than done.