CMI CEO Haitham Wahab Speaks at LocWorld Conference

How are brands and businesses attracting and retaining customers worldwide? This was one question at the core of this year’s LocWorld October conference in Seattle.

The smartest brands are recognizing that acting globally through localization is necessary to engage existing as well as prospective customers, said Haitham Wahab, CEO of CMI. His presentation to localization industry leaders, “Communication in a Post-Text World,” analyzed the growing role of video in communication.

Digital Transformation

“In a world that communicates and interacts digitally, the very concept of a brand is becoming transnational, and untethered to geography,” Wahab said. “The need for customers to ‘identify’ with their favorite brands beyond the products they represent, but also on an ‘espoused-values’ level, requires an intimacy of communication that cannot be done without true commitment to localization.”

Other notable highlights included a keynote by a technology officer at National Geographic. Drawing on his experiences working around the globe, Marcus East illustrated how the media company addressed the challenges of digital transformation by becoming an agile, international, yet locally sensitive digital publisher.

Market Shift & Consolidation

The industry buzz at the conference focused on the way localization is attracting private equity players who see the industry as too fragmented, and are investing heavily. “They believe the market for these services will continue to grow, and therefore believe a strategy of consolidating most players will result in larger market shares for fewer players and reduce costs of service delivery,” said Wahab. “The unspoken realization is that traditional [i.e. document-driven] localization is largely commoditized, so margin improvements are best gained through consolidation and economies of scale.”

LocWorld’s conferences are one of the localization industry’s premier gatherings to discuss and share industry trends. This year’s theme of “Digital Transformation” attracted a large number of corporate brands along with language service industry vendors. The conferences are held around the world, with upcoming events in Kuala Lumpur and Portugal.

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