Here is a transcript generated by Otter.ai of The Content Mix podcast interview with Jordanna Ber, head of localization at Rover:

Shaheen Samavati 0:13
Hi, everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here with Jordanna Ber, head of localization at Rover.com, a global network of pet sitters and dog walkers. Thanks so much for joining us!

Jordanna Ber 0:24
Thanks for having me!

Shaheen Samavati 0:26
And so tell me where you are right now. So and where the company is based as well?

Jordanna Ber 0:31
So I’m located in Barcelona, which is where our EU HQ is. And our US office is based out of Seattle and I have my trusty dog Lomu here as well.

Shaheen Samavati 0:48
We can only see the bottom.

Jordanna Ber 0:49
That basically most of his body anyways.

Shaheen Samavati 0:55
Great, so, and then and then the company is based in Seattle, is that right?

Jordanna Ber 1:01
Yeah, our our US HQ in Seattle.

Shaheen Samavati 1:04
Okay, cool. So yeah, maybe you could just tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up working at Rover and getting into localization.

Jordanna Ber 1:12
Sure. So I was born in Toronto, Canada, and I studied design, graphic design and in marketing, I started out a lot like yourself in, in publishing, working for a youth Media Group. Then I segwayed into the marketing world a little bit more and worked for an incredible NGO called Rethink Breast Cancer, I was managing and launching their social and content for them. And I think there’s really where I learned how to be brave and bold with content. They were really fearless and it was an amazing place to learn about, about marketing. From there. I worked in the travel industry a bit and then took a break to do an MBA in the UK, before moving to to Spain and and finding my job right now.

Shaheen Samavati 2:10
Cool. Yeah, we have a very similar story. Yeah. From North America came to Europe to do an MBA. Yeah. Very cool. So how long have you been working at Rover?

Jordanna Ber 2:21
I have been with rover almost just about three years. It feels like longer though, because it’s just been an amazing roller coaster. And we’ve grown so much in that time. So it’s, it’s been really amazing.

Shaheen Samavati 2:34
Can you tell us a little bit about what the company does?

Jordanna Ber 2:37
Yeah, so Rover is the world’s largest marketplace of pet sitters and dog owners. We launched in 2015. So if you are a pet owner, and you’re looking for a dog sitter in your local neighborhood, we have an app that you can log on to and find trusted five star dogs that are in your neighborhood.

Shaheen Samavati 2:58
Very cool. So I think like an interesting topic for a lot of our listeners is like, as an international person, you know, moving to Europe, how did you get into that first role with them? Like, yeah, how did you break into the job market?

Jordanna Ber 3:12
Yeah, it’s a funny story. I had a career advisor in the MBA, who said, you know, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re a North American coming to Europe, you know, you don’t want to do a triple jump of location, type of role and company. But I did all of that—exact opposite! I was job hunting and saw the role at DogBuddy, which was previously our company in Europe, that Rover acquired in 2018, and I thought to myself, “This is the only job I want. I’m gonna put all my eggs in one basket and I’m gonna go for this one!” And, and I’m really happy it worked out.

Shaheen Samavati 3:57
Yeah. Awesome. So basically, you just like worked really hard on on that application? And I mean, you had like a contact there or something like that?

Jordanna Ber 4:05
No, I didn’t have any contacts there! I think it was the first time in my life where I didn’t know anybody and had no network. So it was really scary. But I ended up connecting with a couple of people at the organization on LinkedIn ahead of time. And just you know, chatting with them and seeing what was you know, what roles were open in case this one didn’t work out or there was you know, it was too late and applying and, and yeah, it worked out for the best, but it was definitely a risk to take to just kind of put all your eggs in one basket and hope for the best. I think I annoyed everyone in my life, sending them my cover letter and CV, you know: “Is it too funny? Is it too serious? Do I need to add more dog stuff? Should I put a photo of my dog?” Yeah, so I think having having personality and just you know, going for it really was was the key.

Shaheen Samavati 5:09
Yeah, they say like it guess it kind of relates to content strategy in terms of like, the more targeted you are in the audience you’re trying to reach in, the more tailored, you are in your message, like the more chance of success, right?

Jordanna Ber 5:20
Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Shaheen Samavati 5:23
Very cool. Well, so maybe you can tell us a bit about what your day-to-day is like in your role. And also, what the, because, as you said, you were working for DogBuddy, which was then acquired by Rover and then your role, I guess, changed quite a lot at that stage. So yeah, can you tell us a bit about the story…the story?

Jordanna Ber 5:42
Yeah, sure. So initially, I started out as a manager for the country brand team, which was the team of marketers, international group of marketers that was each in charge of one or two of our European markets. And they were in charge of all of the content campaigns and communication for, for the UK, France, Italy, Spain, in coming in being an English speaker was really intimidating, but everyone was so welcoming and, and really just showed me the ropes quickly. And now my day to day is we’re working really closely with the marketing team, our product team and our core ops team to ensure that all of our content and communications and the different features that we’re going to release are adopted to the international markets. We also take care of Canada and French Canada as well. So making sure that if we’re doing a you know, marketing campaign that it has, you know, it’s meeting all of the the legal rights or the legal and compliance for those markets that it’s tailored to, to that audience properly. And yeah, it’s, it’s really different every day, which is what I love about it. And of course hanging out with the dogs in the office, which is always great. And yeah.

Shaheen Samavati 7:17
So, so I guess Rover is an American company that was doing things all in English and then so you’ve transitioned to, as they acquired the European business, like doing things in all the languages. Why, why is it so important to to adapt to different languages? I mean, how much of your audience doesn’t speak English?

Jordanna Ber 7:36
Yeah, a good chunk. Yeah, we’re in eight European markets. So Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Spain, France and Italy. I think that was eight. And when rover acquired DogBuddy, in 2018, we the platform was only ever run in English. And I remember my manager asking me at the time to, you know, if I could lead and head up the team that was going to localize and launch the product in Europe, and I hadn’t had a ton of experience with localization at that point other than what we were doing with our app and site. And I remember actually asking him, you know, like, yeah, I can do that. But, you know, seems a little easy. I can take on more than that. Which was completely wrong. It ended up being a huge project, gathering all of the contents. I think no one in the organization knew how much content there was to to put together and localize. You know, things like data formats for dog weights. We had a bug when we were launching where you would put in your dog weight and pounds, and when you saved it, it would go to kgs So you had a 10 pound dog, and then all of a sudden it was, you know, 22 kg It was like multiplying it and switching the format. So, you know, there’s little things that, you know, you encounter that, you know, are huge learning lesson, learning curves and lessons, but you’ll have along the way. So it was a really, really fun experience. And it was it was hard, but ultimately, incredibly successful and really rewarding.

Shaheen Samavati 9:28
Yes, I guess in the beginning, it was like localizing the app itself and like all the existing content, and then now it’s like ongoing localization of all the content you produce for different channels, or?

Jordanna Ber 9:38
Yeah, we had, we had to make a lot of decisions on what to localize. So you know, whether to go for an Airbnb kind of global product and launch our social channels in in one language in English. So combine all of them or have them separate, have one blog or have 10 blogs, which is completely different and, you know, requires a much different skill set and a lot of time and and budget. So there were there were a few trade offs. But with our content, we we know, we knew that it was going to be so important to have that content in, in the local language and have it adopted for those markets. So yeah, we decided to put the forward work in, it would take a little bit longer and cost a little bit more. But ultimately, we would be having a product that was… and content… that was adopted and going to fit the users.

Shaheen Samavati 10:40
I think it’s something like every global business has to decide in terms of like, how, how much to localize and how much content to do and how many different languages so what do you think are like the factors that are decisive on that? Like, what do you think it’s necessarily the same for every business? Are there certain things you should consider? Like, I mean, maybe being… depending on who your audience is, obviously and…?

Jordanna Ber 11:04
Yeah, I think you, you hit the nail on the head there really like it depends on on the audience being B2C and one of the really important things for us not only as marketers but as a company was to instill trust whereas the Ubers and Airbnb is of the world you know, it’s it’s part of the marketplace sharing economy. Rover is you know, you’re handing over your child or your fur child to, you know, to a stranger and there needs to be implicit trust there. So how do we build that? And language and localization is a key part of, of that trust. You know, there’s there’s a lot more pieces to the puzzle, but we wanted to make sure that people felt comfortable, they could speak in their language when they call us they could, you know, read our content in their language. You know, and they could understand and feel good about what they, you know, what they were doing.

Shaheen Samavati 12:09
So it’s it’s not only content, it’s like your entire operations like work in those in all those languages?

Jordanna Ber 12:14
Yeah, yeah. It makes it really fun to be in the office especially in Barcelona with people from I think we have people from 20 different countries and you hear you know, French and Spanish and Italian and, and dogs barking and you know, hear a little bit of every language.

Shaheen Samavati 12:34
Yeah, absolutely. Um, so could you tell me a bit about about what Rover’s approaches to content marketing?

Jordanna Ber 12:40
Yeah, sure. I it’s, it’s a little bit different. We, we have a community of over a million dog obsessed or pet —dog and cat—obsessed people. And our approach to content is really to appeal to dog and cat people. So, you know, a lot of the things we post whether it’s, you know, a meme or a photo, it’s the types of things like inside jokes that only dog or cat owners would laugh at, or know, you know, we kind of go with, we asked ourselves before we post something, you know, is this going to make my non dog owning friends a little bit weirded out? And if the answer is yes, then we post it. So, you know, from things like, you know, ‘I care deeply about five people in my life and roughly 500 dogs on Instagram that I’ve never met.’ So stuff like that. That’s really delightful and makes people laugh and see themselves in it. You know, we have a lot of humor and in what we post and our, our content and our businesses is so fun. So we get inspired by our dogs and our pets a lot.

Shaheen Samavati 14:02
So does everybody—do you have to have a dog to work?

Jordanna Ber 14:05
You don’t, you don’t! You don’t have to have one. We have actually some, of some of the people that don’t have pets in the office. They actually have signed up as as dog or cat sitters on the site. So we’ll sometimes have guest dogs in the office as well, which is fun to mix things up as well. So yeah, you don’t have to. It’s not a requirement.

Shaheen Samavati 14:31
But it helps if you love pets!

Jordanna Ber 14:33
It does, for sure.

Shaheen Samavati 14:38
Okay, so we can we can go into our rapid fire recs, recommendations. I was wondering if you have an example of a piece of great content or a channel that you think does great content?

Yes, I do. Surprisingly dog related. If you haven’t heard about it, there’s an amazing Instagram account called We Rate Dogs and people send in photos of their dogs and, and they rate them out of 10. Little spoiler alert that all the dogs are 10/10 or over. They’re all good dogs. And it’s just kind of content that that we really need in I think this time, they also have started raising money for you know, people that can’t afford surgeries or you know, certain situations with their pets. I always try to donate but I’m never fast enough because it’s always you know, fully funded in 10 minutes, dammit!

That’s cool. So it’s kind of like a hot or not for dogs but everyone’s hot?

Jordanna Ber 15:41
Yeah, yeah. They’re all hot.

Shaheen Samavati 15:46
That’s really cool. Um, and then we’ll do you recommend any resource for people working in marketing or localization?

Jordanna Ber 15:54
I recently joined a group on LinkedIn called Women in Localization, which is a special national group where everyone shares resources, you know, different roles that are open to job opportunities. They have a monthly newsletter, and it’s great to speak with other people that, you know, are in the same industry as you and share insights. So I’ve been I’ve been on there quite a bit lately.

Shaheen Samavati 16:24
Very cool. definitely have to check that out. And then your favorite app at the moment?

Jordanna Ber 16:30
I don’t know if I’m allowed to say Rover?

Shaheen Samavati 16:33
Yeah!

Jordanna Ber 16:34
With COVID, it’s been so you know, we haven’t been able to travel. So now that Europe is opening its borders a little bit, or slowly easing restrictions. I’ve been messaging my sitter on the app and like, Hey, are you available this weekend? Can I drop my dog off here? So it’s been really helpful, but um, aside from that shameless plug, I’ve also been using the app Calm, which is a meditation app. It’s really helped me during the pandemic and working from home and all the changes that are happening… just plugging it in doing a 15 minute, you know, meditation and being able to kind of get on with my day or at the end of the day if I’m super wired, helping me to kind of shut down and transition to, you know, my second second home, you know, after work.

Shaheen Samavati 17:26
Yeah. Nice. Yeah, I really like that app too, I’m a big fan of Calm. And well, so, to end the interview, do you have any, like parting advice for anyone looking to get into localization or people working in the field?

Jordanna Ber 17:40
Yeah, I think there’s probably two pieces of advice I would give. The first one is data is your friend. Rovers an incredibly data driven company and I know a lot of marketers and especially content marketers can be afraid of of the, you know, the data side and leave that to the the growth marketers are the analysts but, you know, there’s a lot of great tools out there that that you can use to amplify your instincts and kind of test. And then you can kind of test track, iterate and you know, scale what’s really working. So I think, you know, combining things like we use that Rover we use ahrefs, seoClarity, and Sprout Social, to draw insights and and get inspiration for what content is really what content people are connecting with, and what we think will kind of work next.

Shaheen Samavati 18:35
Like separately for each of the markets?

Jordanna Ber 18:38
Yeah, we do. We track different markets, because it’s all language driven. So if you’re doing social listening, or you want to kind of see what keywords people are looking, are searching to find content that’s similar to yours, you have to do it in the local language. So that’s really, really key. And that’s been a really great part of our strategy that… that seems to be working.

Shaheen Samavati 19:03
Very cool. Awesome. Those are great tips. Thanks. Thanks so much Jordanna for for sharing your insights with us.

Jordanna Ber 19:09
Thanks so much for having me. It’s great speaking with you!

Shaheen Samavati 19:12
And thanks everyone for listening in. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out TheContentMix.com and keep tuning into the podcast. We’re publishing interviews like this one every week day. See you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai