Multi-national corporations have to do their research on other countries before they decide to expand and franchise there. With faster communication, transportation and financial flows, the world is rapidly shrinking. International trade is booming. Imports of goods and services now account for 24% of gross domestic product worldwide. However, sometimes corporations fail to understand the culture of countries that they target as marketing opportunities, therefore not being able to market their brand successfully.
Culture is defined simply as the learned distinctive way of life of a society. Each country has its own traditions, cultural norms and taboos. When designing global marketing ...view middle of the document...
In France getting into a “grande école” tends to guarantee good job prospects whereas in Saudi Arabia the wealth and status of your family is far more important.
Cross-cultural management issues arise in a range of business contexts. Within individual firms, for example, managers from a foreign market company need to understand that local employees from the host country may require different organization structures and human resources management procedures. Cross-border joint ventures, alliances, or buyer–supplier relationships between two or more firms also require a cultural compromise. For firms to sell successfully to foreign customers requires culturally sensitive adaptations to products, services, marketing, and advertising.
Firms also tend to have different organizational and decision-making practices depending on where they have evolved and which cultures and subcultures they encompass. For firms to build successful alliances and partnerships there needs to be an understanding of the organizational differences between them. Culture influences the behavior and preferences of clients and customers. To sell successfully in a foreign market, a manager needs to adapt his product to meet the different needs of that particular group of customers. Any alteration in advertising, marketing, product or service features, after-sales support, technical back-up, documentation, etc., will be partly guided by cultural differences. Failure to do this ends in the kinds of marketing mistakes and communication blunders that become marketing folklore. For example, Ford’s low-cost truck was initially marketed as the Feira to Spanish-speaking people, but this means “ugly old woman” in Spanish. The Ford Comet, a high-end car, was sold as the Caliente in Mexico, which is local slang for “prostitute.” Unsurprisingly neither model did well in these markets. Ignorance of cultural differences represents a common stumbling block for international managers.
When a small business prepares to conduct operations with partners or customers from another culture, a crucial aspect for the success of that venture lies in the understanding of cross-cultural differences. If the people in charge of these ventures are not aware of the impact of their behaviors on cross-cultural relations, the misunderstandings, hurt feelings and communication errors that occur often will cause serious damage to those efforts.
A brand name that conjures images of quality and reliability in one language may have serious negative connotations in another. An Iranian razor manufacturer used the brand name "Tiz," the Persian word for "sharp," to illustrate the quality of its product. When the company began exporting the razors to nearby Qatar, they learned that "tiz" was the Arabic slang word for "buttocks," which the Arabic-speaking residents of Qatar found highly offensive. Sales of the razors plummeted and the Iranian manufacturer lost money on the failed marketing campaign.