Now that we are functioning in a digital economy, reaching international customers is no longer just the realm of the established global powerhouses. Today, even Mom-and-Pop stores, small professional services organizations, and other small businesses are online, marketing to customers around the world.
Great opportunity to level the playing field, yes. But make sure that when you are marketing globally, you are also thinking culturally. Look at some of the cross-cultural boo-boos major brands have made in the past, and learn:
- In Sweden, someone somewhere in the Ikea corporate headquarters thought that the name for their new desk should be. . .Fartfull (that’s a pic of it up top)
- The US computer pioneer Wang chose to use the slogan “Wang Cares” in a campaign back in the 1970s; say it fast–the British were not amused
- An Italian mineral water producer named its product very carefully, not realizing that the word it chose was slang for “drug dealer” in Spanish
- And don’t even get me started on why the Australians might have wanted to globally market their Wack Off insect repellent. . .
So, thing to take-away here is to choose your words very carefully when you are marketing to an international audience. A little due diligence now could save embarrassment (and a lot of back-pedaling) later!
Oh, and are you following me on Twitter? Why NOT?!