Friday, October 16, 2009

The French, and Other Snags in Your Global Marketing Efforts

Oh, those French. So proud, so self-serious. They can’t let a fun and fitting new term like cloud computing just be.

They have to come up with their own, uniquely French name for it. The Wall Street Journal takes a quizzical look at this process as it’s carried out by France's General Commission of Terminology and Neology.

The article is worth a read as a caution for all current and aspiring global marketers out there about the many pitfalls of communicating in overseas markets.

The French may be more forceful in their defiance of “outsider” words. But they’re hardly the only ones. Truth is, every culture is quick to dismiss anything that doesn’t sound native. They won’t look too kindly on your brand if you don’t blend in.

Google translator won’t cut it. A decent translation service won’t necessarily, either. After all, you have to do more than just speak the language; you have to work to become part of the culture, to understand and respond to what customers care about and the way they think in each market.

Chances are you can’t accomplish it with your own resources alone (unless you’re, say, Coca-Cola). More likely, you’ll get through to your audiences overseas by leveraging strategic partnerships with firms in those markets. They become the keepers of your brand in far-flung places. Who knows, you might even work with them by using cloud computing.

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