International Marketing Blunders… Do Your Research

Gabriel Palmquist-Clark MKTG 420

I would say the common denominator in all marketing blunders is a lack of research. I’m not saying a company who commits a international marketing blunder didn’t do their due diligence. I’m just saying they didn’t do it where it mattered. If you are a company getting ready to market in an international setting, wouldn’t your number one priority be to make sure your message is the same? What would be the point of hiring a ton of people, do countless hours of research, spending tons of money on creating an ad, and countless other things, just to have it all go to waste? And why does it all go to waste? Because you missed the most important aspect of your research! Make sure it actually makes sense in another culture! I bet a company is going to feel pretty stupid when they spend over a million dollars on a marketing campaign just to offend someone. All they had to do was just spend a tiny bit more time and money and all their efforts wouldn’t have become a complete waste.

Lets be honest here, is there actually anything more important than the final message you put out through a marketing campaign. All your time, money and research is reflected in the one ad that that an entire country sees. Lets take a look at some prime examples that could have used a little more research

So how can one avoid huge blunders like the ones seen in this video? I’ll give 5 things to follow when launching a international marketing campaign:

1. Understand your brand name: This is easy. Just make sure your brand name doesn’t mean something offensive in another culture

2. Understand the cultural significance of colors: Even something as simple as colors can mean something different in another culture.

3. Use Humor Carefully: Out of all things, humor may be the hardest to translate. Might be best to avoid using humor internationally.

4. Don’t alienate with analogies: Analogies are something that are very culturally bound. It may be clear in America what some analogies mean, but in other countries people have certainly never heard of most of ours. They wouldn’t make sense, or even worse they may offend someone.

5. Go native Online: With the way people are all over the internet these days, companies have to be extra careful that they can cater to foreign audiences in the online realm as well. All the same rules apply. Words, colors and graphics must not be offensive, and always double check to make sure everything translates smoothly

Credit: Susanne Evens from Brand Channel []

So in the words of a pretty famous brand. Research….Image


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