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Don’t Get Lost in Translation

Posted by TeamITI on June 26, 2009

nationalitiesCassandra Jeyaram, PhD, Social Marketing Manager, Global Consumer Marketing at InterContinental Hotels Group, offered this key takeaway as marketers think about how to engage consumers and prospects online: “Be transparent and make a commitment. One of the biggest mistakes I see companies making is that they’ll set up a Facebook page or community and then ignore it. Social marketing tools are designed to build and foster relationships. They need nurturing and attention. Failure to connect and engage in a transparent way can lead to extremely disappointing results — not to mention wasted resources.”

In this age of globalization, there are important social, linguistic and behavioral differences between even the most similar of cultures, of which marketers need be aware as they try to expand their customer base beyond the US. I am reminded of this daily as I venture out in London. Someone always asks me, “Are you okay?” To an American, such a question might seem off-putting, as if the other party is in possession of some insider knowledge that I have been ailing in some way. However, after living in London for almost a year, I realize that this is the British way of asking “How are you doing?” and I answer accordingly: “Fine, thank you. You okay?”In short, is not simply enough to engage with Brits in the same manner as you’d engage with Americans, or with Australian consumers as you’d engage with Chinese ones. While new social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter may unify global audiences, they are not yet great homogenizers — many important cultural differences still remain.

Read the three lessons to be learned by marketers who engage global communities and download an interesting study.


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