When the Beijing Olympics opened, it was on one of the luckiest days in the Chinese Calendar, where the numbers 8-8-8 matched. This was no coincidence, the opening of the Olympics was planned for this day, to bring luck and good fortune to the event, and China’s own International Future.
Most people believe we are all rationalists, but are we? How many of us would start a new business venture on Friday 13th, or any 13th day of the month?
Whether we admit we are superstitious or not, this could really affect our business:
An expatriate business group decided to launch a new product, through a high profile seminar in a five star Hotel. A lot of effort and money was invested in the seminar, which was going to be the start of the Company establishing itself in a new Country. The result…
No one attended the seminar…
The management team were aghast, the product was good, it had sold well in many other Countries, TV, the local Radio station, and a high profile advertising campaign should of guaranteed the seminars success.
But the Marketing Team had forgotten something very important…
The product was advertised as Four key points to success, the number four appeared several times in advertisements, and was the main marketing focus of the business. The number four seems innocent, but to the Chinese community the Company was focusing on, it simply meant “bad luck.”
Names also mean something different to many people, a smart catchy name to one person, could mean the opposite to another. Many cultures see a meaning in names, and often are very careful what they call their children.
They may interpret your business name the same way, or even your personal name. When in reality we may not see any real meaning in a name. International Businesses often have to realize this, when they enter new markets.
For example in South America, a now troubled US Automaker spent millions on promoting a new Car. The Car was ideal for the market, and suited Latin American tastes, but sales never took off.
They called the car “Nova,” a catchy, sporty modern name but to many Latin Americans, it meant “Doesn’t work.”
So even if you see yourself as a rational person, bear in mind others may still perceive your product as something bad, only because no real research has been made into local beliefs or even language.