Forget the saying "the world is getting smaller" – it has become smaller and smaller. The progress of transport and communication technologies, together with the development of the world economy, has resulted in people from different nations, cultures, languages ​​and backgrounds communicating more and more, interacting and interacting with each other.

There are observers, this new found intimacy leads to a better understanding of the "other", and as a result, cultural differences are actually diminishing. However, in reality, the opposite is true. As we meet, our cultural differences become more pronounced when we realize that the rest of the world is not reading the same book. An area where this business is felt now.

Very few businesses can escape from time to time with foreign colleagues, clients or clients. Business is international, and if you want to develop and develop an organization you need to use international scenarios. Twenty years ago, British, European and American organizations engaged in foreign business had very little competition because of the rival industrialized nations. From this point on, it is easy to do business on the "road". Today, one of the world's largest economies is Japan, China, Mexico, Brazil, India and Korea. As a result, there was little change from "our way" to "trying to understand the way". Why? As Western organizations feel their impact, the lack of cultural sensitivity is capable of and in business performance. Many organizations now invest heavily in securing the staff of language lessons in order to break foreign markets and provide cultural sensitivity training that addresses issues such as etiquette, protocol, communication styles, and negotiation approaches. In a competitive world, such businesses appreciate that greater cultural sensitivity will help them develop longer and more prosperous relationships. However, development is slow. Unfortunately, the subconscious cultural superiority still prevails; the one that assumes that the rest of the world deals with people like us, and if not, then we must.

However, the inhabitants of the world come from many beliefs, cultures, world views and experiences that make this hypothesis futile. They all differ, and as a result, cross-border business (political, religious, cultural or linguistic) cultural sensitivity, that is the sense of empathy, flexibility and creativity understood by cultural knowledge. As in most things in life, the business world has experienced the hard way.

We will look at illustrations to illustrate examples of lack of cultural sensitivity that lowered the company, the individual, or the product. For the sake of shortness, they were classified into two simple categories: culture and language


Culture is presented in many forms and sizes. It contains areas such as politics, history, belief, mentality, behavior, and lifestyle. The following examples show that the lack of cultural sensitivity has led to failure.

* With 800,000 pixels in color, India has colored eight different shades of green in India to display the disputed Kašmir area. The green difference meant that Kashmir was not Indian and the product was immediately banned in India. Microsoft had to remember the 200,000 copies of the offensive Windows 95 operating system to cure diplomatic wounds. They came to millions.

* McDonald's fast-growing giant spent thousands of people on a new television commercial to target the Chinese consumer. The ad showed that a Chinese man kneeled before McDonald's guest and begged him to accept an overdue discount coupon. The ad on McDonald's behalf was caused by lack of cultural sensitivity. The ad was outraged by the fact that begging in Chinese culture is a shameful act

. * The beautiful example of the fact that images do not translate well into cultures, staff at the Port of Stevedore in Portland, saw the "internationally recognized" broken "fragile" (ie broken wine glass) symbol, and presumably a box of broken glass. Instead of losing space, the boxes were thrown into the sea.

* When US company Gerber began selling baby foods in Africa, they used the same packaging as the US, that is, the image of the baby on the label. Sales flopped, and soon they realized that in Africa companies usually put pictures on labels.

* Pepsodent tried to sell the toothpaste in Southeast Asia, stressing that he "whiten teeth". It was found that local natives combed the beta nut with their teeth, which they find appealing.

* The Hollywood Buddha film showed a complete lack of cultural sensitivity as Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Burma, when the designer of a film poster decided to show the singing act on the head of the Buddha, something sacred to some kind of clear decay.

* The concept of the Big Brother was somehow taken to the Middle East. The show was dismissed after the first few episodes of public protests and the pressure of religious bodies that the show's mixed sexual form was opposed to the Islamic principles.

* The golf ball manufacturer packed golf balls in four boxes, convenient shopping in Japan. Unfortunately, No. 4 is equivalent to No. 13 because it sounds like the word "death". The company had to pack the product again.


Business is filled with bad translations that have embarrassed their perpetrators because of the lack of cultural sensitivity. Here are some of the most beautiful examples.

* IKEA once tried to sell a FARTFULL workstation – a not very popular product for obvious reasons.

* Both the Clairol and Irish spirits, the Irishman, did not take proper account of the German language when they launched their products. Clairol hair iron "Mist Stick" and drink "Irish Mist" all flown – why? "Fog" appears in German as "fertilizer"

* The Japanese seem to have a special mood to name the products. The country has given us gems such as "homo soap", "coolpis", "strawberry bread" and "Shito Mix".

* A new face cream named "Joni" was released in India. They changed their name, because the word in Hindi was "female genitalia". "Coors had the slogan," translate, "in spanish, where" diarrhea has undergone. "

could easily have been avoided by doing some thorough research into the concept, design, form, color , the packaging, the message, or the target culture of the name. "In the majority of cases, we simply assume that" if we are OK, they are okay. "If businesses want to succeed internationally, cultural sensitivity must be all they do; about their personal relationships and their relationship with clients to the products / services they develop.

Source by Neil Payne

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