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Author: Textappeal

Top 4 Soft Skills for Cross-Cultural Marketing

  |   CultureShocks Blog

Today there is much talk about the importance of soft skills. Be it at the start of one’s career or in a position of leadership, soft skills are necessary to succeed. In fact, in the Bloomberg 2016 Skills Report, recruiters were asked which skills they wanted most and an overwhelming focus was put on soft skills!

 

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are simply the less tangible qualities people possess. This includes one’s strengths and weaknesses, one’s personality traits and characteristics and one’s attitude. Typically, soft skills are learned through experiences and interaction as opposed to technical knowledge that is often gained through direct teaching. There’s no doubt that soft skills play a very important role in career matters. Even as the world becomes more digitised with face-to-face interaction cut to the minimum due to developments such as email, social media etc., basic soft skills are necessary to succeed in any job. In a field like global marketing that involves everything from meeting people from various backgrounds, travelling to new countries, to being truly immersed in a culture at its base level, having a set of certain soft skills at one’s disposal is especially handy. Here are the four top cross-cultural soft skills that a global marketer should aim to perfect.

 

1. Communication

Stellar communication skills are critical so as to interact professionally with people from different cultures and backgrounds. This doesn’t mean being an accomplished writer or a brilliant orator. Having good communication skills consists of being able to coherently express oneself, from writing a memo to giving a persuasive presentation. The role of communication is exponentially important in a cross-cultural setting where there may be innate language barriers already in place. In this way, one should be able to communicate effectively and efficiently so that all parties are on the same page, regardless of cultural differences. Since people from different cultures have very different communication styles, it is important to quickly pick up on said style so as to gain an appreciative audience. In an article on the BBC, Erin Meyer, a professor at INSEAD business school in Fontainbleau, France, who specialises in cross-cultural management, tells the story of a French employee who was recently relocated to the US. “Her boss informed her that her performance needed to change. But because he delivered the negative feedback by expounding first on what he appreciated about her work – and she was generally unaccustomed to receiving positive feedback – she floated out of the meeting thinking it had gone well,” said Meyer. This is an example of failed cross-cultural communication, where the objective wasn’t conveyed or understood well, highlighting the importance of better communication skills.

 

 

2. Adaptability

Being adaptable is a key soft skill in the realm of global marketing. According to Lynne Sarikas, MBA Career Center Director at Northeastern University, “To succeed in most organisations, you need to have a passion for learning and the ability to continue to grow and stretch your skills to adapt to the changing needs of the organisation.” In a field like marketing, this is even truer. Marketing campaigns are constantly changing and evolving, even more so when marketing moves to a global scale. Due to the everyday dynamism of cultures, anyone engaged in cross-cultural marketing must be adaptable and open-minded to succeed. Furthermore, being adaptable to any sort of environment is extremely useful when having to deal with culture shocks that arise from moving to a new country for work. Consider this example given by Gayle Cotton, now president of Circles Of Excellence Inc, from when she first started working at the United Nations in Geneva in the early 90s. Cotton answered a phone call with a regular “Hello, how are you?” Her seemingly normal greeting was met with a curt response, “That’s none of your business. Now what I want to talk about is…” As Cotton recalls, “it wasn’t personal, the caller, a Swiss German, wanted to get down to business, and the personal element was irrelevant.” This sort of minor culture shock was handled easily by Cotton, who simply adapted to the Swiss norms of phone protocol – she began answering her phone with just her last name, emulating her colleagues in Geneva.

 

 

3. Listening and Awareness

Even though listening may not seem like much of a “skill”, it is something surprisingly few people actually excel at. Listening as a cross-cultural soft skill doesn’t entail just hearing people talk. Rather, it consists of hearing, understanding and processing so that one is able to make informed decisions. Paired with listening is the ability to be constantly aware of one’s surroundings. Within the spectrum of cross-cultural marketing, it is vital to listen so as to understand the intricacies of different cultures. An added bonus comes in the form of language gains – by listening intently and being observant, local jargon as well as non-verbal cues are learnt. Similarly, being aware of the surrounding environment can give insights into cultures that mere indirect research might not. Consider the example of Airbnb’s global campaign that continues to shine. By actively paying attention to colloquial ways of speaking, Airbnb was able to incorporate their findings into localised websites. Today, Airbnb has websites that cater to specific forms of the same language. Depending on the language of preference, Airbnb translates spellings (for example, American English versus British English) and colloquial terms and usages (changing, say, “vacation” to “holiday”) depending on the country version of the site. Airbnb’s success is a great example to show how attention to detail does indeed pay off.

 

4. Creativity

Urban studies theorist Richard Florida wrote in his book ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’, “What powers economic growth? It’s not technology – technology is a raw material. What makes human beings unique is one thing – creativity. are subsets.” These words bear testament to the power of creativity as a soft skill. Creativity encapsulates many forms – from creative thinking in a more traditional and artistic manner to creative problem solving. Cross-cultural campaigns come with their fair share of challenges, and more often than not, traditional thinking doesn’t lead to the solution. Rather, thinking outside the box, or tackling a task from a different perspective yields much better results – and this is where the ability to be creative in any situation that requires it, is a great cross-cultural soft skill to hone.

While having knowledge of international marketing is of immense importance, honing the above cross-cultural soft skills is also essential to succeed as a global marketing maverick. Technical know-how will get one far, but it is great communication, an ability to quickly adapt, listen, pay attention to detail as well as be holistically creative that leads to true success!

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transcreation best practices

4 Key Elements to Achieve Global Brand Success

  |   CultureShocks Blog

There has been a lot of discussion as to whether ‘Transcreation’ is a necessary term or if it is another fancy way of saying ‘Translation’. But companies, agencies, and linguists now understand that marketing text is not like any text. It not only implies culture, as translation does, but also other language nuances such as humour, irony, timing, momentum and creative intent.

 

Transcreation means freedom, but with certain limitations. And these limitations are not the same as in Translation.

 

A successful tagline may work in the US, but not in China. This is kind of obvious. But that’s exactly why agencies rely on linguists with experience in target markets. As well as helping you with translation, agencies have reliable human resources to work as cultural consultants. This is really helpful when it comes to knowing if a similar campaign is currently running on tv, if there’s a recent ad on the radio with the same creative concept or if the print they’re working on has been used by competitors three months earlier. It’s not only about achieving the highest possible standards, but also about preventing a campaign from disaster.

 

Which elements should we take into account when adapting or creating campaigns that will later feature in other countries? These are some basic questions that will lead you to success:

 

1. To whom are you speaking?

 

transcreation best practices-communication-min

This is a tricky one! While in several countries it is possible to approach the target audience in an informal tone, this could mean a total catastrophe in other countries. Something as basic as using ‘you’ can change the whole feeling of a sentence depending on the location. For example, in Spain, ‘usted’ is used by formal industries like medicine or law. However, many banks — which could be considered as part of the most formal industry —are now choosing ‘tú’, which is a more relaxed way of saying ‘you’ with the objective of appealing to a new generation and to differentiate themselves from competitors. This may seem insignificant, but a social change is implied and that is why professionals that understand the culture, the history of advertising and their own language must be involved when adapting the original copy to a new audience. Only a curious transcreator (who is experienced in marketing) could say which way the wind is blowing.

 

2. Are you using the right emojis?

 

transcreation best practices-emoji-language-barriers-min

Emojis are here to stay, but they should be treated with caution. In some languages copy can be so powerful that adding an emoji is redundant. However, when adapting a campaign to another language, that ‘powerful’ nuance could mean ‘serious’, so to relax the intention of the message, an emoji could help a lot. The same happens when an emoji is out of place and should be removed.

Emojis should be reviewed depending on the market. And, of course, linguists and copywriters should put quality before quantity, as it is a resource that should be managed in a smart way so it preserves its effect and adds to the copy.

 

3. Which are the forbidden words?

forbiden words in transcreation best practices

This is probably the most important point. There are certain words that should be avoided in some languages, while in others can mean beautiful things. Language specialists are aware of this and will keep this in mind when it comes to ‘adapting’ a campaign. But what exactly does adapting a campaign mean? We could say it is getting final copy that works as the original would, accomplishing the marketing objectives, and maintaining the spirit of the brand. Sounds complex right? It is also exciting. No need to worry, a good agency and a good linguist would recognise a ‘wrong’ word immediately in their own language.

 

4. Is your company ‘translatable’?

 

transcreation best practices-brand translatable-min

When a company is global, it understands the power of good copy. When a global company has a vision, it understands that copy is only good if it can be adapted to other countries where it has presence.

It is wise to count on a copywriting team in-house to create the content. But this only works if these copywriters are aware that they’re crafting content that will later be adapted for another market. This doesn’t mean creating plain, neutral text. It means forward planning and taking care of elements that, if not observed, could be an issue for the company in the future.

 

Do you think there’s something more to be considered? Share it with us!

 

Written by Spanish transcreator Maria Godoy.
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suprised woman because of the brand mistakes brands have made

10 of the Biggest Marketing Faux Pas of All Time

  |   CultureShocks Blog

It’s always a good idea to check whether your name, logo, or tagline means something different in the regions where you’re expanding. Otherwise these blunders can cause brands a lot of harm. We’ve gathered a list of marketing blunders made by some of the biggest and most loved brands.

 

1. Wake Up!

10 Biggest Brand Blunders in History, pepsi brings your ancerstors back from the dead

Back in the olden days, Pepsi’s wholehearted approach in creating prose to attract a younger generation sadly backfired in China when their ‘come alive’ slogan was mistranslated to mean ‘Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead’. I know fizzy drinks wake you up, but my great-great grandma here says somebody must have been sleeping on the job…

 

2. Happy Accident

10 Biggest Brand Blunders in History, only exit signal from starbucks

More recently a Starbucks sign unknowingly created an invite many would not want to refuse. The mistranslation from English actually read ‘Success here’ in Spanish. I wonder how many budding entrepreneurs waltzed through the doors after seeing this…

 

3. Mind the Design

allah script that offended muslim community10 Biggest Brand Blunders in History, allah script considered an insult for the Muslim community

Two products which have offended some in the Muslim community by making the mistake of using Arabic lettering that looks uncomfortably similar to the script for ‘Allah’.

 

4. Burned

mac donalds blunder in mexico, unidos por el destino

Another cultural slip up, this time in Spain. The ad featured a TexMex burger illustrated by a stereotypical short Mexican man standing next to a tall dude from Texas, draped in the Mexican flag – which is not legal back home. The Mexican ambassador for Spain was quick to express his disapproval. The news went viral in Mexico and spread to the Hispanic population is the U.S., one of the chain’s big consumer segments. I guess even the best burgers get burned sometimes…

 

5. Oldie but Goldie

Coors slogan read suffer from diarrhoea.

Coors’ slogan ‘Turn it Loose’ got somewhat lost in translation, telling Spaniards to ‘suffer from diarrhoea’. Not sure I’d be in a hurry to drink that…

 

6. One for the Dogs

mc donalds blunder in the Middle East

Adapting languages across regions such as the Middle East requires even more care as script must also be taken into account. One simple misplaced dot or line can change an entire meaning. A fast food giant fell victim to this after adapting their ‘I’m loving it’ tagline into Standard Modern Arabic, which translated to ‘I’m a bitch’ in Egyptian dialect. I guess this one went to the dogs…

 

7. Ballsy

faux pas Nissan turbo cojones

This mishap saw a car maker forget America’s multicultural population with the headline ‘Turbo-Cojones’. In English, the expression refers to someone with a daring attitude, but in Spanish it means ‘Turbo Sweaty Nutsack’…. Ay, caramba!

 

8. Clean Up Your Act

nothing sucks like an electrolux

Rewind 25 years to when a Swedish company became one of the highest performers in the white goods category with its award-winning slogan ‘Nothing Sucks Quite Like Electrolux’. However, while expanding into the UK, they were unaware of the negative connotations ‘sucks’ held in Britain. I hear the brand quickly cleaned up its act and sucked up market share…

 

9. Taking the Piss

pee cola marketing mistake

Tourists visiting Ghana will have been surprised by their discovery of ‘Pee Cola’. The name of this highly popular soft drink actually translates to ‘very good cola’. I usually don’t take the piss, but in this case…

 

10. Food

puma faux pas in the uae

For the United Arab Emirate’s 40th anniversary, a sportswear brand decided to show solidarity with the nation and release a limited edition pair of trainers with the UAE flag’s colours. Little did they know that showing the bottom of your foot is a huge insult in Arab countries, and wrapping the flag around it even worse. I guess someone put their foot in their mouth…

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Chinese translation fails in the film industry

How Nonsensical Chinese Translations Can Utterly Ruin a Film

  |   CultureShocks Blog

Cinema is a cultural force held with great regard and reverence the world over. Films can be powerful motivators in provoking thought, action, and a wide array of emotions. Films can make us feel more human, heighten our sense of awareness and compassion, and they can even change our lives for the better.

China is the world’s second largest movie going population behind the United States, and is on course to become the number one largest film audience in the world by 2020. In the past several years, American and Chinese audiences have been intertwined thanks to major co-production deals; case in point, Lionsgate Entertainment recently reached a $1.5 billion agreement with Hunan TV, China’s leading provincial broadcaster. Additionally, 2017 will see China’s most expensive film to date, The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon. More deals like these are currently in the works, indicating the incredible momentum the Chinese are experiencing in the film industry.

Despite the country’s love of film, there are still major issues in the department of Chinese translation. Many movie elements are often lost or misinterpreted; this can have a severe impact on the motion picture’s box office success in such international markets. Ranging from funny to grotesque, nonsensical, and more, a movie’s dialogue can become unintentionally yet relentlessly butchered thanks to translation issues when a film crosses oceans.

Let’s take a look at how Chinese translation has effected movie-going experiences and how the situation can be remedied.

 

Title Translations that Caused Different Expectations

 

chinese translation fails in the film industry, death at the old and dirty gas station

The title is part of a movie’s hook; how it reels in audiences and persuades them to perceive the visual story. It often reflects the film’s topic, tone, and subject matter, and can be rolled into a witty little package. When translators aim to express this wit in another language, however, things can most definitely go awry.

Over the decades, there have been a plethora of movies whose titles didn’t make the same impact overseas as they did in America. Films like The Full Monty, ended up as, “Six Naked Pigs” while smash successes like The Sixth Sense had its ending utterly ruined with the translated title, “He’s A Ghost!”

Some of these Chinese translation blunders are due to direct transcriptions which do not make sense in other languages, while others like the ones above are brought about by trying to interpret cultural phrases into something that is more meaningful for the audience that it is translated for.

At times, this can even result in a more accurate depiction of a film’s content. For instance, the critically acclaimed U.S. movie Boogie Nights became “His Powerful Device Makes Him Famous.” Accurate, but not necessarily catchy or alluring.

These kinds of translational discrepancies are not limited to just movie titles. The dialogue gets in on the action too. . .

 

Film Conversations Translated into Unintelligible Communications

 

chinese translation fails in the film industry 3

More important than a movie’s title is its content. Dialogue between characters is the very core of the film’s communication, in most cases. Much of this impact can be lost when translated into foreign dialects, making the translation process a tricky task indeed.

A prime example of this is the movie Harry Potter. The movies are blockbuster hits all across the world and have received much acclaim. When the movie received a Chinese translation, many of the exchanges came out completely unintelligible and nonsensical. The movie’s translated conversations included lines like, “dirty name of my melon father”, “Ron got a yelling email”, and a variety of other senseless lines.

But it isn’t just Chinese translations that are butchering dialogue. Many have seen, or at least heard about, a variety of Kung Fu films which were subsequently given hilariously irrational English subtitles. In these movies you can often find lines like, “Beware! Your bones are going to be disconnected”, or “Who gave you the nerve to get killed here?”

 

Much of the problem with dubbed or subtitled translations comes from the use of software to interpret conversations. These tools are only capable of providing direct translations of words and do not understand cultural context, undertones, or nuances of language. When an actual person is conducting the transcription duties, things can still be wrongly interpreted as many don’t comprehend witty idioms, cultural references, and other societal differences that are misinterpreted or mistaken.

With a variety of Chinese translation complications, how can these issues be remedied as to not impact a movie’s overseas ticket sales and reputation?

 

How to Alleviate Translation Troubles

 

chinese localisation services as a solution for chinese translation fails in the film industry

A rather large issue is that movie studios do not spend the funds that are required to properly transcribe a movie into alternate languages. Many have denoted that the majority of studios don’t even budget for this service at all.

Instead of allowing a movie to be released with silly and senseless titles or ramblings, a more desirable and professional approach would be to hire reputable Chinese localisation services that can provide the cultural context that is needed to properly decipher intonations, sayings, and so forth.

If movie studios don’t want their productions to look like half-witted jokes in various countries across the globe, it is necessary for them to invest in professional translation services. Doing so would greatly benefit the international moviegoer’s experience, and help to protect a film’s influence and reputation across the world.

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multilingual seo and global seo

Global SEO: 5 Top Rules for Better SEO

  |   CultureShocks Blog

An American marketing executive was asked by his CEO to shape up their brand’s struggling European operations.

“Aaron,” said the CEO, on the top floor of the company’s tall glass headquarters in downtown Chicago, “you are a change-maker. I want you to go to London, align EMEA marketing with our best practice, and double our market share.”

“Consider it done,” Aaron answered.

Aaron decided to hire a business coach to help him navigate the new corporate environment. On a morning call with a London colleague, he happened to mention that he wanted to know about the best local coaches. The colleague insisted on helping.

Later that day he received an email:

Dear Aaron,

It’s a bit late here but I did a quick online search for you. You’ll find attached a list of coaches. We look forward to welcoming you on the other side of the pond!

Over dinner, Aaron told his wife about the email.

“I’m sure London will be terrific, but it does seem a little disorganised out there. The head of HR said he’d email me details of local business coaches, but all there was in the attachment was a list of local bus lines.”

His wife, a famous writer who was often invited to speak in Britain, laughed.

“Darling, in England ‘coach’ means ‘bus’. Words matter.”

 

This is one of the biggest complications that brands face when they go international. Understanding these subtleties in language is critical when catering to a foreign audience. And if your business is ready, worldwide branding can be a profound decision, as most of the top-ranked websites in the world don’t cater to a single region of the globe. They transcend borders to spread their offerings to international audiences. While English is the most widely used language on the web, focusing only on these English-speaking individuals and not building cross-marketing systems means that businesses are losing out on literally billions of potential prospects.

The best way to reach the masses worldwide is through substantial global social media and international SEO strategies. Other regions of the globe don’t rely on Facebook or Twitter. Google is not authoritative everywhere; China and Russia support different search engines. China’s preferred engine, Baidu, is the 4th most-visited site in the world and requires different tactics for dominance.

To overcome international search engine and social media challenges, marketers must become familiar with overall best practices and then drill down to become an expert. Here is the foundation you will need to take a brand’s message worldwide:

 

1. Understand Regional Specifics

When going international, there are some fundamental elements that must be considered. First, study the prominence of digital media in your region of choice. Some countries are not as web-friendly yet, so measure your tactics accordingly. You’ll also need to determine which search engine is best suited for each area; in Russia, Yandex is most widely used whereas in Japan, Yahoo is the engine of choice.

Legalities also matter, and every area of the world governs the web differently. The rules for Baidu, China’s search engine, are vastly different than Google’s and by failing to comply, your company could end up in hot water. There are various technical elements to consider too, like domain structure, hreflang tag usage and related details that can make a significant impact on your global SEO campaign.

 

2. Research Local Keywords

Since this is a vital element to any SEO strategy, it is crucial to adjust keyword choices to the culture you are targeting. When researching, be sure to use the correct search engine for that region, and ensure that words are spelled correctly; failing to apply special characters like umlauts or accents can drastically alter the results. Additionally, because various dialects are used throughout places like Europe and the Middle East, identifying the proper words and phrases that people actually use is imperative, as many translation tools are too formal and the same word can often have different meanings. For instance, when Tropicana marketed their “jugo de china” (orange juice) in Puerto Rico all was well, but when presenting the same product to Cubans in Florida, things went awry as it was interpreted as “juice from China”. Despite the translation’s accuracy, the lack of cultural context caused much embarrassment.

The key here is to consult a native expert, or a company that works with native experts; never rely on online tools to finalise your keyword approach. One Chinese university made this exact mistake on one of its bus stops in 2015 when it relied on automatic translation tools. The translation software decided that “The Sichuan Normal University Chenglong Campus Station” sounded better as “The University Jackie Chan Campus Station”.

 

3. Marry Search and Site

If you’re serving an international market, you’ll want to have different versions of your website. The best way to do this is either by identifying a visitor’s location through their IP address and loading the correct language, or by providing users with a prominently placed menu to switch languages. Set up country specific URLs and sub-categories to help search engines easily index your site.

 

4. Translate Intent, not Words

Translating your content and site materials to the proper language is critical for ranking. But if you aren’t applying the right keywords, slang words are used incorrectly, or you in any way butcher the language unknowingly, your efforts are completely in vain. For instance, when JFK gave his famous 1963 speech in Berlin, he told the crowd: “Ich bin ein Berliner”. Unbeknownst to him, “Berliner” is a slang term in Germany which ultimately caused him to say: “I am a jelly doughnut”.

Taco Bell also had a ‘major fail’ in the Japanese market in 2015 when the brand used tools like Google Translate to build their overseas website. The page was riddled with translation blunders like “Beef Crunchwrap Supreme” turning into “Supreme Court Beef”, “Cheesy Chips” becoming “Low-quality Chips”, and in its company history when it states that “A legacy is born”, the translation actually meant something closer to “an obsolete programme is born”.

Intimately understanding the keyword translation goes for social media localisation as well, since it is a massive force for driving website visits. Failing to truly understand the translation could land you in a bit of a pickle, like when Lindsay Lohan unknowingly told her Arabic Instagram followers “You’re a donkey”, instead of the intended “You’re beautiful”.

You should translate everything ­– from navigational elements to blogs and user reviews. Then, generate new content for the market you are targeting. Other parts of the world will not receive the same value from English posts that have been translated so it is vital to focus on providing value to areas according to their own needs.

 

5. Speak in One Voice

In order for your company to deliver the full experience and impact, brand consistency is key. This means that translations alone are not enough to optimise a site; marketers must manage SEO efforts to encompass the words most commonly searched for in each region. The tone of your brand will be lost in translation (no pun intended) if some amount of rewriting doesn’t take place. To get this right, it’s wise to employ professional services to ensure your copy is spot on. Remember, UX is a critical component to site optimisation. Lexus failed to take the necessary steps last year when it marketed its NX model car in Lithuania. Due to not conducting the proper market research and implementing rewrites, the company failed to recognize that “NX” is a common abbreviation for “naxui”. In Russian, this is a swear word meaning “f–k”. Needless to say, sales of the car did not go so well.

Multilingual SEO is a challenging endeavor that requires due diligence on research and resources, and it requires patience.

 

In the end, Aaron didn’t double his firm’s market share. He tripled it. But he never aligned marketing with the US.

 

“So darling,” said his wife as they sipped champagne to celebrate his promotion to Global CMO and her new bestseller, “did you ever find that business coach you were looking for?”

 

“I didn’t have time, honey. All I did was make sure the team understood their job was to know our audience better than the competition, and stick to one big brand story. What they did online and with SEO in all those weird languages and cultures was awesome.

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cultural mistakes to avoid on social media by global brands

Cultural Marketing Mishaps by Brands With Massive Backlash From Social Media Followers

  |   CultureShocks Blog

Social media is one of the single most powerful marketing tools in today’s digital age. These readily available tools have the potential to spread brand messaging to millions of individuals in minutes. Sometimes, however, that is not a good thing.

While social media has the ability to elevate brands to new heights, it can also provide the exact antithesis if executed improperly.

From time to time, companies try to cash in on trending hashtags in the most inappropriate of ways, and in turn, severely damage their brand reputation. Some of the most ill-conceived corporate tweets have come from sheer ignorance or blatant disrespect for another culture. These are not moments any brand wants etched in internet infamy.

In an effort to help your company side step some easily avoidable social media marketing mistakes, check out these five misguided moves made by popular businesses.

 

1. Understand Political Tensions

 

obama and putting as an example to avoid political tensions to avoid cultural mistakes

When posting tweets or Facebook updates involving other countries, it is important to understand the current political climate to avoid stirring any controversy.

Soda conglomerate Coca-Cola failed to do just that at the end of 2015 when the company posted a seemingly innocuous image of a snow-covered Russia. The well-manner image sparked a slew of angry responses from Russian users claiming that the depiction was outdated, leaving out several regions, including Kaliningrad and Crimea.

Coca-Cola apologised several days later through its official VKontakte page, and included an updated image that reflected several of the missing territories, Russia’s western Kaliningrad exclave and the Kurile Islands, as well as Crimea. The update in itself sparked further outrage as the Kremlin had seized and annexed the Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula back in 2014, which led to western sanctions against Moscow. The update led to a flood of upset Ukrainian social media users expressing their disdain for the corporation with the hashtag #BanCocaCola.

Soon after, the soft drink giant deleted the post altogether and figured that it wasn’t worth the trouble.

 

2. Be Aware of Foreign Laws

 

be aware of foreign laws social media to avoid cultural mistakes

In the world of social media, hiring celebrities to promote products is the norm. That’s the entire point of influencer marketing campaigns. But cultural marketing can go horribly awry if you aren’t aware of promotional laws in different parts of the world.

In an effort to leverage the widespread soccer culture prevalent in the United Kingdom, Snickers decided to pay Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand, along with four other social figures, to tweet out images of themselves eating a Snickers bar with the phrase, “You’re not you when you’re hungry”.

The problem, however, is that in the United Kingdom, if a celebrity is paid to endorse a product, that information must be disclosed. The social posts caught the eye of the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, who ultimately investigated the matter. One OFT official commented by stating, “Online advertising and marketing practices that do not disclose they include paid-for promotions are deceptive under fair trading laws”.

Snickers did come clean, confirming that all celebrities were paid for the promotional tweets, and the Office of Fair Trading later cleared the candy company of any wrongdoing. Despite getting let off, companies should take this as an example of what could happen when you are not crystal clear on the laws of the area where you are marketing your product.

 

3. Familiarise Yourself Before Posting

 

cultural mistakes when searching in internet

Misinformation is posted in mass all across the web. There are no internet police – you have to monitor your own messages diligently. When it comes to cultural marketing, however, brands should know better than to post without researching an area.

Delta Airlines made one such haphazard post when attempting to congratulate the United States on its win over Ghana in the World Cup. The airline tweeted two separate images side-by-side in an attempt to recognise each of the countries; the Statue of Liberty for the United States, and a giraffe for Ghana. This was a massive oversight by the company as giraffe’s are not native to Ghana.

It was later discovered by Twitter user @dcGisenyi that the image Delta posted was actually a stock image from the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya; which is over 3,000 miles away from Ghana.

Many poked fun at the company for their ignorance; and rightly so.

 

4. Be Respectful

 

being respectful is a tip to avoid social media mistakes.-min

MTV may not be known for its intelligent programming or cultural sensitivity, but earlier this year the company had to issue not one, but two, apologies after the MTV Australia Twitter channel posted a culturally insensitive, and what some even considered racist, tweet to the social network.

While Golden Globe presenters Eva Longoria and America Ferrera were shedding light on Hollywood racism, MTV Australia tweeted, “Where are the English subtitles?”

This spawned a hailstorm of disgruntled tweets. The original message was removed and an MTV Australia spokeswoman later told the Huffington Post that it was a “poor joke”.

 

5. Keep Your Opinion Private

 

keep your mouth private to avoid cultural mistakes

Over the past several years, many have been very vocally supportive about equal rights for homosexual individuals and “gay culture” overall. And then there are those that haven’t been.

Chik-fil-A faced a major backlash over its public stance in opposition of same-sex marriages. After the company’s CEO expressed his disappointment over the Supreme Court’s ruling via Twitter, the company faced an avalanche of offended followers. The reaction was so adverse that the story spread to national news outlets, was tweeted by celebrities, and many even called for a boycott of the chicken chain.

Sometimes, for the sake of brand reputation, it’s best just to keep your thoughts off social media.

 

These are only a few of the cultural mistakes brands have made on social media in recent memory; the official list is far more extensive. Take note of these blunders, and let them inspire you to be sensitive, thoughtful, and respectful to all when posting cultural materials to your social channels.

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quote dennis r. mortensen ceo and founder x.ai artificial intelligence interviewed by textappeal

Talking Artificial Intelligence with Dennis R. Mortensen

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Our monthly podcast, Masters & Mavericks in Global Marketing, focuses on global marketing strategies for content, social media, and other ways to spread brand messaging worldwide. The podcast, hosted by Textappeal and Newsroom founder, Elliot Polak, shares in-depth and actionable knowledge to help businesses across the globe expand their reaches and impact new audiences with modern strategies and practices dispensed by experienced marketing experts.

 

This month’s episode features Dennis R. Mortensen, CEO and Founder of x.ai, a company which offers an AI personal scheduling assistant by the name of ‘Amy’. His marketing prowess extends back more than two decades. He has founded and managed several digital marketing and analytics agencies which were subsequently acquired by major companies like Yahoo! and Outbrain.

 

The entire reason Amy was created was because nearly everyone that works in an office or corporate environment has to schedule meetings daily, weekly, or at the very least, monthly. No one finds this task fun or exciting; it is merely time consuming.

 

There haven’t been too many who have tried to address this pain point, and of those who have, most did not succeed. They didn’t succeed because people don’t want an app or extension for scheduling their meeting; they want a human assistant, yet most cannot afford one. The idea of building an intelligent assistant who can incorporate natural language was the catalyst for the creation and birth of Amy.

 

When this artificial intelligence goes global, her name will likely change, as different cultures must be embraced. Amy is referred to as ‘her’ by many; if you visit x.ai/lovenotes you will see many addressing her in this manner.

 

Referring to a machine in this way brought Dennis to discuss the fact that the way technology is delivered and perceived is currently changing. He believes that apps are not the future of technology, but rather, “The future is one of intelligent agents.” Once that future arrives, how do we address these artificial intelligences? It seems that the answer is already becoming clear.

 

Artificial intelligence also has a role to play in the realm of marketing. It will not only serve as a method of productivity enhancement through eliminating common tasks, but will also allow sales to be automated. Currently, humans have to take the time to meet with others and pitch their product or service. In the near future, artificial intelligence agents will be able to carry out these presentation at much higher volumes, without human intervention.

 

This possibility led Elliot to question if that type of future puts people’s jobs at risk. Dennis has quite an optimistic viewpoint of the changes to come, as he explained,

 

“My hope is that we will end up removing chores that humans just don’t deserve to do and can then do much more fulfilling tasks.”

 

This doesn’t mean that many jobs will not drastically change or even be eliminated. But instead of worrying about the jobs that will disappear, rather think of how many might be created. Artificial intelligence trainers were not something that existed four years ago, but do today. Additionally, there is no data to suggest that we will be working less anytime soon, so there isn’t too much reason to worry.

 

Artificial intelligence will soon change the way we interact, market on a global scale, learn, and so much more. You can learn more about the potential capabilities of artificial intelligence, if they have or will have consciousness, and the next big thing in technology by checking out the podcast in its entirety.

 

While you’re there, don’t forget to check out another recent podcast and soak up Giuseppe Caltabiano’s insights on Global Content Marketing for B2B companies.

 

Follow Masters & Mavericks on Soundcloud and iTunes!

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iew from the top special cannes 2016 podcast featuring Lucien Boyer, Chief Marketing Officer at Vivendi

Bonus Episode: Lucien Boyer

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Tips to be Successful on a Global Scale

 

 

Welcome to a bonus episode of “View From the Top”. Hosted by Elliot Polak, this is a special series of Masters and Mavericks, featuring interviews with a select group of 11 top marketers during the Cannes Lions Festival. These podcasts are in ‘Long and Short’ form, taken from the concept of long and short trading on the stock market. In these podcasts, the topic of discussion is not stocks, but the future of international marketing. Each guest is prompted with a total of 10 words, for instance “TV” or “Trump”, to which they respond with either “short” or “long”, explaining their answer in a few sentences.

 

For this bonus episode, we have Lucien Boyer, Chief Marketing Officer at Vivendi. Lucien joined Vivendi, a company that groups together leaders in content and media, in January 2016. His roles include identifying partners willing to associate their brands to Vivendi’s activities in the fields of talent, live events and merchandising. He is also involved in Vivendi’s content production, broadcast and distribution. Previously, Lucien worked in many roles at Havas Sports and Entertainment, ultimately serving as President and CEO of the same.

 

Through this podcast, Lucien presents some great insights and his opinions on the lifespan of certain marketing concepts. Answering “long” to the term “local difference “ without hesitation, Lucien cites some very valid examples within the music industry of local artists who sing in their native languages, only to become successful on a global scale, thereby highlighting the fluidity of culture and even language.

 

When speaking of “Newsroom”, Lucien says, “It’s a way for brands to understand the real time concept which is so critical.” Giving an example of Lady Gaga’s tweet during a Coke campaign, which was mostly forgotten due to its delayed posting, Lucien emphasizes the importance of bringing people together from different departments (creative, legal etc.) to ensure messages are sent out in real time for maximum audience impact.

 

To close, Lucien talks about the importance of engagement as a “more authentic relationship that is built between people or between different parties” and explains that engagement is not simply about the exposure and pomp. Rather, it is about creating something that people will commit to because they are emotionally vested.

 

Listen all the “View From the Top” episodes in the embedded player below:

 

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view from the top special cannes 2016 podcast with Wrangler and ABN AMRO-min

DAY 5: Ilaria Pasquinelli and Jeroen Van De Ven

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On our last and final day of ‘View From the Top’ Cannes Special Edition, we bring you interviews with two leading professionals in the marketing industry. The interviews are hosted by Elliot Polak, and take place in ‘long and short form’, based on the concept of long and short in relation to staking your money on stock prices rising or falling. Our guests won’t be discussing stocks, rather they will be prompted with certain words in relation to international marketing to which they will answer with either ‘long’ or ‘short’ and an explanation regarding their choice.

 

Our first podcast for today features Ilaria Pasquinelli, Marketing Director at Wrangler for the EMEA region. In the past, Ilaria served as Director of TexSture, an innovation and sustainability think tank. She is a big advocate of sustainability and has also worked in various United Nations agencies to serve this purpose.

 

 

Our final podcast in this special series features Jeroen van de Ven, Social Media Manager at ABN AMRO Bank. Having won a number of awards and gaining much recognition, Jeroen also serves as a visiting professor at Beeckestijn Business School.

In case you missed any of our previous episodes of ‘View From the Top’ Cannes Special Edition with Elliot Polak, do take a look at our blog to tune in.

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DAY 4: Jenny Chen and Nina Bibby

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After yesterday’s Influencer Breakfast, we continue with ‘View From the Top’ Cannes Special Edition. Elliot Polak hosts this podcast series, in which he interviews top marketers across various industries. The interviews take place in ‘long and short’ form, where the guests respond with either ‘long’ or “short” to an array of 10 words in relation to international marketing, giving a brief explanation to justify their choice.

 

Today we start with Jenny Chen, Global Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at Adidas. Jenny has also worked in senior positions at prominent advertising agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather and Wieden+Kennedy.

 


Our second podcast for today features Nina Bibby, Marketing and Consumer Director at O2. She also serves as a Non-Executive Director at Barrett Developments Plc. In the past, Nina has held directorial positions at Barclaycard as well as the InterContinental Hotel Group.

 

 

You can listen to yesterday’s episode of View From the Top featuring Monika Schulze, Global Head of marketing at Zurich Insurance Company Ltd., Vi Soth, Manager of Global Analytics for Western Union and Sofiane Si Merabet, Marketing Director at LVMH Fragrance Brands here.

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