If a business wants to sell its products internationally, it had better do some market research first. This is a lesson that some large Americain corporations have learned the hard way.
What’s in a name?
Sometimes the problem is the name. When General Motors introduced its Chevy Nova into Latin America, it overlooked the fact that No va in Spanish means ” It doesn’t go “. Sure enough, the Chevy Nova never went anywhere in Latin America.
Sometimes it’s the slogan that doesn’t work. No company knows this better than Pepsi-Cola, with it’s ” Come alive with Pepsi! ” campaign. The campaign was so successful in the United States, Pepsi translated its slogan literally for its international campaign. As it turned out, the translation weren’t quite right. Pepsi was pleading with Germans to ” Come out of the grave ” and telling the Chinese that ” Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave “.
A picture’s worth a thousand words
Other times, the problem involves packaging. A picture of a smiling, round-cheeked baby has helped sell countless jars of Gerber baby food. So when Gerber marketed its products in Africa, it kept the picture on the jar. What Gerber didn’t realize was that in many African countries, the picture on the jar shows what the jar has in it.
Twist of fate
Even cultural and religious factors – and pure coincidence – can be involved. Thom McAn shoes have a Thom McAn ” signature ” inside. To people in Bangladesh, this signature looked like Arabic script for the word ” Allah “. In many countries feets are considered unclean, and people felt the company was not respecting God’s name by having people walk on it, so there is another big loss for McAn shoes company.