Advertising Internationally [INFOGRAPHIC]

When advertising overseas, there are many things for companies to think about. What’s going to appeal to a new audience? What language do we advertise in? What do people in this country need in their lives? There are many things to think about when starting a marketing campaign overseas.

The first of these things is language. The thing about language is that, since it varies so much around the world, a brand name can take on a whole different meaning depending on the region.  When Coca-Cola launched in China, they had to pick a name that was phonetically similar to the English name, but also had a meaning that would positively represent the brand. Ultimately, they went with the characters that are pronounced “Kekoukele,” which translates to “Happiness Power.” However, many shopowners prematurely put out signs advertising Coca-Cola with the phrases “Bite the wax tadpole” and “wax-flattened mare.” Talk about embarrassing.

Culture is another big thing to think about when advertising overseas. Not all cultures think the same or value the same things. For instance, in 2004, Nike ran a new commercial. The commercial depicted LeBron James fighting cartoon animated dragons and kung fu masters. Like so many other things, China banned this commercial. The Chinese said that the commercial mocked them and insulted their national dignity. This is something Nike should probably have thought about before trying to run the commercial in China.

Even color has special place in international marketing. Color conveys certain feelings and meanings. In Anglo-Saxon populations, white stands for purity, green is envy and red is love or lust. This is not the same for all cultures. In Asian cultures, white represents death or mourning, green conveys love or purity and red can convey love or adventure. By using the wrong colors for an ad, brands may confuse consumers and send them the wrong message.

Advertising overseas can be a tricky thing. Before you embarrass yourself or offend an entire culture, check out this infographic from InternationalBusinessGuide.org to learn about a few things you should watch out for.

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