In 2003, an Xbox game got an extremely vocal and negative reaction due to religious content deemed offensive. Kakuto Chojin: Back Alley Brutal, contained verses from the Qur’an chanted within the background. Since nearly all Muslims believe the Qur’an should be handled with the utmost respect as it is the literal word of God, there was considerable outrage among many groups for the perceived lack of deference afforded to the Qur’an within the Xbox game. Because of this, the game was recalled and also the companies involved alienated many prospective customers and experienced a lack of sales.
If the companies involved in creating and distributing this game had taken time to conduct the required research and in case they had understood the significance of culture when selling a product or service in foreign markets, then this situation could have been avoided. They would have realized the importance of Islam to numerous people through the entire Middle East plus they could have been in a position to tailor the video game when selling to that particular market.
What exactly is Culture?
Culture is composed of a number of elements that have been passed down for generations, including knowledge, belief systems, experiences, values, attitudes, religion, art, ideas, laws, morals, customs and ways of perceiving the planet. Some aspects of culture are visible, like the way people dress or even the food that they eat, while other aspects of Culture are invisible, like the significance of religion, beliefs around the role of family in a society, or the way people think and feel about certain issues. While the visible aspects of culture tend to be easy to understand right away, it always takes far more effort and time to comprehend and appreciate the importance of the invisible. It will always be the invisible components of culture, however, which have by far the most impact on the way people see the world, and consequently, how people view your marketing strategies and whether they accept or reject your product or service.
Just How Much Does Culture Really Affect My Business?
Understanding the value of culture and respecting the role it plays in the lives of potential customers in foreign markets is vital towards the financial success of the company and may mean the difference involving the success or failure of the overseas ventures. Forget or trivialize this important ingredient, and your advertising campaign or website runs the risk of neglecting to attract possible buyers at best, or at worst, alienating or offending thousands of people and experiencing an enormous loss in sales. In short, cultural appreciation and sensitivity should impact the decisions you will make, your interactions with customers, your advertising strategies, and your website localization.
Companies that do not understand and appreciate cultural differences may implement marketing strategies which are doomed to fail right away. Marketing strategies in one country do not always result in success in another country. It is therefore important to be culturally sensitive and aware when producing, naming, selling, and advertising products.
Consequences of Failing to Consider Culture in Localization Projects
The significance of the potential outcomes of your own marketing plan, product release, or website necessitates constant vigilance and consideration from the culture of your own target market. If you fail to do this, you may experience any blend of the following consequences:
– Consumers lose faith and confidence within your product and company
– Customer backlash and highly visible, negative public reactions
– Negative publicity and the erosion from the brand you might have worked tough to build
– Lack of revenue, sales opportunities, and customers
– Possible punishment as retaliatory legislation or lawsuits
Important Next Steps
Should you be seriously interested in entering and succeeding in foreign markets, then you certainly must consider culture in every aspect of your product development, website design, and advertising campaign. For web content translation, you are encouraged to hire a professional, highly-experienced, and well-qualified translator which is indigenous to the language and culture mrfogj your target audience and should be able to take into account cultural considerations involving expressions, slang, concepts, idioms, and other unique phrases. For the web development, it may be beneficial to employ an internet designer acquainted with the concepts of localization and also the cultural needs of your target audience.