Impact of International Business
International Business Travel
We are no longer just citizens of our town, our communities, our states or our countries. We are global citizens. Now, more than any point in history, we are connected to people from all around the world. We are traveling more than ever. We are conducting international business at a massive scale that is growing every day. In short, we are now members of a global economy and are beginning to understand cultures outside of our own.
Traveling around the world is done for many reasons. Some travel for adventure and excitement. Some travel for leisure and enjoyment. Some travel for business. Most people travel for a combination of these reasons and others. However, when conducting international business, much the focus is often far too narrow. Not much thought is often given to the cultural impact of conducting business in a foreign country.
There are several instances of large, well-respected companies launching a product or an advertising campaign in a foreign country without consideration for cultural differences. Coke’s original brand name in China translated to the nonsensical phrase “bite the wax tadpole.” Pepsi’s slogan mistakenly promised the Taiwanese that their ancestors would return from the dead. These are two examples of many that should be enough to scare companies into thinking twice about decisions to be made when entering a foreign market. Such mistakes can be detrimental to a brand and often are difficult to recover from.
Not all businesses are so naïve, but it is important for businesses and employees pondering international expansion to learn from the mistakes of those who have been. Travelers visiting foreign nations for fun often seem to make greater efforts to understand the culture. A fatal flaw for a business is to ignore the cultural elements that will undoubtedly impact their business heavily. Countless international business deals are lost due to a failure to adjust. Things as simple as how you greet someone abroad can have a lasting impact.
The Importance of Respect
It is important to understand the business culture and when certain business-related discussions are appropriate. This sort of behavior will set the tone for business dealings and can give companies a leg up on the competition. Making the effort to understand such components can have a far reaching impact. The use of international relocation services
can prove to be a major asset.
Perhaps the most important element is the population at large of the country being targeted. Again, not always, but often it appears that people traveling on their own take the time to get to know people and their lifestyle. It is essential that businesses looking to relocate and do business abroad recognize the likes, dislikes, and attitudes of the population in regards to everything surrounding their product and brand.
Just as marketing works on home territory, the first step is to understand your market. This is a particularly important step abroad where cultural elements are likely less intuitive. Items that one could breeze over in a domestic scenario must receive significant attention. Every decision must be double-checked. Small decisions often have a ripple effect. Every move made begins to shape a company’s brand and perceived image.
It’s understandable that businesses struggle more with going abroad than do individuals traveling for leisure. The move is certainly not easy and there are prevalent barriers to international expansion. A permanent relocation to a new country requires extensive planning, careful and detailed research, and utilization of the right resources like relocation companies
. Without the right structure, relocation can be a logistical nightmare. Companies that recognize and understand the challenges they will face abroad and reach out for help from the right resources are those that succeed and make smooth transitions.