Your business survival increasingly depends on reaching out to the people and cultures of the world to sell your goods and services.
Culture has to with diverse groups of people – their customary beliefs, social forms and the material traits of a racial, religious group. The environment of international business is composed of language, religion, values and attitudes, law, education, politics, technology, and social organisations that are different.
Culture gives you a set of codes to deal with and sets priorities among those codes. Whatever a nation’s culture is, it works for them. So to be able to function within it you must know it, accept it and join it.
The key implication is that by getting it wrong one could lose the whole business in any given market. Cultural awareness is not limited to just interpersonal relationships, but it can also affect some or the entire export marketing & sales package. For example, packaging design, use of graphics and symbols, and choice of names, even launch dates could all be sensitive to cultural influences.
The exporter must:
- study the local culture& language requirements in advance
- include a linguist in your team
- be culturally sensitive to everything in that market
- do not impose one’s own culture on others
- adopt/adapt to the other party’s culture
- work at a speed suiting the other party
- not use any behaviour that can offend the other culture
- Understand that the cultural factors that contribute to international business success or failure.
- Remember that our own cultural values affect the way we behave in the eyes of others
- Understand that other cultures have different values from our own (they are not ‘better’ or ‘worse’ – just different)
- Understand why conflict between cultures occurs as a result of different values.