If you are thinking of expanding your business it is important to understand the role of culture in international business. How many companies went bankrupt because of overlooking the importance of culture for their international growth?
Can you see all these coloured hot-air ballons? Well, it’s like all the countries in the world: we are all humans but according to the areas and the countries we are living in, differences may exist and culture is one of them (even the main one)!
Culture can be defined as the different characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music to arts.
Culture is an important feature to take into account when you decide to internationalize your business. It can have a huge impact on how a population is going to perceive your offer and can lead to a complete disaster if underestimated.
Understanding well the local and national cultures will help you to better anticipate customers’ needs, strengthen your position and develop a competitive advantage.
Studying culture will give you indications about people believes and behaviors in order to have a better approach of consumers habits, what people are used to buying, their decision making process, what you should and shouldn’t do, what are the actual trends…. It will help you to anticipate the reactions of customers towards your products or services and come up with the best offer and later adapt your marketing campaign.
Let’s take some examples
Several famous companies that have underestimated the power of culture, have eventually paid the high price. Among them, the famously known Walmart which failed to adapt to the Korean market because the company didn’t take into consideration the local preferences for buying small packages, the presence of native discount chains and aesthetic preferences among shoppers.
Or Tesco, which failed to understand the Chinese market and culture and had to close its stores and give up the market.
These disasters could have been avoided by a better comprehension of cultural differences.
That is why it is important to carefully study culture before even thinking of starting your activity in another country. Learn more about consumers’ habits in order to come up with an offer, which perfectly fits the market, learn from your competitors and don’t assume that if your product is a success in your country, then your company will thrive in another one also.
And to have even more tips in order to succeed your international growth, don’t hesitate to read this article!