All of us can think of at least a few memorable moments from our college days that have stuck with us throughout the years. I still remember my professor’s opening remarks from my first day in Marketing 101. He said “Words are powerful but can also be dangerous. They can make a brand and they can kill a brand. Use them wisely and never assume one market is identical to another.”
He went on to share a few big blunders showing that even big brands are not immune to mistakes.
When Ariel introduced their detergent in Bulgaria many years ago, they used an unedited Italian TV ad. For a long time, sales were struggling, and no one understood why until research showed the obvious. The color blue is associated with clean in Italy but this is not the case in Eastern Europe where white laundry means clean laundry. The consumers couldn’t figure out why their laundry should be “clean as blue”.
Another great story is the Coors campaign tagline- “Turn It Loose”. Its translation into Spanish meant to have diarrhea. Not a very compelling offer for a beverage. When the Swedish mega-brand Electrolux struggled to penetrate the U.S. market their vacuum cleaners were advertised using their successful Swedish tagline: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.” –which created a completely different brand promise in English. Or when Mercedes-Benz entered the Chinese market under the brand name “Bensi,” which means “rush to die”, the Chinese market did not rush to check out Mercedes-Benz.
We spent the next few years watching millions of ads trying to learn from the mistakes and successes of others. While comical, these and many others were costly mistakes that could have easily been avoided. You only get one shot at a first impression, so it’s no surprise that brands in today’s globalized world take local research seriously.
It’s my job as Chief Service Officer at FocusVision to marshal the talents of our Professional Services team and ensure they’re equipped with the best tools available. They, in turn, provide critical support and guidance to research, product, and marketing professionals who leverage our technology to better understand their customers. Using the right verbiage with our clients is vital, so we’re keenly aware of how important word choice is for their projects. Easy errors like miss-spelling, grammatical or translation errors can reflect poorly on a brand. Even a single error in a question or instruction can greatly impact the output and value of respondent insights.
FocusVision has always taken pride in leveraging the latest technology and service innovations to best serve our clients. Today, I’m excited to announce a new innovation in FocusVision’s professional services portfolio – the integration of Memsource translation management software. FocusVision customers with multilingual needs will now have access to industry-leading translation intelligence and memory services. This collaboration will not only streamline our Professional Services team operationally but will also improve the quality and value of the deliverable for our customers.
If you would like to know more about our multi-language survey services, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for details.