A U.S deodorant manufacturer, looking to do business in Mexico, sent a Spanish language translation of its slogan to its intended Mexican audience. It read “If you use our deodorant, you won’t be embarrassed”. Unfortunately, Mexican-Spanish speakers were not impressed!
The translation used the word “embarazada” to mean “embarrassed.” However, in Mexican Spanish it means “pregnant”! What an embarrassment indeed!
Netherlanders doing business in Australia
While the above incident was lighthearted enough to laugh away, Netherlanders migrating to Australia, in the hope of establishing business in their new homeland, would do well to heed one important lesson:
Subtle can scuttle!
Insensitivity or misunderstanding of even the slightest of cross-cultural differences, if ignored, could create substantial challenges in doing business.
Entrepreneurs from the Netherland, looking to establish themselves in Australia, should take heart in the fact that the Dutch were one of the earliest explorers – in the 1640s – of Australia’s coastal regions. However, while the basic principles of doing business, such as:
- Knowing your customers
- Commitment to quality
- Honoring business deals
- Paying your taxes
- Appreciating your employees
remains the same between both nations, there are some basic business norms and etiquette that sets entrepreneurs in the two countries apart.