• “The logo design reminds me of Muslim iconography.”
  • “The colors are dark and appear negative.”
  • “The shape reminds me of a cross and therefore makes me immediately think of religion, which could be good or bad depending on the person’s background.”
  • “It appears like a road sign or even a flower.”
  • “I find the colors bright and happy. It makes me feel automatic comfort with the brand.”

The above responses represent just a sampling of the type of feedback offered by a few different country reviewers when asked to evaluate 10 unique logos. While one country loved a specific logo’s shape and color, another found it dreary and negative – and in some cases offensive. It is this type of in-depth analysis and research early on in the marketing and design process that reminds us of just how important cross-cultural evaluation can be. It also differentiates one professional translation and cultural consulting company from another.

At Junction International, we understand the importance of gathering a range of perspectives from a variety of cultures when taking on a marketing or cultural evaluation project. And we appreciate the necessity of doing so early on in the marketing and design process. In fact, in the case of the feedback featured above, 10 logo options for a global leader in the supply chain logistics industry were reviewed for more than 20 countries, including: Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, and Mexico. The company secured Junction International to help proactively seek a variety of responses in order to better assess the comfort level of varying cultures with the potential logos. Reviewers were asked a range of questions, such as:

  • Is the logo appropriate? Explain why or why not.
  • Would you consider the color of the logo appealing for your country/culture?
  • Does the logo evoke any associations (positive or negative)?
  • What do you think about the shape of the logo?
  • Are there any political or religious associations that come to mind when you view the logo?

While feedback varied by country and culture, the number and range of responses gave the company a true database of perspectives for all 10 logo options – with a complete understanding upfront of the connotations and potential feedback each entailed. Now the question could be asked, did the company plan to expand its operations and reach to more than 20 countries? Not necessarily, but the company did understand how global awareness in the marketing and design phase could only help the business in the long run.

Understanding the need for cross-cultural consulting – and being proactive about it early on in the marketing process – is critical for success in today’s global business economy. Too many companies spend months strategizing and planning their “English” or “American” marketing strategy, only to leave days, if not hours, for translation. At Junction International, we always recommend that our clients avoid making translation an after-thought and take the time to speak to us up front – at no cost. More often than not, we find that those clients that build translation into their marketing process are ultimately more successful. Not only do they avoid having to rush at the last minute and often correct mistakes and/or errors, they save money. To be competitive in today’s global marketplace, business professionals need to be culturally savvy and work with companies, like Junction International, that truly understand cross-cultural consulting.

Author: Claudia Waitman, President & CEO of Junction International, a full-service provider of multilingual translation and cross-cultural communication solutions for global businesses and organization, has nearly 15 years of industry know-how. Claudia co-founded the company in 2008 and has had first-hand experience in the implementation of translation solutions and multilingual communications strategies for many corporations, large and small, in a variety of industries including marketing, pharmaceutical, healthcare, publishing, software, business, and legal. She has helped businesses and organizations expand their market opportunities and diversify their reach – both in the U.S. and abroad. Originally from Argentina, Claudia graduated as a Certified Public Translator in Spanish.

For more tips and advice on how to go global on a budget, visit www.junctioninternational.com. Follow Junction International via Facebook or on Twitter @JCTINT.