Ad 2’s 2nd Annual Diversity Dialogue, part 1

This past week was the 2nd Annual Diversity Dialogue by Ad 2 Orlando.  Once again, it was informative and engaging and I’d like to share some of the things I learned this week before they leave my head.  (Note: As I got into the middle of typing this, I realize I’m surpassing my self/friend-imposed 500 word limit per week, so this is going to have to be a two-parter.)

And before I talk about the event, I wanted to impart some of the diversity marketing 101s I learned in college that stuck with me.  That will lead quite nicely to the new lessons learned.  In Advertising 101, we all learned that names of brands may not reflect very well across different languages.  For instance, the Nova was a pretty popular car in the US, but once it went to Europe, sales tanked.  Why?  Because in Latin-based languages, Nova, or “no va,” means “no go.”  Who would want a car that can’t go anywhere?

Besides brand names, slogans should also be questioned and tested across languages.  One of the funnier ones was regarding the slogan for Perdue: “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.”  The Spanish translation was, “it takes a sexually aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”

In my international business class, we also learned to consider different cultures in our business transactions.  For instance, in Asian cultures, it is incredibly important how you handle the other person’s business card.  Once received, you should review it and put it in a respectable  place, like a card holder, wallet, or purse.  But never just stuff it in your pocket.  The action represents a disrespect for the person.

On a relevant side note, at the event, I was talking with a new friend and another gentleman steps into our conversation and introduces himself.  We all talk for a bit and we all decide to exchange cards.  But right as we’re doing this, I have another friend come around and greet me and so I get distracted.  I do hear the gentleman comment to us that he always takes the time to review cards and possibly ask questions about it, but my friend and I don’t take the time.  Later that evening, the gentleman asks a question to the panel and, while introducing himself, told his story of how he started Essence magazine.  My new friend almost fell out of his chair and wondered why the gentleman didn’t say anything while we were all talking.  I remembered the business card comment, pulled out his card, and there it was listed plain as day.  I pointed it out to my new friend and reminded him of what the gentleman said.

Lesson re-learned!

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