‘Which air-conditioning service do you use?’
‘Which restaurant did you go today?’
‘Cabbages and Condoms’.
‘What beverage did you buy?’
‘Pocari and Sweat’.
As awkward as it sound, those are actual brand names of services and products. Stiff Nipples is a British air conditioning service while Cabbages and Condoms is a Bangkok restaurant chain. Pocari and Sweat is a Japanese drink.
We have learnt about the value of branding, but choosing one’s brand name is equally important too. The above examples are just one of the many international branding mishaps. Although there might be a purpose for such brand names, these brands would probably not excel on a global scale.
So…. What in particular should businesses take into consideration when choosing a brand name to operate in an international market?
Culture – The ideas and values of a country. Would your brand name be suitable for a culturally sensitive country? What are the cultural differences among countries? Would a brand name, which appears completely culturally fitting in one country, be actually perceived in a different light in another country?
Language – This is embedded in language too. Does your brand name, when translated in another language, connote a different meaning in the country? For example, Subway, when translated into Mandarin is ‘sai ba wei’….. For a Singaporean or Malaysian to read this, it would actually mean ‘ the smell of faeces from afar’.