Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Volatility, Sensitivity and Sense

One by-product of the volatility of the stock market and the uncertainty of the economic situation is an increased sense of insecurity. Where there is insecurity there is greater emotion and sensitivity to real and perceived mistakes. This makes the job of marketing in unfamiliar communities and countries more complex.

All of us recognize in daily life how relationships suffer because of stress. Successful marketing is in many ways successful relationship-building, and understanding how to deal with the heightened reactions stress brings, will help us emerge ahead of the curve.

There are many aspects to this dilemma and here are a few questions that I suggest be researched and answered to do with one aspect as we go along this path of development:
We know of the well-known faux-pas of the Nova car model in Mexico, as well as the riots that broke out in Bangladesh because of the Bata shoe logo, and we are consequently anxious to avoid falling into the same trap. But how will we know?
1) Do we have any locals to help advise us?
2) Do these locals have any partisan tribe, people, language, social status that could give them blindspots?
3) Will they tell us the hard truth or does their culture or their need require they tell us what we want to hear?
4) How will we discern the answer to 3)?

These are just a sample of some questions that we need to address. It's worth remembering that getting the answers wrong in a time of heightened stress will likely lead to more extreme consequences. I'd be interested to hear of the approaches of others in this process.

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