There is one fundamental trait that separates humans from all other species. It’s more fundamental than our ability to reason,use tools, or use language, all things that other animals can do quite well. It’s even more fundamental than cognition and self-awareness. It is a skill known as dual representation, and it gives us the ability to assign meaning to symbols. Dual representation is what allows a circle to represent the letter “O,” the sound of the word “dog” to represent our little furry friend, a series of lines and dots to make music, and a big cardboard box to be a spaceship. No other species is known to have this ability, and it’s the foundation of so many of the unique skills that make us human.
But while the ability to assign meaning to symbols is innate, these definitions are learned. It’s up to us to translate these symbols. When language barriers and cultural differences exist, the message sent and the message received might not always align. As marketers in a global economy, it’s our job to ensure that both the message and the translation are appropriately representing our brands. The following are some strategic considerations and tips for developing brands and marketing campaigns ininternational markets.
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