Christian Klepp, Co-Founder of EINBLICK Consulting, explains that as a “third culture kid” he grew up in Austria, the Philippines, Singapore, and Germany, landing in China as a young adult. This experience of living across countries gives him and other second- or third culture kids the appreciation and ability to navigate cultures since they’ve had to do so from a young age.
It's fascinating to hear about how Christian helps Chinese-speaking clients enter the Canadian and US markets, the perfect complement to his past experiences helping English-speaking companies enter China.
He shares a story about a medical device company that entered China with the attitude of “what got us here, will get us there.” Instead of taking the time to understand the market for their non-invasive blood sugar measuring device, the company assumed doctors would promote the device to their patients, not knowing that such practice is prohibited. Instead, hospital procurement teams must approve the use of any new device; doctors can recommend devices to the procurement teams but not directly to patients. This adds another layer of relationships to the sales cycle that the team could not anticipate because they did not hire a Chinese partner connected into the health system for the launch in China.
In addition, 90% of people in China are on their cell phones looking to key opinion leaders (KOLs) for information on doctors and healthcare. Mobile marketing and social media are more influential in China than in other markets.
Christian also talks about the importance of accurate translation and cultural adaptation. China is a big country segmented by tiers of development; major cities along the east coast have a much different standard of living than rural communities, so what might work in the city could be different than in rural areas. It’s also important to be mindful of the spoken and written Chinese language. Although there are hundreds of dialects, there is only one written language. People may not be able to speak to each other, but they can write to communicate.
Christian shares some interesting case studies about brand name translation:
- Siemens translated its name to 西门子, phonetically pronounced Xī mén zǐ. The literal meaning is “West Gate Child” or “Child of the Western Gate,” which worked well for Siemens as the characters didn’t have offensive or hidden meanings.
- BMW translated its name to 宝马, phonetically pronounced Bǎomǎ and meaning “Precious Horse.” Again, no offensive or hidden meanings.
- AirBnB wasn’t so lucky. The company picked 爱彼迎, phonetically pronounced Ài bǐ yíng. The selected characters seemed appropriate, signifying “love,” “mutual,” and “welcome,” words that align with the company’s mission of creating neighborhood communities around the world. Yet they didn’t test the name or consider the message of combining these characters and ended up with a name that sounded like a “sex toy shop,” a “condom brand,” a “matchmaking website,” or a “brothel,” according to comments on social media. Eventually they pulled out of the market due to the naming issue and fierce competition.
To wrap up the interview, Christian talks about what Canadians and Americans can learn from Chinese culture. Listen to the full episode if you’d like to know more.
Company website: www.einblick.co
Podcast ("B2B Marketers on a Mission"): https://www.einblick.co/podcasts/
Connect with Wendy - https://www. linkedin. com/in/wendypease/
Connect with Christian - https://www.linkedin.com/in/christian-klepp-einblickconsulting/
Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers - https://www. silvermansound. com
ATTENTION: Below is a machine generated transcription of the podcast. Yes, at Rapport International, we talk a lot about how machine translation is not good quality. Here you see an example of what a machine can do in your own your language. This transcription is provided as a gist and to give time indicators to find a topic of interest.
Wendy: Hello, listeners and friends to the Global Marketing Show. I am so happy to have you here. As you know, we are sponsored by Rapport International, or maybe you don't know. So I'm informing you. Rapport International connects you to anyone anywhere in the world, no matter the language through high quality translation and interpretation.
[00:01:00] So Rapport likes to share Tidbits, and so I got a Tidbit for you here today. A funny one that they put out recently was in a Bangkok Taylor's business, and it read. Drop your trousers here for best results.
Christian: That's a good one.
Wendy: So the words work, but the meaning it doesn't accurately come across.
And that's what's so important with translation. It's not the words, it's not automated, it's, it's knowing when you're saying something that could be embarrassing. Right. So I'd like to introduce our guest today, who's already been laughing Christian Klepp. He's the Co-Founder and Director of Engagement at EINBLICK Consulting based in Toronto, Canada.
He's a third culture kid as he's lived in Austria, Australia, the Philippines, Singapore, Germany, and China before relocating to Canada. [00:02:00] So Christian, welcome.
Christian: Thank you, Wendy. It's a pleasure to be on your show. And what a way to break the ice with that little anecdote, prop
Wendy: your trousers here,
Christian: so many of those stories.
So many of those. And I think we had that conversation when you were a guest on my podcast about like how things can get lost in translation.
Wendy: Oh, they absolutely can. And so, you know, speaking about Lost in Translation, why don't you tell our listeners what a third Culture kid
Christian: is? . Yeah. I mean, there's the textbook definition, but the one that I like to go with is, uh, somebody that lives and grows up in a country or in a place that is not their home country.
Right. And if they're like living in a place where, you know, the parents also don't originate from that home country. And that for me is a third culture kid. So in, in my case, that would've. Probably places like China[00:03:00] Singapore, yeah. For example. Yeah. Because I am from a multicultural background, as I might have mentioned previously, right?
Like, cuz my late father was from Austria and my mother's from the Philippines, right? But I did have the opportunity to grow up in a lot of these different countries. And it's helped shape my view perspective of the world as it were. Yeah.
Wendy: So where did, where were you born and where did you mostly grow up?
Christian: Okay, so I was born in Austria, right? Uhhuh . And I spent my you could say my formative years. So that was all up until high school. I lived in the Philippines and I left when I was 18. And I went to university in Singapore. And after graduating from university in Singapore, I went to work in Germany for two years.
And that was really also just to get my German on par with my English, which I, I can say with confidence, I managed to. . And I might have shared this story with you previously, but an old family friend of ours in [00:04:00] Munich was, he was the gentleman that actually convinced me to move out to Shanghai, China all those many years ago.
Right. And I moved to Shanghai in August, 2004 and I told myself I'd stay for a. And then it was 2005. Then I said, okay, I'll stay another year. And then eventually it got to five or six years and I just stopped counting
Wendy: Yeah, so that must have been quite an experience. Third culture kid, I've also heard it called Second Culture Kid, and then most recently I heard it called Culturally Confused .
Christian: There is certainly a bit of that. I, I will admit, right there is a bit of like, you know, you go through these, I guess these motions or these stages where you and I certainly went through it personally, where you ask yourself, okay, well where do I really belong?
Or I think the famous question is where is home for you? , right? Yes. . And I think the answer to that is I believe this is a North American sing, but like home is where I hang up my hat, right? Yeah. So in that case, like for me right now, uh, [00:05:00] Toronto is my home. Yes. If you ask me like where I was born versus where I consider home, I mean, those are two completely different stories.
But I think it's also been so interesting that I've been able to, or had this opportunity to absorb and immerse myself in these different cultures. And that kind of is also reflected in the way I talk. I've been told, like I had a, I had a conversation with a gentleman in South Africa this morning, and I did catch myself saying content schedule instead of schedule, right . It's just all these like little nuances because as I was going to school in Singapore, for example, they always reminded me not to use American English. Right. And to use the British spelling instead and to say, lift instead of elevator and it's a Lori and not a truck, and et cetera, et cetera.
And it's half past six and you can't do that. Right? And so on and so forth. And then, you know, now I'm hearing Canada where. It's a bit of a mixed bag too, but they tend [00:06:00] to sound a little bit more like, sorry, Canada, but a little bit more like Americans. and, And people did have a good laugh, like when they hear me speak English or I refer to like, I think it was a baby trolley and I refer to it as a prm, right.
Wendy: Now, it's so true. When you're a third culture kid, you've got to be able to adapt your language to fit in, and you don't have to, you learn to adapt to fit in more easily. Absolutely. Yeah. So you've taken this international background and you've really wrapped it into doing global work. So tell me a little bit about Imich Consulting and what you.
Christian: Yeah. Well first of all, thanks for the opportunity to have me on your show. And secondly, it's really, well for starters the word Im glick is actually the German word, which means insight. Right? And that's what we hope to deliver to clients. And what we really do is it's a lot of consulting work primarily in.
Branding [00:07:00] and marketing space for b2b and narrowing that down even further, it's for companies that are in the B2B tech space. So like, you know, uh, we're talking about, about like, you know, companies that develop software that other companies will then use for product development, for example. And also companies that are in the professional space professional services space, right?
So what is it exactly that we help them to do right after that whole explanation, we help them to find what their unique advantage is. And, you know, a lot of these companies tend to compete in very noisy markets, very crowded markets where a lot of companies are selling. Similar products or services.
So how do you stand out amidst that sea of noise? And that's what we help them to find and identify through. Customer research through strategic brand positioning and through also content development. Were you doing this in Shanghai? I was doing that in Shanghai as well, [00:08:00] and I'm doing it now in Toronto also, and I did tell you about this in our previous conversation, we found ourselves, especially in the past year, in this unique position here in Canada where we are helping Chinese speaking clients who.
Venturing into the North America market and want to do business here. And it's interesting how that's come full circle. Now what, what I mean by that is because I spent many years in China helping foreign companies that wanted to enter the China market who weren't quite familiar with the dynamics of that ecosystem.
And it was my, or my company's, my former company's responsibility to help navigate them through all of that, right? So it's a consultative role and it's interesting. That's happening now, with the reverse, right? With Chinese companies coming to the US and Canada wanting to do business. But again there's that lack of familiarity of how things operate on the ground.
And I'm not just talking about that. Wait, wait,
Wendy: wait. There is so much in there. Let's, let's unpack this. Okay. So first you were [00:09:00] working with bringing. Foreign companies or US companies into China. Yes. So can you tell me about a story where a company had challenges or where they made mistakes entering in cuz they didn't understand the language and
Absolutely. And thanks for jumping in there because it is a handful, right? Like it is a lot to absorb. Right. But oh, and there's so
Wendy: much good meat in there. Yeah,
Christian: absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I'm gonna say that more often than not, it, it's not one company in particular. But what we found were the biggest challenges, and I'm talking about like.
They could have been Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations, or smaller sized businesses that wanted to enter the China market. I think one of the biggest issues that we saw with all of them was this whole attitude of like, well, what got us here? Will what got us here will get us there?
Mm-hmm. so. and we dealt with companies that were from the United [00:10:00] States, companies from Australia, companies from the different European countries who said, well, this was the approach and the marketing campaign, which was so successful in our home country, and we tested it out in Latin America and we tested it out in other European countries.
Let's just take that playbook and replicate that success in China. And guess what? Then they got to China and they realized they could take that playbook and just chuck it out the.
Wendy: Bring it down into one story for me. You don't have to say the company name, but Absolutely. You know, like an industry, cuz I like to really pull that out and make it tangible.
Christian: Sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay, so I'll give you an example of a company I won't say the name but a company that was dealing in medical technology. So medical devices as it were, right? And these medical devices. It was a noninvasive way to measure your blood sugar. Right. Okay. [00:11:00] So this obviously is pretty interesting and very relevant technology and there's a lot, there's, there is certainly a market out there that stands to benefit from that kind of product.
Right. And they had a mind to enter the China market and to expand their business there because the healthcare sector in China, I'm just gonna say in a very diplomatic way that there is room for improvement. Okay. And they showed us this product and they showed us what worked when they rolled this out in the European markets.
And even in South America, Brazil was one of their biggest markets. And they said that the way that they sold it in these countries, and this is very b2b, they would go to the clinics and the doctors would promote this product. Right. So they would have their marketing assets there, their marketing materials, et cetera, et cetera.
And that's how they would use that as a channel. They would use that as a platform to sell that product. But then when they came to China, what they realized is [00:12:00] number one, They can't go at this on their own, right. They need somebody on the ground. And I'm not necessarily talking about they need to hire a Chinese employee, that that's a given, but they need a Chinese partner that can navigate through the healthcare system because the healthcare system is it's not very transparent if I'm gonna just pull it lightly, number one.
Number two is they weren't aware of the strict regulations within the health healthcare sector in China. So what do I mean by that? And, and if we're gonna talk about like something actionable, they're doctors in China are not allowed to promote someone else's products or pharma, anything of that nature in their clinics.
It's just not. If you go to a clinic, a doctor's clinic in China, you will not see advertising of any products. Right. So that was one impediment that they had. So could
Wendy: they, how did they prescribe
Christian: then? I mean, they can prescribe a medication, but they can't have the [00:13:00] brand's you know, like a poster or anything of that nature.
The assets in their, in their. Right. That's not allowed. So they found that out that that was one impediment? Right. So what they then realized is the only way that they were going to be able to sell to the doctors is to go through the hospital. But to sell to the hospital, you have to know somebody who is in the procurement department of the hospital, and the procurement department will rely on the recommendations and the requests of the doctors.
I say all of that to imply that they had to use a different approach. I'm not saying that it was impossible to sell their product. It was possible. Right. They just had to rethink and essentially reinvent their approach. Right. They couldn't replicate what they did in other countries because it's just not applicable in China.
So they had
Wendy: to do a two-prong approach where they had to get in front of the doctors to influence them, but for the doctors to [00:14:00] actually move the market, they had to be talking to the procurement. So you had to build, it was more of a relationship building behind the scene. Correct. Is not direct. Yeah.
Which exactly. Which is more aligned with Exactly. Which you think of
Christian: traditional culture. Yeah. So that is one approach, right? Which highlights the difference. Right. Another approach. , and we'll get to the language part in a second because that's also part of what this show is about. Right. But another approach which they had to rethink and use in the China market was tapping into a different digital ecosystem.
And I, and we can talk about that in a second, right? But that means that they had, because China. For those of you that didn't know that, I mean, like, it almost seems obvious, but China has the largest population in terms of internet users in the world, right? Mm-hmm. and it was over a billion.
If I'm not mistaken, and out of that billion, and this is information that I pulled out of the China government ministry.[00:15:00] More than 90% of these internet users are cell phone users. What does that mean? That means that you have to tap into mobile marketing. That means that you have to tap into social media.
Why do I say social media? Because Chinese consumers, whether you're talking about B2B or b2c, they are consuming content. On social media channels that are put out, not just by official accounts, but also by what they call KOLs, which is their version of influencers or micro influencers. KOL stands for key opinion leaders.
So what does that mean? Going back to this client's context, that you had to team up with somebody that was either. Someone in the healthcare sector that people follow, somebody that's influential, that doctors follow, right? And then they put out the, these posts not necessarily promotional, but more informative.
And then by the way you know, you can slip in something about the product there. So [00:16:00] it's, it's using this different approach, right, to also expand their presence , and their products within this new. So
Wendy: there were almost, because in the United States mm-hmm. , there's more regulations on what direct marketing, medical devices and pharmaceuticals can do.
Mm-hmm. to the consumer. Yeah. But in China you could leverage those platforms.
Christian: You could leverage those platforms more, but there are regulations, right? You can't like be too hard, sell, too promotional. There's also laws in place about the type of wording and terminology that you are not allowed to use.
For instance, you are not allowed to make claims like the number one product the best, right? You are not allowed to. Use this language which you see in the West sometimes, like this is our product and this is brand X. You are not allowed to use that kind of comparison in [00:17:00] China, for instance, in your marketing, right.
Wendy: Okay. And that's, the number one best, like you can't do that with medical device marketing here in the United States. You have to back it up with facts. Correct. But I, but it's much more limited and you have to give all the disclosures of what the side effects could be. So it's still heavily regulated.
Yes. But not as much as that kind of education that you'd see online.
Christian: Correct. So that was interesting. So, sorry. So that was just one difference. Right? But I would say that the second most significant difference, and you will appreciate this, is the language and the cultural barrier, right?
Yes. Do tell me more. So things clearly get lost in translation. I mean, let's just put it this way. You cannot implement a marketing campaign in China if your material is not in Chinese, right? Yeah. You can pretty. Forget about it. It needs to be in Chinese, it needs to be a proper translation.
Do not [00:18:00] rely on machine translation. And we've had this conversation before, it also needs to be checked by somebody who is a native Chinese speaker. And when I say native Chinese speaker, I'm not talking about somebody from Singapore or Malaysia or Taiwan that speaks Mandarin. It needs to be somebody from mainland.
Right, because I've had that experience before where something was translated by a Singaporean Chinese, and the nuances are not the same. Right. The terminology or the way they express themselves is not the same. Right? Right. And I think this is also another mistake. I mean, this is like a nice little segue into the next mistake or misconception.
A lot of companies out there look at China as one country. One country, one. And that's a mistake because China, yes, it is one country, but it's a country that is so diverse. It has so many regions. It has so many areas that are highly [00:19:00] developed and it has areas which are. in the process of being highly developed, and there are areas which are still under development, right?
They even go as far as to segment these markets by calling them tier one, tier two, tier three, tier four. I think it goes all the way down to six, right? So if you're looking at places like Shanghai, baiting, gu, those are tier one cities, for example. So,
Wendy: so in the US we don't look at by how much the geography is developed.
We look at it where it's based like Northeast? Yeah, Southwest. Northwest. Like we'd segment more that way than how developed, I don't know, maybe there's other people. I guess if you're Harvester tractors, you segment that
Christian: way, but, . I, I suppose it's difficult to compare it that way. Wendy, and I'll tell you why, because you know, China, you know, we mustn't forget.
I think they've been industrialized now for I think just a little over 30 years, [00:20:00] right? Yeah. They've, they've gotten to that level within such a short time, which I mean, for me is absolutely mind blowing when you think about it, right? How hundreds of millions of people went from having nothing to like, having an actual, like, you know, a standard of living and, and what have you. But what I bring up that point to say that the places or the areas in China that developed so quickly tended to be the larger cities along the eastern coast of the country, right? So, okay. If you see the major cities, they're all along the coast, right along the eastern part.
And the further west you go in China, that tends to be like either still underdevelopment or, or not developed. Right? And the reason why they segment the country that way is because there are different standards in terms of the. The, the quality of life and the living standard, you know, if you're living in a place like Shanghai or Beijing compared to somewhere out in Western China, for instance, right?
The standard of living is different. [00:21:00] The level of income is different. The level of disposable income is not the same, right? People in Shanghai are able to afford much, much more than their counterparts in other parts of the country more towards the western region. . Right. So that's the reason why you have to take it into account that way.
Right? But if we're going back to the linguistic point of view, I mean, certainly just for the reference of listeners out there, that it's Mandarin or , which is the lingua franca of the entire country. So that's the official language of China. That being said, and all the major communication and everything that you see in print and digital is in that language.
That being said, there are hundreds of dialects, right? Hundreds of dialects, which in my personal opinion, are languages. In their own rights, right? For instance, I think one that maybe Americans are a bit more accustomed to is the Cantonese dialect, right? Mm-hmm. , and that tends to be spoken by people that are from Southern China.
[00:22:00] Traditionally they came from Hong Kong, but now it's obviously like, you know, other parts of China. But even Shanghai has its own dialect, Shanghainese, it's perhaps one of the most difficult languages I've, I've ever heard. Right. In terms of like learning it because it's spoken at a very rapid speed.
Wendy: Yeah. And what's so interesting to me about the hundreds of dialects, and we run into this a lot when people are asking for a Chinese translation. Mm-hmm. is that Mandarin is a spoken language and the dialects are spoken language, but there's one form of written Chinese in China. So when I was in the marketplace mm-hmm.
and I didn't understand. Yeah. People would go to their palm and use their other finger to try. To write something out, a character, you know, to give you a price for something. And it didn't help. But they're so used to so many people speaking different languages, but sharing a written language that they really could communicate that
Christian: way, way, e Exactly.
And you know, like every country, I mean, the United States has a too, there's regional. Variations of the same [00:23:00] language. There are accents depending on which part of the country you're talking about. And it's the same in China, right? Like for me I got so used to the way Shanghainese people spoke Mandarin, that if I suddenly met somebody from Northern China or from Beijing and they started speaking Mandarin once in a while, I'd have to ask them to repeat what they said.
Right? Right. Because they just I'll, I'll give you an example. So in Mandarin, if you want to, if you wanna ask somebody, can you please repeat what you. You say,
right. But if it's somebody from Beijing or Northern China, they'd say
And it's the same thing. It's a just a different way of saying it. Yeah. Yeah. Or, for example, my favorite one is like, you know, if you step into a, into a taxi and they wanna ask you where you're going, they say Right? But in Beijing, they say[00:24:00]
means the same thing. It's the same thing. And these are things that you have to be mindful of and especially also with you know, with translations. And I think this could probably be a completely different conversation, but brand naming in Chinese. Oh
Wendy: yes, please talk about that.
We've done some brand name research and it's been fascinating, so Yeah. And we. Tons or Rapport, International does tons of tidbits about brand name goose. So Yeah,
Christian: bet. Tell me. I bet. And I mean, you know, this is applicable. I think you know, for all languages that, that don't, that don't use a romanized alphabet, I mean, like, you know, you can say the same thing maybe in, even in Japanese and Korean, for instance.
Right. But I'm, I'm just gonna talk about my experience with Chinese naming, because that's where, you know, that's where I spent a lot of time in the past couple of years. . The thing is, if your brand as a foreign company or as a foreign brand coming into China, if your brand does not have a Chinese name chances are people will generally tend to [00:25:00] forget who you are.
Or if you don't have a Chinese name, the media will give you one. Right. and that may or may not be good .
Wendy: Yeah. So how did you work with American companies coming in or you know, Canadian companies or any other country and just, you know, English speaking Yeah. To if they're coming in Yeah. With the brand.
Yeah. How did you help them research what it should be in Chinese?
Christian: Great question. Unfortunately it's not a one sentence answer I'm gonna say, right? Yeah. Because there is an incredible amount of, uh, research that goes behind that to understand. It's a combination of what the brand stands for, essentially number one.
Number two is, what is it about your brand that you wish to communicate to the Chinese customer or target audience? And number three, and this is the tricky. Taking those insights and then coming up with a [00:26:00] name that reflects the brand's positioning and the brand's value and the benefits that it delivers.
But coming up with a name that captures those things while at the same time being culturally sensitive. And also a name that will re. With Chinese customers. Cuz I'm gonna tell you this, and this is short of stating the obvious, right? The Chinese language has so much symbolism and hidden meaning behind it.
Yes. Right. Every character can mean, can mean something else and characters. If they standalone can have one meaning, and then if you combine them with other characters, they can have a completely different meaning.
Wendy: Right. So can you give us an example of a success, a company that went over and was able to do this nicely and what the name was in
Christian: Oh, I'll what it became.
I'll do even better than that. These are not, these are not names that I came up with you know, that we came up with. I mean, these are case studies from China, right? Mm-hmm. I'll do one better. Wendy, I'll, [00:27:00] I'll tell you one. I'll give you examples of brand names that did really well, and also a brand name that well, wasn't well received, let's just put it that way, right?
Okay. Because let, lemme just finish up before I give you those examples. , once you come up with that Chinese brand name, it needs to be tested. You know, there needs to be a linguistic check to make sure that it resonates with Mandarin speakers. Also when you're talking about government registration, you have to make sure that the name isn't taken yet either, right?
Mm-hmm. , that's completely different story. And the third one, which a lot I've seen a lot of companies do, like, you know, if you want to go the extra mile, they do a dialect. , right? Because sometimes it might sound great in Mandarin, but in in Cantonese it might be a curse, right? Right.
Yeah. So there's that part of it as well. But Okay, back to your question. So I'll give you two examples. And they're both German brands. They came up with their Chinese names [00:28:00] and they were received very well. There's the German company called Siemens, and they do everything, don't they?
Right? They're in, yes. They're in a lot of industries. So the Chinese name of Siemens sounds like a phonetic translation, but actually there is another meaning behind it. So the Chinese name of Siemens is shek, right? So she means west man is gait and the character means. , right? Yeah. So if you combine those, it almost sounds like you're saying child of the Western.
Wendy: Oh, that's
Christian: fantastic. Right. It's a, it sounds nice. I mean, like uh, shemen is like the gate to the west, right? And then is the door to the east. Right? The gate to the east. Okay. So that's one example. And they do
Wendy: a lot of innovation and thinking of new things. So child dependent on how it's
Christian: taken. Yeah. So it has, it has a po [00:29:00] it has a positive connotation, right?
Yeah. So one of my personal favorite Chinese names of a Western brand is b W, right? Mm-hmm. , BMW's, Chinese name is pma. So Bao the character. Bao means precious, right? And. The character ma means horse. So if you put them together, it's a precious horse.
Wendy: Horse. . That's
Christian: fantastic. Well, it better be that that thing's expensive, right?
Wendy: Oh, that's great.
So , you told us about a couple of names that worked well. Can you give an example of something that did not work?
Christian: Okay. Hold onto your sheets here when Airbnb came up with our Chinese name. Yeah, so I think they, they developed this name with all good intentions and [00:30:00] the, the Chinese name of Airbnb is ib.
If I were to translate that into English, it would mean something like it's, uh, it's coming from a place of love and, you know, welcoming you with love or in our hearts, right? Because the word, the Chinese word I means love. However, when they launch that name into the market, a lot of Chinese , so people, you know, people on the social media channel.
Said that that name didn't really resonate with them, and a lot of them misinterpreted its meaning. Right. And so the reason why is that depending on where you go in China, the second character, no actually the, the second character is applicable in, in all across China. But the second character B could also be implying, , the female genitalia, right?
And the third character ying can also be interpreted. [00:31:00] Lust. So if you put those characters together, if you put those characters together, It, you, you can see how it could be misinterpreted. Yeah. I love female . Yeah. I'm trying, I'm trying to find a way to like, you know, diplomatically communicate that. But look, it wasn't well received.
Long story short.
Wendy: Oh boy. Oh boy. Yeah.
Christian: So, and, and this again is, is the reason why. , you don't rush to come up with a Chinese brand name. You need to do your research. You need to make sure that it's culturally and linguistically appropriate and that it resonates with the market. Because if you don't do that due diligence, this is what can happen.
Wendy: So we talk. About China [00:32:00] and adapting mm-hmm. and the country. I mean, I was so amazed when I was over there a number of years back. Yeah. Because just the transportation system. Yes. And my mom had a stomach issue and with all the problems with the medical that we were talking about mm-hmm.
they gave her, you know, Chinese medicine or herbs that ended up solving what Western medicine hadn't been able to solve. So there's a lot of good stuff, and I know you have some ideas of what we can learn from Chinese companies or learn from people in China. Mm-hmm. What? Mm-hmm. What, what can we learn from them?
Christian: Oh, wow. Where to begin? We can learn about adaptability. , great. If it's one thing that I noticed, a, the significant difference between China and the West is their ability to adapt and adapt quickly. There's something, and I always, I think I mentioned this in our previous conversation, but there's speed as we interpret it in the west, and then there's China speed, and I'll give you an example, right.
and this, [00:33:00] I, I suppose you can say that this comes with the territory of being in an agency, but we used to get briefings from clients on a Friday afternoon at 5:00 PM and they'd expect us to come back with a full presentation by Monday morning at night. Right. Wow. That's, I mean, that's one example.
The other example I think, which I might have mentioned in our previous conversation, Wendy, I moved to Shanghai. In 2004 and I left in 2018. So when I moved there in 2004, Shanghai had two subway lines, right? Line one and line two. And when I left Shanghai in 2018, they had second team subway lines,
let that sink in for a second. They built, they built 15 subway lines in a span of like a, a decade. . Right. Wow. Never in your wildest dreams, would you imagine that kind of undertaking happening in the West [00:34:00] within that timeframe? , right. There's a running joke, I dunno about, I dunno about you. I don't know about where you live, but you know, here in Toronto they just started working on this new subway line extension.
And the jokes just don't stop. People are saying, oh, they'll finish that when my daughter, who is now four years old is in college or graduated because that's how long it will.
been trying to get a bike path through Sudbury since for over 20 years, and they're just starting it now. You're talking a simple bike path to connect two other bike paths, ,
Christian: So definitely I had to bring up that one about speed and adaptability. And what I mean by adaptability is also, I mean, . It's, it's about being open to learning new things and adopting accordingly. I'll tell you this much, Wendy. I mean, I'm not sure about your experience, but I have never lived in a place where I've worked with people that were so eager to learn new languages.
Ah, [00:35:00] I cannot tell you how many Chinese people I met while I was working in Shanghai that not only spoke passable English. , but they also spoke Japanese and Korean and French and German and Russian, and the list goes on. I had colleagues at the previous agency that would go to night school to learn Korean.
Right. Fascinating. I
wonder what drives that cultural element.
I think it's like curiosity. , it's that curiosity and also that eagerness to learn from other cultures, right? .
Wendy: Okay. So there's more of an openness Yes. To other
Christian: cultures. There's an openness to other cultures. And I'll tell you this, like I worked I used to work with caterpillar was a good client of mine.
I worked with them for nine years. In the division that not many people know about it, but it's the marine and diesel division. So they would build these massive engines that will go into ocean-going vessels, for instance. And they sent some of their Chinese engineers to be trained in [00:36:00] Germany.
and these guys came back speaking fluent German. Wow. Right? Huh. So it's not just the, the skills and the know-how of course, because you know re that's a requirement for their job, but they adopted that, the language you know, as well. Right.
Wendy: Right. So, yeah, I didn't know if it had something to do with the curiosity or whether education and the value of education or the Absolutely, you know, interest in international affairs since the opening of the borders like that.
So there's a lot of things that go into it, but I, I hear you that just the curiosity
Christian: to learn, it could be a combination of all of those factors you just. . Yeah.
Wendy: Because which is a
Christian: great cultural trait, which is a great cultural trait. And so there's that. And I think the other one, which I really need to stress on is being open to trying new technologies.
And yeah, some people have almost, you know, told me like, what are you talking about Crystal? You know, we're all [00:37:00] doing everything online now and doing online shopping and digital payments and all that. I'm like, yeah, but they've been doing that in China for 10 years.
Christian: Right. You know, we were talking,
Wendy: I remember hearing about it in France, well before I heard about it in the United States.
Christian: Yeah. You know, it was, I don't know about the United States, but in Canada it was only because of the pandemic that everybody started talking about eWallets and digital payments. Yeah, yeah. But in Shanghai, people were doing digital payments already back in 2012 or 2013. . Yeah. Right. Yeah. They just have their own version of it.
Like, I mean, they don't use Apple Pay, they have their own version. Right. There's a form of payment on WeChat that they use. Yeah. And there's Alipay, which in Mandarin is called Chew Football, but these are all like digital wallets, right? Yeah. So they've been using that kind of technology already, right?
Yeah. And and it it starts from there. And there's other things like, you know, you're talking about their transportation system. I mean, they have some of the best transportation. I've ever
Wendy: encountered slip and amazing to move that the number of [00:38:00] people that I saw moving through either Yeah.
Subways or airports. Yeah. You know what? We are coming to the end of the time and I could just keep going with you, .
Wendy: Where can people find you? Then I wanna ask for final recommendations and your favorite foreign words.
So those are the three things we have to do to wrap up. You, you take it from here, .
Christian: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, Wendy, thank you again for having me on your show. I really had a blast and I think we could have gone out for another six hours. . That's how I always
Wendy: feel talking
Christian: to you.
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. You can reach out to me on LinkedIn. I think that would be a great place to start. So my handle is Christian Dash clap, dash. I'm consulting and I'm Blake is spelled e i n b l i c k. You can check out our website at www i'm blank.co. And also check out our podcast B2B Marketers on the Mission.
And I have the pleasure of interviewing Wendy on my show. And please if you connect with me on LinkedIn, mention that you listened to this incredible show with Wendy Pease, right?
Wendy: Yes. And so it's Christian [00:39:00] Dash clip, which is K. L E P. P E P P. Mm-hmm. . Ebl. Mm-hmm. . Okay. And your website and podcast.
Fabulous. What about your favorite foreign word? We haven't done that yet.
Christian: My favorite foreign word? Hmm. Yeah. I mean, I don't know about foreign word, but I would say, I would say a phrase, and I think this phrase serves me well as I, you know, as I went out to China, because at first, you know, I was really interested in learning Mandarin and immersing myself in the Chinese culture.
But, you know, in the beginning it seems like it's an insurmountable task. And just to put that in the context, I asked my Chinese teacher, well, how many, how many characters would I need to know to read a newspaper? And she goes, about 6,000. And I'm like,
So anyways, to answer your question and it's a famous saying from an ancient Chinese philosopher called . Mm-hmm. , and the saying goes,[00:40:00]
which in English means the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single.
Wendy: love that saying I had to have a quote to put on a presentation in business school and I heard that. There you go. Sounds like that becomes, you know, I love it. And then hear it in the actual Chinese from lasu. That's fantastic. So that is perfect. Yeah. So Christian, thank you so much for joining me on the show today.
I have found this absolutely fascinating and I know. Listeners
Christian: too. My pleasure. Thanks for having.
Wendy: Yeah. So if you found this as entertaining as I did, please give it a five star rating. I'd really appreciate that cuz that helps show it to more people that might be interested. And if you know of a business owner who is interested in multicultural marketing, Or is thinking about expanding into China, certainly reach out to me or to Christian and we can help guide you on best [00:41:00] practices and suggestions and even some government and state resources that can help you figure out all the pieces that need to go into it.
So thank you so much and we'll talk to you next time.