International trade routes are littered with the broken dreams of corporate leaders who thought they could simply set up shop in a foreign country and prosper. They either forget or ignore the fact that rules and customs vary all over the world. They discover the hard way that failing to understand this leads not only to confusion and wasted time but also to offense, distrust, and ultimately to rejection. New Design Group focuses on understanding and integration for companies wishing to do business in Canada.
“Globalization” is an accepted phenomenon in Canada. Canadians often consider globalization to be the branching out of North American companies into the rest of the world. However, this is a shortsighted view. Free market agreements, global supply chains, and technological advances make it logistically easier than ever to enter international markets.
Chinese companies are making themselves at home in Canada and the world over. Chinese companies wishing to establish businesses in Canada see the globalization phenomenon from their own perspective and most understand that Canada, too, has rules and customs to be learned and followed in order to be successful.
The rules for entering the Canadian market are much the same as for Canadian companies entering foreign markets. Apart from strictly business and governmental considerations, companies entering Canada need to understand Canadian customs, societal norms, and the nature of Canadian individuals in order to effectively communicate their brands and values.
New Design Group understands well-developed, effective branding, the importance of which cannot be overstated in communicating with Canadian consumers and businesses. Brands are the faces and voices of companies. A well-designed brand concentrates the culture, products, promise, and personality of an organization into graphics, style, and a continual flow of words. They have to be the correct graphics and words to succeed in clearly presenting all the information and emotion needed to establish a memorable, dynamic relationship with Canadians.
New Design Group is particularly well equipped to help Chinese companies establish their brands in Canada. Here’s why:
- Branding is our business. New Design Group has been successfully branding businesses for nearly 15 years. Our website tells that story and demonstrates our expertise, offering an extensive library of our work.
- Language is the key to understanding and acceptance. It can also be the cause of misunderstanding and rejection. That is why it is extremely important to engage expert Canadian writers – writers for whom the native Canadian English idiom is as natural as proper spelling, writers such as the New Design Group writer producing this article. Of equal importance is the availability of culturally sensitive and idiomatically correct translation of Canadian English back to Chinese. Otherwise, how would Chinese companies know exactly what they are saying to Canadians?
- Establishing the nature of a Chinese company’s presence in Canada is crucial to acceptance. In order to profitably exist in Canada, a Chinese company must be seen to be transparent about the type and structure of its operations. When New Design Group establishes their brand, we do not hide the fact that they are foreign. We make show that the company has offices and facilities in Canada; perhaps distribution channels, warehouses, and assembly plants. The point to be made is that the company provides jobs, pays taxes, and contributes to the economy.
- Effective marketing communication is essential for profitability in Canada. There are numerous channels leading to Canadians’ positive buying decisions. New Design Group maintains expertise both in traditional modes such as print and video, and in digital marketing:
- Product packaging and labeling. We take care to ensure that packaging and labeling conveys the company’s adherence to Canadian regulations. As well, we understand the importance and relevance of colour in presenting various kinds of products to their intended purchasers.
- Traditional promotional materials such as brochures, catalogues, and direct mail campaigns put New Design Group’s long experience in these areas to good use. For instance, unlike online communication, once a company’s message is in print it’s there to stay. The words must be correct, the images must be appealing, and the item itself must be designed to feel contemporary for weeks, months, and even years at a time.
- In any marketing communication, photography is usually the first thing to catch the eye. It must not only be technically excellent but must also reflect the widely varied demographic that is the Canadian population.
- We design websites that use contemporary technological tools and concepts to focus on reaching specific target markets. The potential of properly displayed products with relevant descriptions is matched with the ability to directly collect leads on-line.
- Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, and others are now recognized as some of the most direct channels to potential audiences and purchasers. However there are pitfalls of using social media to convey marketing messages and often such attempts are wasted or can do actual damage to a company’s image. New Design Group employs social media experts who stay current on the subject and advice our clients on best practices in this burgeoning field.
Here are a few general rules to be considered when a Chinese company enters Canada and engages Canadian culture:
Social contact and customs:
- Canadians are mostly friendly, polite, unpretentious people valuing honesty, empathy, and humility along with respect for privacy and the individual. Greeting is usually a handshake.
- Canadians enjoy good conversation, however the subjects of politics, sex, and religion tend to be reserved for close companions and are at times simply considered inappropriate.
- Leaving a gratuity (a “tip”) for service workers is expected. For instance, in a restaurant, a tip of 15% of the bill is the minimum expected. It is common practice to recognize excellent service with a larger amount.
Business contact and customs
- Canada is an egalitarian nation. Hierarchy is recognized but not considered particularly important. Conformity is usually a less important value than individualism and innovation that can come from individual effort.
- Punctuality is highly valued. It is considered disrespectful to be late to meetings.
- Generally, business dress is “business casual” – comfortable, neat clothing with some individual style. If business suits are required that requirement will usually be made known beforehand.