Of course yes-but why? The most obvious answer is because we are in Europe!
In reality the answer is more complex than that. Almost every country in Europe speaks a different language (even Switzerland and Germany speak two different Germans), and when it comes to spend money and time to produce content and materials Europe valid, it comes always the question. Is it worth? What if then every country change them localizing them? Why don’t let each country do their own things?
When it comes to multinational company, there are of course guidelines and strategic inputs from Headquarters (whenever they are) and every local market should try to use them as similar to original as possible. Theory is: just translate and use them. But this is almost always not possible. As Europe is so fragmented and inside-different, every country tend to localize the message more than just translating it. The way communication acts in Germany is not the same in France/Italy for example. Visual is for France / Italy much more significat than it is in Germany. While in Germany and german speaking countries, wording is the absolutely stronger and most important part of a communication piece. Trying to combine visual and text in one message is not always so easy – therefore only a solid message that combines those aspects together is effective and emphatic everywhere (if you’re interested this is a good article presenting the case of a wrong message that doesn’t fit all).
So, again, the question, why should every large Company have European coordinators if every Country acts and creates their own things?
- Europe Headquarters: for sure every company organize their own events and fairs. And even if a little modified, why not using the same materials for more than one local event? Here it comes the need of a European warehouse to stock all materials and stand accessories (roll-ups, furniture, visuals…). Someone would have to coordinate this place and deliver things where they have to. Organizing and rationalizing the resources ensure cost saving.
- Lots of customers are nowadays either worldwide or at least European. For example in the Retail world, 90% of the major retailers in Europe have stores in more than one country. This shows how crucial it is the need of sharing information outside their headquarters. Especially when it comes to products portfolio and pricing, company have the necessity to uniform and align.
- The Online-World eliminates borders. When we think of buying something online, we almost never know where it comes from and more often than we think, is not in the country where we place the order from. Thanks to the new online technologies, we are not longer “far way” from each other in Europe. So we not using this capability proactively? Creating activities and campaigns at Europe level enlarge our audience and our probability of success.
- Europe service are still not so easy to find. Agencies and companies able to follow and support customer across Europe are incredibly difficult to find. Millions of local agencies exist, but quite a few work out of their boards. And if they do, it is for sure not reaching the whole Europe. Serious agencies that are able to provide services such as marketing, communication, graphic, printing, self-training, education… that have resources and experience at Europe level are extremely hard to find. Experts that can overcome this empty space extremely important.
- Europe is the future. Moving across Germany, Italy, France and all other countries (and I mean also UK, even if they don’t like to hear it) is nowadays easier and easier. More and more people try new lives abroad, reinventing themselves a job or studying new languages. This is happening, liking or not. Considering this, as European experts, we can contribute exchanging our expertises and molding ourselves around new styles and cultures. I’ve already talked about this here.
Of course who takes responsibility roles Europe-wide has to be aware that communication and adaptation is the key. The ability to communicate efficiency and openly within different group of people and organizations is a must (like I say here). We, as Europe Managers, have to overpass our “local” attitudes and be able to relate and collaborate with different styles and approaches, based on the culture we are working with. In the same time, we should use our own personal skills to improve and benefit others.
From the amazing Book – that everyone who works at international level should read.
“When Cultures Collide: LEADING ACROSS CULTURES” –
– Richard D. Lewis