A German-US “Failure to Communicate”
A German client was unable to “talk” to its US supplier/partner, each conversation seeming to spawn new misunderstandings. The Germans saw their US counterparts as exposing themselves to extreme risk, while the Americans saw their German colleagues as conservative, hopelessly risk averse. As trust evaporated attention to technology receded. The relationship was in danger of collapse.
ICG led these organizations to realize that each was hearing the words without understanding their true meaning. Each was overlooking rarely-verbalized risk horizons while projecting its respective assumptions upon the other party. The American firm learned to present thorough proposals supported by “enormous” data volumes that Germans expect. The German firm learned to be sensitive to the impact of its negotiating style and to constantly state its underlying assumptions so that US technical counterparts could design with their needs in mind.
A US “Mission Critical” Service Misses the Mark in Asia
A premium US offering often described as “mission critical,” failsafe, and “all weather” to justify premium pricing for premium service was failing to sell in the Sino-Asian market.
ICG determined that while US buyers understood the implied connection to the rigorous “mission critical” demands of space and defense applications, Chinese buyers found the concept remote and irrelevant in their culture, i.e., a “mission critical” service had no value and, thus, its price had to be constantly explained and defended. ICG determined that a luxurious, premium, service option deserving of royalty and upper castes was better called Golden Service or Double Gold Service.
The client maintained separate ad campaigns as American culture saw “golden” as merely an “expensive service.”
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