Navigating cultural nuances in international product testing

There’s no need to emphasise the importance of effectively testing consumer products. Without a consistent, behavioural approach to removing bias and creating robust testing environments, no brand can truly have confidence in their consumer testing.

Most brands know this. What they’re less aware of are the pitfalls when it comes to taking this model and applying it overseas, to new people, places, and cultures. International product testing provides invaluable insights, allowing brands to expand into new markets and territories armed with the data and insights to justify their decisions. However, international testing is an entirely different  proposition  to carrying it out in your own backyard, and requires new considerations to avoid poor decisions and commercial losses. Let’s take a look at some of the key challenges.

1. New cultural biases

Varying tastes are just one part of a larger picture, comprising cultural preferences, perceptions, and conventions. From continent to continent, innumerable factors feed into taste and preference patterns, and it is only with a deep cultural understanding of the context in which consumers are evaluating your products that you will generate genuinely useful insights.

From local conventions and attitudes, to shifting topical themes and current events, cultural nuances can embed themselves in many ways. Without the right experience and expertise, hidden biases can slip through the net.

2. Linguistic nuance

Truly direct translations don’t exist, and meaning can never be 100% replicated in a different language. So, if you are gathering insights and opinions, it is vital that phrasing and vocabulary be fine-tuned to avoid results being skewed by semantic inconsistencies.

You need trusted and experienced translators, and contacts at the testing location to maintain these high standards, and ensure that your results aren’t plagued with semantic confusion.

3. Finding trusted partners

Before commencing product testing research in a new market It is essential to have knowledgeable and trusted local agents and partners on the ground. Sourcing the right partner is no easy task.. If you’re handing over the logistics of testing to unfamiliar entities, you need to be able to trust in their abilities to uphold the consistency and quality of your product testing – choosing a local agency can be a minefield.

4. Dealing with multiple contacts on multi-country projects

Multi-country projects can be incredibly time-consuming to manage – issues can arise at a local level, which need to be addressed, but may also have an impact on other markets, and the project overall, and every project change must be communicated to each agency involved in a timely manner.

Simply put, international product testing requires a great deal of planning, local knowledge and logistical understanding, and diving in without going through this process will inevitably lead to poor outcomes.

At Trinity McQueen, we are proud of the trusted network of local suppliers we have built over the years, which ensures that every piece of work commissioned across the world is conducted to only the highest standards, and tailored using local market knowledge.

Centrally managing projects out of the UK, we take the strain of multi-country project management meaning you just need one point of contact to get the job done.

Got an international product testing research project coming up, and want to talk it through? Get in touch with us today.