Human Capital

Synergy. The collective power of an entity’s various pieces – stronger than their sum, and united in their direction. This is a corporate mutation of the idea. Its roots lie in ‘Sonke’ – a Zulu concept – one of strength through community. More appropriately, strength through a community acting as one, as elaborated in the phrase, ‘sisonke,’ or ‘we are together.’ Now, this is real power. It is the power of human capital, uncorrupted by motives other than for the benefit of the community and its members. And it is a strength that is now at our fingertips like never before – facilitated by our growing ability to communicate, no matter where we may be. This new age – the age of interconnectivity – heralds a much-needed redefinition of the concept of power.

The phrase, ‘there is strength in numbers,’ is becoming more relevant as the days progress. And with each new realization of this collective strength comes validation for its movement. We are awake. We are aware. We are different and beautiful. Unbeknown to Plato: power does not lie with the few, it lies in the many. Further, it lies in the differential tact amongst its ranks. It lies in the ability to capitalize on our differences, not shove them away. There is beauty in this difference and strength in its number.

Never forget that you are a part of this.

Dissonance Theory

There is something to be said for tension. Fruitful deliberation only occurs out of conflicting sentiment. This may sound rather counter-intuitive, but let me ask you a question: what do you consider as growth? Is growth a reification of the old under some new light, or is it a dismantling of the old – from which something entirely foreign can emerge?

Leon Festinger developed Cognitive Dissonance Theory in 1957. According to this framework, individuals have a tendency to seek consistency among their perceptions of the world-at-large. When misalignments abound, we look for ways to end the dissonance. However, there is a problem: our approach to ending this conflict tends to be ethnocentric in nature. That is, there is always a correct answer to-be-found. This is debilitating.

Interdisciplinarity teaches us that one approach is not always right. Rather, multiple perspectives are often necessary to get the full picture. Herein lies the synergistic quality of meaning: multiple viewpoints are not a deterrent. They only widen the lens from which an image can be seen.

Imagine two pictures of the same object, only taken from different angles. Are they not both of the same thing? Who is to say that the being encapsulated in one is different from that rendered by the other? That, my friend, is a matter of perspective. And who is to say that my image is better than yours? That, too, is a matter of perspective.

Cognitive dissonance. We look for ways to end the tension – validation that we were right all along. We look for ways to feed the spirit. We search for others who share our worldview, and we cling to them. This is not growth – it is stagnation. It is a false representation of beauty. Difference, now that is where the magic happens. That is where fruitful deliberation will occur. A dismantling of the old – of traditions that have brought us to this point – so that the new may take hold. Don’t just listen for the dissonance, live in it.

Considerations for International Marketing Communications

On the international level, marketing communications must be handled with extreme care. Context is key, and context between cultures with opposing sentiments it is paramount. An organization must understand that its actions do not exist in a vacuum, and its approach must be tempered with an understanding of the foreign country’s macro environment. Social, cultural, political, environmental, economic, and ethical considerations should lay the groundwork for any communication strategy.

The choice of media should take into account a number of factors stemming from the macro environment of the country in question. For one, what media channels currently exist, in what frequency, and what types could be created? For example, local legislation may forbid the use of particular services, such as certain social media platforms in China. Regarding current channels, What, if any, type of competition exists? Additionally, What local resources can be co-opted for the organization’s purposes?

Out of the macro-environmental influencers listed previously, grasping the local culture can be the most elusive. Carl Jung & Kenneth Burke both stipulate that human beings convey meaning through symbol systems. The issue is, symbols do not hold a universal definition. They are imbued with meaning by our hand. Language, itself, is the best example of this. The shear number of dialects that exist – each with its own system for the construction and transmittance of meaning – is daunting. In order to communicate effectively, nothing must be lost in translation.

When it comes to international marketing, choice of media is key, especially with the diffusion of information through various channels of distribution. We will tackle how each method of digital, social, and traditional media has been used successfully and unsuccessfully through our analysis of various international marketing campaigns. We will also compare and contrast how companies run their campaigns for a single product based on whether the campaigns have to vary by nation or regional targeting. While making their campaign decisions, companies must also factor in the 4 Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement, when communicating their product or services in a given country, across different cultures, behaviors, and beliefs, and we hope to analyze the degree of application each of these factors in communicating an international marketing campaign in order to create enough noise that provides success and positive feedback. We understand that implementation of a successful marketing campaign may be vastly different, depending on the country. Therefore, we hope to compare and contrast various campaigns and their use of communication strategies and media, with the intention of presenting the readers of this blog with information that they can extrapolate for use in a successful international marketing campaign.

Joseph Naidoo and Andres Vaca are MBA students at Chapman University. If you have any issue as to the validity of the information that is presented in their blog, your complaints can be sent to