What Are You Saying, What Are They Hearing? . . .

The Inquirer points out a company with a name you’ve probably run across before if you run around in certain different circles: Assmann

Now here’s a company that needs J. Lo as a spokesperson. They ought to appreciate her a lot more than Ben, especially with slogans like “Original Assmann quality.” She’d be a real corporate asset.

It’s not a Taiwanese company, though; it is based in Germany.

Their website is here, the U.S. subsidiary has a website there.

They sell all kinds of plugs, cables, and other connective devices meant to connect one end to another. They also make heatsinks, fans, and yes, they make thermal grease.

They are mostly an OEM selling their products to other companies that put their name on their products. With their name, this is quite understandable.

They have come out with a self-named line of products, but they still need a lot of work in playing the name game. If my company were named Assmann, I don’t think I’d call my product line Digitus.

I must admit, they do show formidable Teutonic disdain towards linguistic connotations feeding silly Anglo-American bathroom humor and current cultural anal fixations. Or perhaps Howard Stern just hasn’t called them yet.

Again, if this were my company, I’d be a bit more sensitive to descriptive phrases like, “ASSMANN has made its name,” “direct contact to our contracted partners,” “intensive customer-oriented support,” “keep close contact to the customers.”

Let’s not even get into “insulated mounting.”

There’s a website store where you can buy some of their products (sorry, no company logo, and no thermal grease) here.

After this piece, I figured they deserved the plug.

Is There A Serious Point To All This?

Yes. Sometimes, factors you’re oblivious to can keep customers away from your product. Like language.

A lot of non-native speaking computer companies give very short shrift to translating their website and documents into the language their customers use. The results are often unintentionally hilarious, but it’s not funny when the joke is on you. It certainly isn’t a selling point for your company.

In this particular case, the company is likely named after its founder (a websearch shows that it is a pretty common name), so there’s probably not much the company can do about it.

And yes, it is sophomoric and immature to giggle about this, or laugh at other linquistic errors. But if your potential customers are very prone to giggling and laughing or worse, and then not buying, why handicap yourself?

A couple years ago, Via was ready to name a chipset the KZ133. The term “KZ” had no negative connotations in Taiwan, but it sure did in Germany. “KZ” were the initials used for Nazi concentration camps.

Now Via certainly didn’t do that deliberately, but they also certainly didn’t want people thinking about Nazi concentration camps when looking at their product. So they changed the name.

If you want a global market, you need to develop global sensitivities to your customers minds, including their quirks.


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