Stereotypes: Business Opportunity

ESEUNE Business School Weekly Articles

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Turn a weakness into an opportunity

Sandra Ibáñez Ibarlucea

Sandra Ibáñez Ibarlucea graduated from Deusto Business School in 2013, where she studied a Bachelor degree in Business Administration with a Marketing specialization. She also graduated from Carlos III University in 2014 where she studied a Master degree in Management of the Film Industry.

Sandra has worked for almost a year in Exercycle S.L. one of the biggest fitness companies in Spain; and approximately two years in the Spanish Film Industry, in charge of private investment on audiovisual production.

Currently she is attending a Global MBA in China from ESEUNE Business School (Spain).áñez-ibarlucea/65/a46/4a1

I am sure we have all heard about stereotypes, and I may assure that all of us are influence by stereotypes, at the end stereotypes are a set of beliefs about the personal attributes of a group of people. These thoughts or beliefs may or may not accurately reflect reality but they determine our behavior and our way to interact with others. Of course, this affect our way of make business too and it is a variable to have in account.

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Chinese eat dogs, every German drinks beer, all Spanish dance Salsa, the Irish are heavy drinkers. This all are examples of stereotypes and every country has to deal with it at the time they are making business.

There are many reasons why cultural stereotype forms. However, the oversimplified stereotypes have great negative impact on intercultural communication as well. If treated wrongly, they will become obvious barriers to such communication.

But could a negative stereotype become a business opportunity? Could weaknesses become a strength? Are negative stereotypes always bad for business? I strongly believe the answer for this last question is no. When the reputation of a country is not good, the thought about it are just refered to the product and its quality.

Let see an example, Spain.

If we ask to the world about Spain they say: party, bullfighting, paella, beaches, sunny, flamenco… As we see, nobody connect Spain with technology, chocolate or cars for mention some examples. That does not means that we do not have this things, just that we are known for other kind of things. In this case, the approach has to be different the attention must be focus in things that define Spain, that are related with your product and gives a good impulse to your product.

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Another thing to have in mind is the perception that the country has of itself. Let use another example Mexico.

When you ask about thinks of Mexico they say: Drugs, danger, tacos, mariachis, cartels… It seem a dangerous place to visit or work in. A Mexican friend of mine explain me that for him, this is not real, that he does not feel fear or see drugs in his daily life.

Although the image we have of Mexico is distorted, they have to deal with it when they make business.

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To conclude, even the perfect scenario is that your country is not known by bad things, you should learn how to deal with bad opinions. Find the proper approach and become every weakness into an opportunity.