What are the odds of being born into a trilingual home? Mother from one country, Father from another country, and all of us living in a third country. Odds are rather slim. Since my very early days, the crazy exercise of switching between three languages, then four, then five and today a total of six languages, slowly but amazingly became second nature, like walking or drinking a glass of water.
Having lived in five different countries is exciting, and I have always been fascinated by how human beings integrate and adapt to new environments. You start anew every time, making new friends, learning the language and the culture. It is a new life in a new environment, with people who do not understand you, nor you them, they do not share the same culture, traditions, humour or food, and you do it all while trying to remain true to your beliefs and who you are.
What do languages have to do with Marketing Integration, you are probably wondering.
I learnt – the hard way until the second nature bit kicked in – precious lessons about human integration, which today are relevant to what I do for a living: Marketing Integration.
Lesson 1. Communication
I love travelling to countries where I can speak with the locals. Statistically I can speak with approximately 2,5 billion people on the planet (yes, amazing feeling), and I despair when I cannot communicate because I am outside of my linguistic frontiers. When integrating a marketing campaign or an entire marketing ecosystem the first step is to make sure all involved parties learn how to communicate effectively, and then do indeed communicate.
It is not the same asking the hairdresser for a blowjob when what you meant was a blow dry. Or asking the person at the counter for a choucrotte (French for cabbage poop) when what you meant was a choucroute (French for sauerkraut).
However, it is not only about making yourself understood, or understanding others, but also about sharing the same set of goals, targets, KPI’s, strategies, appraisal system, remuneration system, etc. Now we are starting to speak the same language!
Lesson 2. Social
Integration truly matters when moving to a new country; finding and keeping a job, buying bread (or sauerkraut), and in general having a satisfying life in the new environment. However, the social integration is probably one of the most wonderful parts of the experience; meeting new people and building new relationships.
At Flock we believe socialising is key to any successful integration exercise. Marketing ecosystems where there are no silos or solos, where teams share, have fun together, communicate, learn and aim for the same objectives, are the ones that thrive.
Lesson 3. Never Stop Learning
Intolerance, misunderstanding, frustration of not being able to express feelings, nuances, tones, humour, style, colours… Or not being able to explain what you know, what you do, who you are, what you like or do not like, all these can make the initial steps of learning a new language a bit of a struggle, to say the least. Optimising any new situation takes effort, time and accepting that mistakes are part of the learning process, so after a fall, get back on the horse.
At Flock our existence is paced by the 3Ds: Define > Decide > Do. We Define a situation, Decide on the best approach or solution, and then we Do or implement the solution. This system allows for a cycle that can be repeated as many times and as often as required. It allows us to constantly learn and improve what we do. As with a new language, marketing integration can always be improved, finessed, and fine-tuned.
Lesson 4. Will
The final, and possibly the most important thing I have learnt about integration from my experiences with different languages and countries, is that without the WILL to integrate, there will be no integration. Having an open mind and being curious about others can only come from the people involved.
If your teams are struggling with the sauerkraut, get in touch; you have the choice of six languages.
Contact Flock here.