In the words of Paulo Coelho: Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they have a deeper understanding of one another, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems and the same questions.
The days of selling our items to each other village to village (think the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker), face to face, are long past us. In my opinion, today we are selling our “technoproducts” and services via the digital superhighways to people all around the world. In this more tech focused world we work with “turbomachinerie” with “flashcapacities”.
Despite the fast changes that have happened and continue to happen in our selling culture, the culture of individual human beings who are ultimately the end users being sold to, are slower to change.
Culture within individuals heavily influence their choices – how to cook, speak, act, dress etc. These cultures are as diverse now as they were centuries ago, but they are changing and need to be kept up with. For example, the English culture of 1782 would not be the same as the one we experience in 2020. This is the same for all cultures French, German, Dutch etc. Culture is a living and changing thing.
So why is this relevant?
As a company we embrace this cultural diversity (including languages) as it enriches not only our teams and our methodology to solve problems and challenges, but it also benefits our clients and prospects. We find that a diverse team will find many solutions to a problem – whether that is within our business or within a client’s business.
At Air Marketing, we celebrate the German Karneval, we celebrate the Oranjekoorts during Koningsdag, we welcome the tartiflette and merguez on our lunch or BBQ and embrace the culture and language of our clients and prospects. By speaking their mother tongue we understand certain cultural differences (for example the directness of the Dutch Dutch-speaking market in comparison with the gentle tone of the Belgian Dutch-speaking market). All this out of respect of our clients and prospects and of course to do business together.
Wouter Vanaelst Background
Wouter was born and raised in Belgium, right on the linguistic border. His mother tongue is Flemish/Dutch and from a very early age he also learnt French and German. After studying in Brussels and gaining 2 academic degrees in Educational Sciences and Art & Cultural Andragogy, he then went on to work for 7 years as an Educational and Client Services Officer for the Centrale Culturelle Bruxelloise. In this role his focus was monitoring and researching the social and economic climate alongside organising and delivering marketing and recruitment campaigns
Wouter also spent 2 years in Africa conducting research on the educational & socio-economic challenges, whilst learning to overcome many logistical and cultural obstacles. Wouter moved to the UK in 2015, his first role in the UK was teaching French and German classes as an associate lecturer. Alongside this he worked with international companies analysing business to customer (B2C) communication in Dutch, French and German.
Wouter is now heading up the Multilingual offering for Air Marketing Group, helping businesses open up opportunities within strong economic countries such as Germany, France and Holland.
Wouter is fascinated by cultural and linguistic differences, how people choose to act, speak and work differently and in understanding this looking at how to make bridges in between cultures and languages. Wouter does not believe in uniformity, he believes every language, culture and client have different needs that require a bespoke approach. This includes adapting to cultural manners, working with native speakers who have native accents and cultural knowledge.
“Every language you speak is another market that opens up to you.”
Interested in talking to me about our multilingual offering? Contact me directly on 01392 575282 or complete our contact form here.
Senior Business Development Executive Multilingual, Air Marketing Group