Friday, March 26, 2010

Highlights from the 2010 CIBER Business Languages Conference

by Ann Abbott

*"Brand Management in the Global Market Place" Keynote address by Elana Drell Szyfer, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Estee Lauder Companies
At lunch today we were treated to a wonderful presentation about how a billion-dollar cosmetic company defines its customer, sells globally, yet deploys local solutions that are culturally-specific. For example, their work with makeup artist, Tom Pecheux, is in part motivated by the difficulties they face in the French market, as a non-French brand. Also in France, they have been stymied by the different ways in which their products are distributed locally. They are very good, Ms. Drell Szyfer said, at selling in department stores. That's their core competency. But in France, outside of some big department stores in big cities, their products are sold in parfurmeries. This means that their products are displayed in separate parts of the stores, and Estee Lauder is going through a difficult negotiation process with the local parfumeries to allow them to put in branded installations that group all their products. In Asia, this fast-growing market has two seasons--one in which women use anti-aging skin care products and another season in which they use whitening products. These are just a few examples of the cultural considerations that must be negotiated in a global company. And they are examples that we can share with our students to make them more aware of how combine their knowledge of business practices with their cultural and linguistic knowledge.

*Faculty Development Program in Avila and Madrid, Spain.
I went on this trip several years ago and gathered a lot of good information about Spanish companies. I still use some of the realia in my classes today. Click here to read the details of this year's program, June 6-12, led by Prof. Maida Watson. (I may be in Spain at that time, and I may give a lecture.)

*On-line Italian Business Course
Click here to see a list of on-line materials offered within Moodle by the Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC). Scroll down to "Italian," click on Italian 499, set up an account for yourself, and explore the site.

*International Companies
Students love to explore company websites from Spanish-speaking countries. Prof. Graciela Tissera from Clemson University, South Carolina mentioned some of the companies that she has her students analyze. Most were companies that I already knew (Zara, Carrefour, Movistar), but Falabella was new to me. She also mentioned two movies that she uses in her teaching: El Método and La estrategia del caracol.

Next year´s conference will be in Columbia, South Carolina. See you there.

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