When discovering new countries, we try to rely on models or systems to help us understand better local people, their reactions, their culture, or their communication. But sometimes we go too far. We tend to keep in mind characteristics, if not caricatures, that are supposed to represent a given people and they are nothing but stereotypes.
The cultural meaning of these stereotypes depends on who is using them: an English Canadian will describe a French Canadian using specific stereotypes but may not do so for Mexicans or Filipinos. Stereotypes of Texans, Californians, Midwesterners, Southerners, New Yorkers or Yankees are very well known in US, but not in Europe where they have much more detailed stereotypes of each other’s nationalities… And these stereotypes also change over time making it even more difficult to have a precise map of them.
As expatriates we are all worldwide ambassadors of our respective countries. How often do we try to make people change their mind and realize that everything cannot be summed up in two words? But sometimes a country can’t just rely on its expatriates…
France is one of the few countries suffering from very strong stereotypes in many different places in the world. Some find it funny and explain this situation by the major role France played in many aspects of life since hundreds years. But when it comes to international business, the fact is that it represents a true weakness for France attraction. Getting companies investments, top scientists or artists is a worldwide fight and every selling point counts.
The Invest in France agency is a worldwide organization working towards the goal of making France Europe’s leading destination for international investment. One of their very good videos is available on You Tube and tries to fight against stereotypes widely spread in North America.
So, would you invest in France?