Greenpeace : Respecting names
A simple and inoffensive way of recognising and respecting national differences.
Greenpeace, the interventionist environmental campaign group, uses its international website to highlight issues and promote involvement in its campaigns around the world. One of its current concerns is to persuade the Icelandic government to switch its whaling policy from catching the mammal to expanding “whale watch” tourism. A Features item on the home page, ‘Visit Iceland: save whales’, links to a page where people are urged to “take the pledge now”.
A simple web form allows them to attest that they “would seriously consider” taking a holiday in Iceland if its government renounces whaling. The only personal details asked for are “Given names” and “Family name”. A tick box is provided under these fields for people to check if they have an “Asian-style name… where the family name occurs first”.
Most multinational sites are still struggling to cope with the fact that not everyone configures their address the way Americans do, never mind that their names may not follow western conventions. With its tick box, which seems to be standard on forms across the site, Greenpeace has found a simple and inoffensive way of showing that it recognises and respects the difference.
For a ‘caring’ global brand like Greenpeace it makes good sense to customise its forms to show that its awareness of cultural diversity is expressed in its actions as well as it words. Most organisations buy a software package off the shelf and will be put off by the idea of paying extra to modify it or design one of their own. But against that they should balance the value of creating good will among all their potential customers.http://www.greenpeace.org
First published on 08 July, 2004