“New Life in U.S. No Longer Means New Name”
That’s the title of an article published in The New York Times this week. In short it shows evidence of a declining need to fit in with Western standards.
“For the most part, nobody changes to American names any more at all,” said Cheryl R. David, former chairwoman of the New York chapter of the American Immigration.
(Source: The New York Times)
Mr. Steinway (the famous German-born pianomaker who abandoned the name Steinweg in pursuit of economic success) is a perfect example of the 19th and 20th century convention of immigrants adopting Anglicized names.
What used to be needed to blend in and speed assimilation is no longer required. Economic powers are changing, as shown in this article in The Financial Times: “Indian economy shows 8.8% growth.” The world’s population is moving around more than ever, settling temporarily or permanently in other regions and countries.
So what does this mean for people in the data quality playing field?
Most people used to live and die in the same country, but trends are changing fast. It already used to be hard to comprehend and spell the names of people in your neighbouring countries, but mastering just that is no longer enough. Italians for example used to live in their own neighbourhood in Boston, just like the Chinese population did. Nowadays you can find anyone living anywhere.
A call centre agent in Austin, Texas is probably familiar with Mexican names, but how about the name Muthukumara? And would you know if Jyoti Thakur is male or female? Well, Jyoti does, obviously, and what’s more: she expects you to know the same.
The world might be changing, but the personal wish of each of us to be seen for who we are stays the same. You might say that who we are is reflected in our name. This need for individuality is ongoing and will probably even increase, as will our settle mania.
It is time for marketers and organizations around the world to make sure that they can treat each (potential) customer as if they were their neighbour. With Anglicized name or without. Luckily there is help out there.