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Marketing into France: B2B marketing country factsheet
Marketing into France: B2B marketing country factsheet
Marketing into France: B2B marketing country factsheet
Marketing into France: B2B marketing country factsheet
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Marketing into France: B2B marketing country factsheet


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We've decided to share our internal country fact sheets which give an introduction to the country background, economy and a few key dos and don'ts. A great starting point when planning a marketing …

We've decided to share our internal country fact sheets which give an introduction to the country background, economy and a few key dos and don'ts. A great starting point when planning a marketing campaign.

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  • 1. COUNTRY FACTSHEET: FRANCE TELEPHONE CODE: +33 What you will find in this document Short history Major cities Brief economy overview National holidays Salutations Date format Address format Dos and don’ts
  • 2. COUNTRY FACTSHEET: FRANCE Short history The only European country facing both the North Sea and the Mediterranean, France has been subject to a particulary rich variety of cultural influences. Though famous for the rootedness of its peasant population, it has also been a European melting pot, even before the arrival of the Celtic Gauls in the centuries before Christ, through to the Mediterranean immigrations of the 20th Century. The Roman conquest by Julius Caesar had an enduring impact, but from the 4th and 5th Centuries AD, waves of Barbarbian invaders destroyed much of the Roman legacy. The Germanic Franks provided political leadership in the following centuries, but when their line died out in the late 10th Century, France was socially and politically fragmented. The Capetian dynasty gradually pieced France together over the Middle Ages, a period of great economic prosperity and cultural vitality. France flourished during the Renaissance, followed by the grandeur of Louis XIV’s reign. During the Enlightenment, in the 18th Century, French culture and institutions were the envy of Europe. The Revolution of 1789 ended the absolute monarchy and introduced major social and institutional reforms, many of which were endorsed and consolidated by Napoleon. Yet the Revolution also inaugurated the instability which has remained a hallmark of French politics. France has its main ideals expressed in the 18th-century Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. In the 19th and early 20th Centuries, France built the second-largest colonial empire of the time, ruling large portions of first North America and India and then Northwest and Central Africa; Madagascar; Indochina and southeast China; and many Caribbean and Pacific Islands. Rank 1 2 3 4 5 City Paris Marseille Lyon Toulouse Nice Population 2,300,000 859,000 488,000 447,000 344,000
  • 3. COUNTRY FACTSHEET: FRANCE Economy The French economy is diversified across all sectors. The government has partially or fully privatised many large companies, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. However, the government maintains a strong presence (Dirigisme) in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. With at least 79 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism. France’s leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. A member of the G8 group of leading industrialised countries, it is ranked as the world’s fifth largest and Europe’s second largest economy by nominal. With 39 of the 500 biggest companies of the world in 2010, France ranks fourth in the Fortune Global 500, behind the USA, Japan and China. Paris is the second most important location in the world for the headquarters of the world’s 500 largest companies: there are more Fortune Global 500 company headquarters in Paris than in Beijing, New York, London or Munich, but fewer than in Tokyo. Here are some examples: II AXA is one of the world’s largest insurance companies II L’Oreal is the world’s largest cosmetic company II EDF is the world’s largest utility company II Michelin is the world’s pneumatic leader II Lafarge is the world’s largest cement company II Carrefour is the world’s second largest retail group in terms of revenue II Total is the world’s fourth largest private oil company II Danone is the world’s fifth largest food company and the world’s largest supplier of mineral water National public holidays DATE HOLIDAY LOCAL NAME 1 January New Year's Day Premier de l’an/Jour de l’an moveable Good Friday Vendredi Saint Friday before Easter (observed only in Alsace and Moselle) moveable Easter Monday Lundi de Pâques Monday after Easter (one day after Easter) 1 May May Day/Labour Day Fête du Travail 8 May Victory in Europe Day Victoire 1945 End of hostilities in Europe in World War II moveable Ascension Day Ascension Thursday, 39 days after Easter moveable Whit Monday Lundi de Pentecôte Monday after Pentecost (49 days after Easter) 14 July Bastille Day Fête Nationale National Day 15 August Assumption of Mary to Heaven Assomption 1 November All Saints' Day Toussaint 11 November Veterans Day/Armistice Day/ Remembrance Day Armistice 1918 25 December Christmas Day Noël 26 December St. Stephen's Day Saint Etienne REMARKS End of World War I Observed only in Alsace and Moselle
  • 4. COUNTRY FACTSHEET: FRANCE Salutations For Male: Cher Monsieur Surname Date Format Location, + le + digit + month + year: Eg: Nîmes, le 3 janvier 2007 For Female: Chère Madame Surname Address Format First Name – Last Name Company name House number, + street name Postcode (5 digit) + name of town Country Eg: Anna Dubois Tournax SARL 34, Rue de la Liberté 77550 Moissy-Cramayel FRANCE Dos and Don’ts II When calling in France, at switchboard level DO use your last name rather than your first name (eg, “Bonjour, c’est Madame Dubois de la société Tournax” and not “Bonjour, c’est Anna de la société Tournax”) II DO call contacts by their last name and not first name (M Dubois and not Marc) + using titles wherever possible II The Tutoyer -Vouvoyer distinction (polite/casual conversation): In most French-speaking regions a rigid T–V distinction is upheld. With regard to the second person singular, tu is used informally, whereas vous is used to convey formality. (The second person plural is always vous.) The formal vous is expected when encountering any unknown adult under normal circumstances. In general, the switch from vous to tu is “negotiated” on a case-by-case basis; it can happen nearly unconsciously, or can be explicitly negotiated II The self-derision of English humour doesn’t translate well into French culture so it is best to avoid this type of humour during business communications II French are very tactile and a DM that includes an object or something they can touch and share with colleagues will leave a good impression