Presentation is everything to a Thai
Thais are always impressed by outward show. It creates a big impact on them. Substance is secondary. The car you drive, the designer clothes you wear; all are important to a Thai. More so than many other nationalities.
It’s a way of showing your position in society. Thais need to know where they stand in relation to you. Are you “better” than they are? Are you a social inferior? Partly a karmic conception, inequality is accepted by the Thai. It has no unacceptable undertones as in the West. Rewards and a higher station come in the next life.
Pictures of show houses for sale on a moobaan (gated housing community) are nothing like what you see or will actually get if you buy. Thais excel at marketing because they can let their creativity run riot. Truth and accuracy are not too important. While marketing is their forte, management is their Achilles heel.
Thais do not learn easily from their mistakes or from the experience of others. They learn by rote and by copying. They like to stick with what they already know. Accepting they are wrong or even learning something new can feel like losing face.
That’s one reason they rarely apologise directly. Thinking for oneself is secondary to doing as an elder or more senior person tells you.
A good example of that occurred this morning. I needed to renew my internet virus protection. There was a great webpage detailing all the improved features of the new version, its advantages, and its superiority over the competition. Good marketing.
It was when it came to buying the product that the trouble started. In order to buy the software, you need to enter a code that is obtained from an email the supplier sends you. I tried several times to explain that I could not order because I had not been sent the code.
Two hours later and still no code. I tried to purchase without the code, ignoring the website instructions, and I eventually downloaded the product.
The website instructions were wrong. No code was needed. However, the Thais will not correct the webpage. That would mean someone would have to be blamed, and that is not a choice that Thais like to take. It is a “correct” cultural response as no one will lose face, but it is poor management.
The impressive marketing hype will remain. Management won’t get involved or change the instructions.
Conflict and blame will be avoided.