Self-reference criterion occurred when the Vicks company wished to expand its product line to Germany. Based on research prior to introduction, the company discovered that in the German language, Vicks was equivalent to the sound of a slang word of a sexual nature. The name change to Wicks was acceptable and successful.
Self-reference criterion refers to the application of a cultural viewpoint to values held in another culture when designing strategies to use in a foreign market. Self-reference criterion is another way of expressing ethnocentrism. Identifying and addressing the cultural differences and measuring those differences from a viewpoint based on a foreign country's life experience and is essential to a successful business exchange.
Contracts are a common and accepted way of doing business in the United States. In Egypt, however, agreements are verbal, and a business contract offends a Muslim businessman by suggesting that his intentions are not honorable.
In 2010, Forbes magazine listed Cleveland as the most miserable city in which to live, especially in winter. This evaluation is an example of self-reference criterion based on the researcher's opinion and conceptions about life in that city. Based on weather-biased assumptions rather than in terms related to crime and unemployment, for example, Cleveland is most likely not at the top of a "most miserable places to live" list.