Communicating With Your Audience in Their Culture

To communicate effectively we need to already have some areas of commonness between us.  Culture is one of those areas.   When facilitating virtual teams or in local cross-cultural contexts, I sometimes underestimate the differences between cultures.  It’s easy to auto-pilot into my culture’s way of doing things.  And, that’s not always a good thing.

Culture and Commercials

Through the Twitter serendipity connections engine, I came across a Japanese car commercial, promoting the 2014 Mercedes GLA car.  It’s definitely “different”, from my perspective.  Here’s the 30 second clip:

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Would this commercial connect with a Western audience?  

This next video clip is for the same Mercedes GLA product; except marketed for an American audience:

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Two very different commercials.  Each are nifty.  Each target a specific audience, and set of cultural preferences.  Somehow, I can’t imagine the Japanese version winning over well-healed Americans considering the Mercedes brand.  And, I suspect there’s a parallel doubt, going the other direction.

How might those cultural differences play out in our communications, in a conversation, meeting or team, involving American (or Canadian) and Japenese personnel?  And, especially in a virtual context; e.g., high-context communications in a low-context virtual world.

Robin Williams on Sesame Street on Conflict (and Culture?)

A few years back, Robin Williams (we’ll miss you), with the help of the Two-Headed Monstor, did a Sesame Street 2-minute skit explaining “conflict”.  It’s entertaining, and instructive.  I’ve used the piece numerous times, including in cross-cultural conflict management workshops I do for a local inter-cultural association.    Cross-species(?) cultural conflict. 🙂  Here’s that clip:

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A few examples of message and medium, working together.   And, communicating with your audience, in their culture.  

Have you ever underestimated your commitment to ‘their’ culture?

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