Intercultural brand safety

Intercultural Brand Safety @University of Bremen

Intercultural Brand Safety at University of Bremen

Why is culture relevant for marketing communication? How do you position your brand in markets with different cultural backgrounds? Last week, Consultants Helen Rumpf and Bianca Winterkamp answered these and other interesting questions during a lecture on intercultural brand safety at the University of Bremen. Globeone shared insights into the complex concept of culture, its challenges and opportunities.

Global markets, local challenges

While today’s globalized world offers increasingly more opportunities for companies to act internationally, it comes with challenges. Being present in different countries implies dealing with the challenge of addressing a portfolio of complex customers shaped by their cultural, political and social environment. Addressing, attracting and maintaining this culturally diverse audience offers enormous opportunity for marketing communications.

The risks of cultural ignorance

Having a profound understanding of different aspects of culture is essential for marketing success. This was illustrated through a variety of real-life case studies during the Globeone lecture. One of the most popular examples comes from the Italian luxury fashion Brand Dolce & Gabbana. As part of their “D&G loves China” campaign, the company aired a commercial featuring a Chinese model attempting in vain to eat Italian food with chopsticks. The advertisement quickly led to accusations of Dolce & Gabbana being racist and culturally ignorant. After a large backlash on social media, the company reacted by deleting the video from all of their online platforms. After well-known personalities publicly called for a boycott of the brand, they even cancelled their Shanghai fashion show and publicly apologized.

Cultural understanding and brand knowledge

This example shows that understanding local cultures and their value systems is of critical importance to ensure careful and value-adding marketing communication. Globeone’s Cultural Impact Model incorporates significant key cultural factors to support international brands in their intercultural marketing communication across various digital and social channels and prevent them from touching on culturally sensitive topics.