Global Leadership Blog

R U Cross Cultural Marketing?

Marketing that appeals across cultures is critically important to the success of your business! Companies have made mistakes in the past, like the infamous “Nova” example with Cheverolet (in Spanish it means “No go”) or the clever HSBC ads which show how cultures have different perspectives and worldviews:


HSBC Ad: Different Perspectives

Colors as well as images have important meanings across cultures. White in parts of Asia means death, while red is considered lucky. The Americas like blue and green while India prefers orange and gold colors.

There was a company who developed their English-speaking website for a 90% American audience using an Irish PR firm. The entire website was done in Irish-English which is very different from what the U.S. culture understands and speaks. The company decided they needed a mascot on their website symbolizing (in their culture) good luck and chose a red beetle with black spots. In the U.S. its called a “ladybug” in Ireland a “ladybird”. After launching the website, the company received 100s of emails saying it misspelled the word! A rather embarrassing cross cultural mistake.

Think about how your global website and brand appears across cultures and you’ll be successful in speaking to the world about your product. Here are some steps to ensure cross cultural sensitivity in your marketing strategy:

1) Leverage cultural groups in your firm. Ask them what they think could appeal across cultures.

2) Bring together a diverse group to intentionally work on a global campaign.

3) Research colors, images, that are appropriate and look at websites across country and cultural locations.

4) Keep it simple and user-friendly across cultures, Apple, Facebook and Google is successful around the world because of their simplicity.

Contact me for more information about how to work successfully across cultures. *protected email* +1-650-283-2765

Melissa Lamson

About The Author

Melissa Lamson, Founder and President of Lamson Consulting, is an author, consultant, and speaker who accelerates the business expansion goals of today’s most successful companies by developing global mindset, refining leadership skills, and bridging cross cultural communication. More About Melissa Lamson