While launching Coke in Cuba, they showed a lithograph of Bull-fighting. It backfired and affected the brand because bullfighting is illegal in Cuba. This highlights the importance of understanding the culture of the geographical area the brand is dealing with. While Coke was creating a mainstream ad campaign; it also applies while handling the social media of the foreign clients. The main purpose of any brand to have its presence on social media is to connect with their customers / users. Unlike the direct advertising techniques that focus only on sales or brand recognition, social media is used to engage people with the brand, increase the presence as well as connect with the potential customers.
While it’s comparatively easy to create and execute campaigns for a local, and/ or national clients, it’s not the case with brands with completely different geographic & cultural demographics. Along with many other factors that need to be taken into consideration, analysing the cultural nuances is very important. Below mentioned are some points that need to be kept in mind while designing the communication strategy.
Most of the brands communicate in English with their customers, however, understanding the local language is equally important because a particular word in one language might mean totally different in the other. E.g. Gift in English means Poison in German!
Taboos & symbolisms
This one is a real sensitive issue as it directly relates to the religion and native traditions. And if touched the wrong chord, it affects the brand in a very negative way. E.g. Heineken beer had printed flags of participating countries in a soccer tournament. But it faced a lot of criticism from Saudi Arabians because their flag displays text from the Quran – a religious text that prohibits consumption of alcohol. Thus, a keen awareness is needed while creating the content.
Religious & National Festivals
Customers feel valued when the brands wish them on their special occasions and festivals. Therefore, it’s very important for a person / company to be aware of the festivals and national days of the country they are handling digital marketing for. Eg. Diwali in India, Cinco De Mayo in Mexico, Jamhuri Day in Kenya and so on. Along with these, being updated on the current news also helps in reactvertising for the brand.
Music, literature, and colours
Music and literature play an important role when establishing a connection between the brand and the customers. The popularity and relevance of music and pop arts improve the engagement of the social media channel of the brand. The meaning of colours differs according to the regions. For eg- Red is considered auspicious in India, but in South Africa, it is a colour of mourning! Using appropriate colours in the creatives for the brand is hence, very important.