Cross Cultural Communications

Living in Dubai is one of the few cities in the world where one is able to come close to different cultures and to experience cross-cultural communication on a daily basis.

The UAE hosts over 200 nationalities with which you will eventually interact with in one way or another. Active PR has 10 nationalities on its own, which is not uncommon in the Middle East.

As an Emirati, an expat or a globe-trotter, we soon learn to realize what unites all nationalities and what segregates the population. We share the same country, therefore one may ask, how do we communicate with one another? How do marketeers and PR professionals relay messages that every nationality can relate to?

You may think that humor would be key and is universal, however while one culture may appreciate a joke it is likely that another will not understand its humor or may even get offended. Cultural references don’t translate well!

Nationalism will not bring people closer, cultural sensitivities also need to be kept in check.

So what translates well across borders?

Think of what all humans have in common and all the life experiences that we do share :

Babies : every culture loves its young and youth, all human beings have love and appeal for babies. Why do you think Evian ads are some of the most talked about? They are transcultural!
See Baby & Me, the latest Evian ad:

Relationships : Love, marriage, family. Who in the world cannot relate to at least one of these?
See Chewable Aspirin’s TVC:

Sports : sport has the power to unify a nation in their love of the game. Take the World Cup as an example, while there may be rivalries between nationalities, sports and games still unify people.

Self-image: we all have a self-image and see ourselves as something. We may not relate to others’ but at least we can try to have transcultural interest in the self-image of others.
Life-cycles: we’re all born, live and die. How we deal with it varies, as well as how we live our lives in between but we will always have humanity and mortality in common.
See Sylvania TV commercial in Thailand:

Basic necessities, such as water : Water is a universal experience and we all have the same needs and bodies. It seems to be a common appeal across cultures.

TV commercials and ads from around the world provide some of the best examples of trans-cultural and intercultural themes and communications.

Transcultural communications can be benefitial to humanity by bridging our common traits and experiences. These tips can help any individual to better his or her relations with others, as we all learn to better appreciate our diffferences.