What is cross-cultural communication in PR?

DSM Digital School of Marketing - cross-cultural communication

The term ‘cross-cultural communication’ refers to the communication which takes place between people who are different in any one of the following examples:

  • Working styles,
  • How old they are,
  • The country that they come from,
  • What their cultural background is,
  • What race they are,
  • What gender they are, as well as
  • What their sexual orientation is.

Cross-cultural communication can also refer to the attempts which are made in order to exchange, negotiate as well as mediate cultural differences by using of language, gestures in addition to body language. It is the manner in which people belonging to different cultures communicate with each other.

The role of cross-cultural communication in PR today

Effective cross-cultural communication is crucial for today’s globalised business community. This is especially true in the world of PR, where words can make or break the success of a company’s media outreach efforts.

PR is a communication-driven profession that deals with people living in various countries with diverse cultures. It is important that PR professionals have the capacity to deal with their foreign counterparts and be able to implement successful PR campaigns that will appeal to those in their respective countries.

The PR industry has the responsibility of creating as well as maintaining relationships between clients in addition to customers. By using areas such as brand management, advertising, media relations as well as crisis management, PR practitioners look to foster interest, trust as well as belief in a product or company.

Cross-cultural variances can be responsible for making or breaking a PR campaign. This means that it is crucial for PR practitioners, who are dealing with PR campaigns which incorporate a cross-cultural element, perform a thorough analysis of likely cross-cultural differences.

The power of culture

Culture is a powerful factor that provides a foundation for which our worldviews are shaped. When people take on the challenge of working across borders, misunderstandings can arise, sometimes without knowing that culture is a central factor.

There are six patterns in cultural differences that are important to keep in mind when communicating in PR. These include:

  1. Different communication styles,
  2. Attitudes towards conflict,
  3. Approaches to completing tasks,
  4. Decision-making styles,
  5. Attitudes towards disclosure, and
  6. Approaches to knowing (epistemologies).

Although all of these can play a factor in PR interactions, differences in communication can be particularly problematic as it is far more complicated than a simple language barrier. This is because the use of phrases, non-verbal communication, norms of assertiveness, and sense of time also required to be taken into consideration.

By analysing these behaviours we will be able to expect with reasonable accuracy how people will react to us and how we should approach them. Understanding the nuances and intricacies won’t happen overnight, however. After all, think about how long it takes us to be socialized in our own communities to know how to speak and interact with others?- People study for years in order to truly understand the intricacies of culture.

We all engage in acts of communicate every single day in a number of different ways. Thus, it’s easy to be blasé about it as a professional discipline. However, PR is a fine art. It should influence without force and persuade without coercion. Being clear, precise and respectful should be our number one priority when engaging beyond borders. That’s when positioning and profiling results in changed perception and effective persuasion.

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DSM Digital School of Marketing - Public Relations