It's a Small World After All

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By: McClelland Shilling; Public Relations Intern

As the power of technology increases at a staggering rate, the ability to communicate with others is easier than ever before. Not only can we chat with friends, family and colleagues with the push of a button, but we can also talk with people from across the world. Due to this new-found freedom in communication and increased globalization, the brand landscape has completely changed.

Regardless of companies’ size, most brands now have an equal opportunity to conquer new territory in the international market. Prior to the rise of social media and digital streaming, only large multinational companies had the ability to successfully reach global consumers, but this new age of media has eliminated barriers to entry, allowing countless brands to take a swing at global marketing.

With the power of technology continuing to grow and brand globalization growing with it, we can anticipate a shift in culture as well. Some sociologists are predicting that the world is moving closer to a universal culture as a result of cultural diffusion. This idea of cultural diffusion has been around for hundreds of years due to travel and trade, but technology has drastically increased the rate at which this is occurring.

As technology makes the world appear smaller, our audiences only get bigger. We’re able to reach more people than we ever thought possible. This extensive reach brings a new challenge to the table. How can we ensure our messages are being received and understood the way we intended them to be? This is where intercultural communication comes in, and any brand that wants to be successful in the global market will need to have an extensive knowledge of it.

So what can we do to prepare?

1.      Educate. Educate. Educate. It’s crucial that as communicators move forward into this new “melting pot” world, we educate ourselves on cultures unlike our own. This can be as simple as reading a book (I highly recommend “The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer) or striking up a conversation with someone from another country.

2.      Adapt. Adapt. Adapt. We must be willing to meet the needs of our new diverse audience to ensure that nothing gets lost in translation. The world is changing rapidly, and we must be quick to move with it.

This is an exciting time in history as we watch our world become more interconnected than ever before, and it will be interesting to see how communicators and marketers step up to meet the challenge