International business: 2 dozen reasons to use corporate cultural diplomacy


By Grant Hall.  Founder of League Cultural Diplomacy

Corporate cultural diplomacy (CCD) is a field of expertise that is undergoing a resurgence.  CCD is nothing new; it has been used by traders since at least the days of the Silk Road.  These days, as businesses are searching intensively for competitive advantages when working in foreign markets, the importance of CCD is being reestablished by culturally intelligent organisations who have found success via the methods that CCD employs.

I wrote in a previous blog about how

Corporate cultural diplomacy is a tool to manage international business relationships and gain influence in foreign markets.

The Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (ICD) put out a paper that I highly recommend you reading titled Benefits for Corporations to Engage in Corporate Cultural Diplomacy.

To summarise, the paper says that corporate cultural diplomacy will:

  1. contribute to your brand image
  2. help you to develop a positive public image
  3. help you espouse corporate brand values
  4. allow you to position your corporate image as an innovator
  5. contribute to your advertising and brand awareness
  6. help you develop your direct and indirect public relations support
  7. increase the efficiency of your advertising budget
  8. increase your level of positive media exposure
  9. allow you to develop partnerships and acquire new strategic partners
  10. contribute to your business performance
  11. help you to acquire new business opportunities
  12. increase business efficiency in the local community
  13. improve access to news and information[1]

Virginia Palm’s Tafter Journal article Future Trends in Cultural Diplomacy adds some more benefits to the list.  To summarise, Palm says corporate cultural diplomacy:

  1. can help you reach out to young people, to non-elites and to a broad audience with a much reduced language barrier
  2. can help to avoid gaffes and missteps
  3. can counterbalance misunderstandings
  4. is usually less costly than traditional advertising which is a one-way communication channel, where cultural diplomacy is a dialogue[2]

In another article, the writer says that CCD will:

  1. help you mobilize grassroots support
  2. help build coalitions
  3. develop advocates for your product or cause
  4. remove potentially damaging misperceptions of one culture or country’s perceived superiority over another[3]

To the above I would also like to add that corporate cultural diplomacy will:

  1. give your business a heightened ability to navigate complex cultural terrain through immersive cultural learning experiences that exceed those provided by books and training courses.
  2. give your business advantageous insights into your target market by allowing your staff to observe and interact with people who live in your target market

Corporate cultural diplomacy will give you business relationships where

  1. you can ask direct questions and receive direct answers from local people in your target market
  2. unintentional cultural faux-pas won’t be misconstrued as rudeness or indications of bad intentions
  3. you have a reservoir of trust that will enable your business relationships to survive bumpy negotiations and cultural differences

So there you go – 2 dozen reasons to use CCD plus 2 more for free!  As you can see, the benefits that corporate cultural diplomacy provides to organisations doing business abroad are highly valuable.

In future blogs I will detail exactly how CCD can be implemented to allow you to access these powerful benefits and show you examples of organisations who have successfully implemented CCD activities.

The above list is in no way exhaustive.  Do you know any more benefits of CCD?  If you do, let’s talk in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out some other posts about CCD

What is Corporate Cultural Diplomacy?

4 steps to use Corporate Cultural Diplomacy

Corporate Cultural Diplomacy and the Magic 5 Ingredients

 Endnotes and sources are on the next page.

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