What can brands do to improve and harness cultural diversity?

On this year’s UN World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue – celebrated last weekend, 21st May – Freedman’s strategy director Matthias Gray explores the makeup of cultural diversity, covering the four main types of diversity, and the role it plays in effective brand communications and in wider social cohesion.

The UN describes cultural diversity as ​​“a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.”

It goes on to say that cultural diversity is “an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development” and that “acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity… are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding’.

Brands play a pivotal role in promoting cohesion and understanding. When done right, their work can bring people together. Understanding and respecting cultural diversity and applying this knowledge and insight into how a brand communicates is a first and pivotal step to positively contributing to this movement.

When looking at the tapestry of cultural diversity, it’s important to understand the pillars that make up diversity. There are four main types of diversity to consider:

1.Internal diversity

This relates to characteristics a person has which they cannot control, for example race, ethnicity, age, physical ability, assigned sex, mental ability.

2. External diversity

These are factors heavily influenced by others and their surroundings, for example personal interests, appearance, education, location, religious beliefs.

 3. Organisational diversity

This covers differences between people assigned to them by an organization/workplace, for example job function, place of work, management status, and pay type.

4. Worldview diversity 

This final type brings together elements of all three which shape a person’s worldview. This changes over time, evolving with the different experiences we have with others and our continuous learning about ourselves, including political beliefs, moral compass, outlook on life and epistemology.

 Each type contributes the make-up of cultural diversity on a societal and individual level, and each plays an essential role in understanding and relating to different people around the world. Taking time to gather these insights puts a brand in a strong position to be a driving force for cultural diversity, using their platform across markets for good, and building invaluable, authentic connections with local audiences.

 At Freedman we work closely with brands to understand and nurture cultural diversity through insights which can be used to shape the creative direction of campaigns and refine communication across multiple markets. 

Using a network of cultural experts across over 95 countries, we explore cultural insights which give brands a unique advantage and enables them to effectively build their brand and connect with local audiences in a meaningful way. From local insights to ensure cultural relevance remains a key driver in the development of localisation strategies and the creative direction of a campaign, we also check the cultural competence of a campaign idea to ensure its not only culturally relevant but compliant to the local markets advertising regulations and consistent to the brands core tone of voice, personality and identity. 

Finally, we have in-house creative adaptation, brand guardian and production teams who work with global and local brand teams to create assets across all media platforms including TV, Digital, Social, DOOH, OOH to ensure the campaigns land effectively and are on point for every market. This all contributes to the successful global expansion of a brand across multiple markets. With over 30 years’ experience working with a variety of global brands, we understand what it takes to look after a brand internationally. At Freedman we believe brands who respect local culture are more successful around the world. 

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