Tag Archives: advisory board

[French] Interview with Fons Trompenaars

Our renowned advisory board member answers cross-cultural comms questions with years of experience and key insights.


Creative Culture is very proud to count Fons Trompenaars as one of its Advisory Board members. He is one of the leading figures in the world when it comes to cross-cultural management.

He has spent over 30 years helping Fortune 500 leaders solve and manage their business and cultural dilemmas to increase global effectiveness and performance.

Fons is internationally recognised for his work as a consultant, trainer and motivational speaker. He is the author of various books, including “Riding the Waves of Culture, Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business” which sold over 120,000 copies and has been translated into 16 languages.

Fons is regularly listed as one of the world’s most influential management speakers and has been awarded various prestigious international prizes for his work. He has been featured in Thinkers50, the well-known global ranking of management thinkers, since 2011 and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2017. This Hall of Fame salutes people  who have made a lasting and vital impact on how organisations are led and managed.

Today, Fons is sharing his thoughts on cross-cultural communications.

CC: Looking at the next ten years, what do you see as the key cultural challenges multinational companies will face in the future?

FT: I see two major challenges:

  1. There are ever-increasing definitions of diversity. Once, diversity could easily be categorized by nation, religion, gender, age groups.  Here’s an example: I was in Miami a couple of weeks ago and I saw a sign that read “We speak English here”.  However, this isn’t true, as plenty of people in Miami speak Spanish. Another example:  52% of people living in Amsterdam don’t have Dutch parents. We need to know these things and approach them appropriately to avoid all the wars we have around us – wars of religion, wars of cultural differentiation, gender, and generation. We have ways to digitally support cross-cultural communications. It is a complex challenge; for example, if a young Ghanaian male is talking to an older American female – what might cause a problem within their communications?  We need to reveal the dynamics between national culture, generation and gender. We need greater insights as to how to deal with those different categories and identities around the globe. We can’t do this with a ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’ mentality. Instead, we need to pay attention to segmenting target audiences and better understanding their behaviours.
  2. We need to get rid of the idea that opposite value sets are mutually exclusive. They can co-exist provided that multicultural teams know how to understand various values and perspectives. Dilemma thinking and learning to combine these sets of values is the future. While it can be perceived as counter-intuitive because it challenges our instincts, it is very effective in the multi-cultural environments that we have created.

CC: Why did you decide to join the Advisory Board of CC?

FT: The Advisory Board is composed of really interesting people, with great experience at an international level. I was also keen to offer some of my insights and experience to a younger player in the cross-cultural communications field. The more we are to raise awareness about the challenges and opportunities in the market, the better multinational companies will handle these subjects in the future.

CC: When you look at your own industry, organisation, career or clients – where do you feel the greatest potential lies to improve the understanding of cross-cultural communications?

FT: We need to be further aware of how much we are tunnelling ourselves in culturally biased models and paradigms. We need to go beyond them and apply dilemma thinking to all disciplines in which cultural differences play a role.

CC: What would you like to see the Advisory Board develop further and how might it add more value?

FT: A keen interest in developing CC as applying new ways of thinking in the international marketing and communication arena.

CC: From your own perspective, what would be the 3 do’s and don’ts of cross cultural communications?



  1. Self-awareness: we are all full of cultural biases and it is only by being conscious of them that we can be successful in a cross-cultural environment
  2. Intercultural competence development based on dilemma reconciliation (and combining opposite sets of values)
  3. Implementing implicit processes in organisations in order to communicate at a higher level (like combinations of high and low context approaches)


  1. One-way communication: sharing opposite values and point of views are the key to successful relationships
  2. Keeping cross-cultural intelligence at the conceptual level: practice makes perfect
  3. Practicing based on gut feel and ignoring basic theories

[French] Interview with Robin Jaffray

Creative Culture Podcast

In this episode of the Creative Culture podcast, we interview Robin Jaffray, a member of the CC Advisory Board. Robin is the Director, Ammunition Strategy. He provides his insights into the cross-cultural communications industry.

[French] Insights from Claire Randall


Creative Culture is delighted to count Claire Randall among its Advisory Board members. She joined at its inception in July, 2018. 

Claire is the Founder and CEO of Claire Randall Consulting (CRC), a global production consultancy with its headquarters in London.

Claire started out as a TV Producer at Saatchi and Saatchi London. In 1996 she formed the company to manage all TV production for Mars Europe, across all categories, on an exclusive basis. Mars is still one of CRC’s longest standing clients.

In 2000, CRC extended its coverage to the US and over the years has expanded into Asia Pac and the Middle East. CRC now works with a wide range of advertisers including adidas, McDonalds, Kellogg’s, Axa and Beam Suntory, helping them manage their production needs across broadcast, digital, print and radio.

Claire is a well-known figure in the industry, consulting and advising for industry bodies such as ISBA (Incorporated Society of British Advertisers), the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) and the ANA (Association of National Advertisers).

Today, Claire is sharing her thoughts on the cross-cultural communications industry.

Looking at the next ten years, what do you see as the key cultural challenges brands and agencies will face in the future? 

As content is expected to travel across more media touchpoints and extend to more markets (in order to maximise ROI on production costs) and the controls on this media are less stringent in terms of legal approvals and brand guardianship than TV, brands will struggle to control the content and in turn its relevance to local markets.

In addition, as advertisers force agency networks to close their local offices due to cost and centralise the localisation in London or Paris for eg – I question how strong the capabilities are for true cultural transcreation in some of these network production facilities. 

The ecosystem is so fragmented and the consumer has a shorter and shorter attention span, brands in general are struggling to deliver the sheer volume of content (in multiple formats) required, let alone ensure it’s culturally relevant.

Influencers – big challenge for brands to find relevant influencers in market who are vetted – big risk area for many brands.

Why did you decide to join the Advisory Board of CC? 

I don’t think there is enough focus on cultural relevance in advertising, which is actually critical to any campaign created for more than one market. You hear a lot about transcreation and versioning but I’m not sure that many of these companies that offer this service are actually checking cultural relevance as well as transcreation of copy. I think that advertisers assume this is part of the process but I’m not sure it’s consistent.

As a Company that works with many global advertisers, I thought I may be able to help highlight the importance of this function. I also thought I may be able to offer insight to CC on the challenges for large global advertisers. Finally, as a small, women-owned business myself, I wanted to support another one!

When you look at content production for example – where do you feel the greatest potential lies to improve the understanding of cross-cultural communications? 

I think the importance of companies like Creative Culture having a seat at the table when creative is first developed is critical. There are many times where we have seen supposedly ‘global’ scripts that have included dialogue or scenes that clearly would not work in certain markets. Often the lead creative agency is based in somewhere like NYC, where they have no understanding of localisation or local market challenges. If the agencies don’t have the capabilities or local office infrastructure to assess the viability of an idea and how it might travel, having a resource like Creative Culture to sense check creative / messaging is very valuable.

I think this is where the greatest potential lies – in making creative agencies aware of this resource that would allow them to pair down their own local resources and outsource to CC, in the face of their fees being challenged.

For the brands, perhaps it is consultants like us who make advertisers aware that this capability exists ?

What would you like to see the Advisory Board develop further and how might it add more value?

Sounds obvious but a way to ensure brands and agencies are aware of the risks of NOT having a process for this.

I think the greatest potential for growth for Creative Culture lies in partnering especially with creative agencies without a network, creative agencies that have a network but may have had to reduce their local teams due to fee pressure and with ‘in-house’ agencies.. 

From your own perspective, what would be the 3 do’s and don’ts of cross cultural communications?


  1. Do ensure campaign ideas are sense checked for local market viability prior to presenting them to the client.
  2. Do engage specialists, not just in translation but in real transcreation, otherwise all those months of campaign development and production spend could be wasted and even worse, could damage the brand’s credibility.
  3. Do audit campaigns retrospectively to ensure the messaging was on brand and relevant and what could have been improved.


  1. Don’t - assume anything – check that this is a key focus and someone is responsible for it at the agency or that you have taken direct control of this area.
  2. Don’t -  ignore the importance of this – poor ill considered communication could have a lasting and negative impact on your brands reputation in any market. Authenticity is key.
  3. Don’t - forget that communication is often global even when its not intended to be so because of the nature of communication today.