Tag Archives: Culture

Belgian Consumers – Dos & Don’ts

Creative Culture Podcast

In this episode of the Creative Culture podcast, Anna Johnson takes us through the 'dos and don'ts' of marketing to Belgian consumers.

ICCO & Creative Culture’s International Business Handbook

ICCO Image

Together with ICCO (International Communications Consultancy Organisation), we've produced the PR International Business Handbook: The PR Practitioner's Guide to International PR. Inside this robust handbook, find hot campaigns across the world and insights on global markets.

To see the whole handbook, head here.

Ringi-sei: The Japanese art of negotiation


Did you know… that Japanese companies’ decision-making processes follow a method called ringi-sei, in which everyone who will be affected by the proposed changes needs to give his or her seal of approval? As a culture, the Japanese value hierarchy and collectivism, so it’s no surprise that it’s engrained in the work place as well. In order for a proposal to be considered and accepted, it must go through the following steps:

Started from the bottom…

A draft proposal, called a ringi-sho, will first be presented by the creator for peer review. It must then be stamped with the hanko (the Japanese equivalent of a signature) of each of the employees in his or her team. Following final checks and a unanimous consensus, the draft is then submitted up the rank. This process must then be repeated throughout each of the subsequent ranks, until it finally reaches the top.

The project in question can only be launched if and when the parties agree. If, at any time during the project, something needs to be renegotiated with the client, the ringi-sei will need to be repeated.

For Western companies, this can seem like a tedious process. In fact, the long deliberations involved in ringi-sei can sometimes cause these companies to withdraw the offer or the negotiations, assuming that the lack of feedback or response signals that the Japanese companies are not interested in the business. But it’s important to have unlimited patience with this slow communication, because the process is an integral part of negotiating in the Japanese culture.

In order to ensure the process moves as smoothly as possible, Creative Culture linguist Tomoki Minohara encourages Western companies to ensure their collaterals are translated into Japanese.

According to his insight, most Japanese companies looking to import Western products will leave the negotiations to their English-speaking employees. However, these employees tend to lack any decision-making power, so anything that’s discussed with the client will have to be sent up the chain of command. Therein lies the problem: oftentimes, the decision makers don’t speak foreign languages. If a Western company is proactive enough to translate their collaterals, they will speed up the deliberation process by providing materials that the buyers can understand. Perhaps more importantly, this gesture will come across as a sign of respect to the prospective client, and the Japanese market as a whole. In a culture where brand identity is very important, this is a sure-fire way to ensure success on the market and gain consumer loyalty.

To read Tomoki’s thoughts in full, click here.

Hasbro creates Millennial Monopoly

Millennial Monopoly

Talking about localisation... In late 2018, toy and board game company Hasbro released a new edition of their famous game, Monopoly. Rather than following their normal process of focusing on pop-culture themes like Friends and Game of Thrones, the company decided to take a different approach by focusing on a group of people – millennials. Chock-full of stereotypes, the board game sells experiences in lieu of real estate because, boldly stating ‘Forget real-estate. You can’t afford it anyway’.

When news of the new edition hit the media, its target audience received the news with mixed emotions, with many saying that the game was out of touch and off the mark. However, Hasbro told CNN that, “With many of us being millennials ourselves, we understand the seemingly endless struggles and silly generalisations that young millennials can face (and we can't even!) so we created the game to provide fans with a lighthearted experience that allows millennials to take a break from real life and laugh at the relatable experiences and labels that can sometimes be placed on them."

Whether or not they achieved their goal remains to be seen, but with the game selling out in the lead-up to the holiday season, it certainly got people’s attention.

Click here to check out another brand's population-focused campaign.