One size fits all?

Working with a one-size-fits-all global culture certainly does not mean that this corporate culture is implemented the same way everywhere.
A person’s background and culture determine how they deal with problems. Culture is how we take things for granted, which is someone’s unquestionable truth. And here, the truth is in the eye of the beholder.

Understanding how people from different backgrounds interpret the same corporate culture can help you look at conflicts more broadly. Or to bear in mind how potential customers read your marketing message.


Culture Insights

If you don’t ask, it’s not important

A mechanical engineering client works abroad with local trading partners and agents. From their global marketing website, potential customers can contact these local representatives of the company. The head office in the Netherlands expected the partners to report these leads and follow them up.

In quite a few countries, results fell well short of expectations. Some local partners never reported a lead. It was striking that in countries with a stronger hierarchical culture, leads were the smallest in number, while these were countries with a larger target group.

Once it became clear that this was probably a cultural difference, we started asking more questions. In the culture of these countries, if you don’t pay attention to something, it means it’s not important. And if HQ is not paying attention to leads, you don’t have to do anything.
Now that the cause of lagging leads is clear, leads and follow-ups are actively asked every month. This led to a 17% increase in sales.

Sales & Marketing

Cultural differences also come into play in digital marketing. Often, as a company, you create one or more websites and, if all goes well, tailor them to target audiences as much as possible. The biggest challenge here is trying to bridge cultural differences.
This is always tricky. No one can step out of their cultural background, and we are absolutely unaware of most of our cultural idiosyncrasies.
That is why some companies that can afford it work with local marketing agencies. That is usually the best way. But then be aware that the cultural differences between you and the agency may still play a role in your working relationship.


Make use of analytics data. It is collected the same way everywhere, whether you are in the Netherlands, France, or the UK. Make use of cultural segments.
The new challenge you now have is to analyze this data from different cultural backgrounds. By analysing the data from cultural backgrounds, you get different insights into culturally determined behaviour. And you can take these insights into account when creating new marketing campaigns..