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How Can Global Communications Strategies Bridge the Gap Between Western and Eastern Cultures?

15 February 2024 by Max Forsyth


​Hello, everyone! It's Max Forsyth here, MD and Founder of Comms Search & Selection, and in the latest episode of the Comms Coffee Club podcast, I had the pleasure of hosting Stephanie Roberts, a seasoned expert in corporate communications with an impressive career spanning Lochner, Sullair and Hitachi in the US and Japan. Stephanie joined us from Japan, where she has been based for the past two years, and our conversation delved into the complexities of global communication strategies, cultural nuances, and the evolving role of corporate communications in today's interconnected world.

Stephanie Roberts: Bridging Cultures in Corporate Communications

One of the most fascinating aspects of our discussion was Stephanie's take on the complexities of international communications within the manufacturing sector. She underscored the importance of understanding diverse communication channels and cultural considerations when engaging with employees globally. For instance, the preference for specific messaging platforms like WeChat in China or the reliance on email and intranet in other regions requires a tailored approach to ensure effective communication.

Cultural Differences in Employee Engagement

Stephanie highlighted the stark contrasts in employee engagement practices between Eastern and Western cultures. In countries like China and Japan, the value placed on in-person interactions and town halls is significant. Recognising and catering to these unique communication preferences is crucial for any global strategy, especially when considering language barriers and local customs.

External Communication Challenges in Japan

Our conversation also touched on the reactive nature of public relations in Japan, a stark contrast to the proactive media engagement often seen in Western countries. Stephanie emphasised the need for a tailored approach to global communication strategies, taking into account the diverse audience and cultural nuances in each region.

Geopolitical and Societal Influences

We delved into the impact of geopolitical and societal issues on corporate communications, with Stephanie noting the growing expectation for companies to take a stand on various issues, particularly in Western countries. Topics like sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are now at the forefront, with varying degrees of pressure and opposition across different regions.

Global Strategies and Human-Centered Narratives

Stephanie shared that human-centred narratives and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are universally well-received, fostering employee and stakeholder engagement. These strategies transcend cultural boundaries and are a cornerstone of successful global communication.

Cultural Insights and Leadership in Japan

Reflecting on her experiences in Japan, Stephanie discussed the shift towards hybrid working and the challenges it poses for managers. She praised the leadership visibility and openness of her current CEO, highlighting the importance of dialogue and employee feedback in shaping workplace culture.

Listen To The Full Episode

Watch On YouTube

I hope you've found this episode as enlightening as I found my conversation with Stephanie. Her expertise in corporate communications offers invaluable lessons for anyone looking to navigate the global communication landscape with cultural sensitivity and strategic acumen.

Stay tuned for more episodes of the Comms Coffee Club podcast, and don't forget to like, subscribe, and follow for more insights into the world of communications. Comms Search & Selection specialises in executive search and recruitment for the in-house communications industry, serving clients in the UK and the USA. We expertly fill roles from Manager to C-Suite in corporate communications, public relations, internal communications, digital transformation, investor relations, and content strategy. Catering to diverse sectors, including Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 companies and financial and professional services firms, we're the go-to search and recruitment agency for seeking top communications talent. Contact us to secure the industry's best.