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Cultural Differences to Consider When Delivering Events in APAC

Cultural Differences to Consider When Delivering Events in APAC

Events need to be as varied and diverse as the region itself

The APAC region is a diverse and unique one, made up of various cultures, traditions, and languages. This makes the brand experience category here an interesting and exciting one, to say the least.

The main thing I’ve learned during my time in Asia more specifically is that it’s important to understand that there are a lot of countries and cultures that make up this region. Even within China, there are many different cultures, and then there are countries like Hong Kong and Singapore, which are more westernised. As a result of these differences, many western brands eager to enter the Asian market select Singapore as their first port of call.

Adopting a Multicultural Lens

In order to deliver memorable brand experiences that resonate with local audiences, I tend to take a step back, change my perspective, and look at the world through their eyes. It’s about viewing things through multiple cultural lenses, not just my own.

For example, the expectations a potential or existing client will have a business meeting — let alone an event — will be vastly different in China and Singapore. When I am in these cross-cultural meetings, I’ve learned that I need to try and stand in the cultural shoes of whichever country I am in, and I really go out of my way to understand them.

Make a point to learn about the local culture and do the research and preparation that is needed to understand it a little better — it’s a must if you want to make a good impression.

Developing Cross-Cultural Teams

Thanks to technology and globalisation, we are more connected than ever. Teams in one country can communicate with teams in another with a simple call or email, making way for the cross-cultural team.

I believe this is where true success lies if you want to crack the event industry in the APAC region and beyond. The secret to creating these teams? It’s important to ensure your people have experience working in a particular region, are born there, or have spent time there.

What Consumers Want

I’d say the biggest challenge for us in APAC is finding new ways to engage audiences, which is why we need to come up with inventive ways to tap into things like mobile devices — which we all rely on so heavily — and incorporate them into our events.

Things like second screen technology, which promote active discussion and polling in real-time are a great solution, as they allow audiences to interact with what’s happening live in front of their eyes. I am also seeing that delegates are looking to communicate with their peers in more collaborative ways at events, so we’re facilitating opportunities for things like roundtable discussions, and introducing sessions where delegates can suggest the topics they wish to discuss.

While the world is made up of many different cultures, at the end of the day brand experience plays the same important role – it has the ability to connect people in meaningful ways, which is why marketers all over the world are incorporating the medium into their marketing mix. To truly maximise an event’s potential, we need to adopt a more cross-cultural, strategic approach, ensuring it is memorable and measurable and extends far beyond the live experience itself.

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Peter Fulcher-Meredith

Director of Communication & Strategy, Singapore

Peter works in collaborative partnership with his clients, operating as an extension of the client’s marketing team, providing added value, strategic thought leadership.

He is passionate about co-creating brand stories with his clients using a myriad of communication platforms.  Digital, online,...

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