Language & culture: Two keys to global digital engagement strategy

By Thibaud Guymard

In recent years, global digital engagement strategies have become critical for pharmaceutical companies operating all around the world. Global strategies need to fit each company’s culture, vision and purpose as well as their specific brands’ characteristics. And whilst digital channels have changed much about the dynamics of communication, digital engagement must be aligned with how the company already interacts with their stakeholders and its overall brand values.

Local insights for global success

Global strategies mean global challenges. I will not cover all of them in this article but I will take a brief look at two keys: language and culture.

To make sure that your global strategy will successfully connect with local markets, you need to understand both the culture of these markets and the impact that languages will have on reaching your customers or stakeholders. Indeed, insights from the ground are a key element to really understanding those with whom you hope to interact, and should have a significant impact on how your global strategy will be implemented in each market in order to achieve the best outcomes.

As a global consultancy with specialists on the ground in over 20 countries, Creation Healthcare’s experience working on international projects confirms how important it is to understand and use local insights to inform global strategy. Awareness of, and sensitivity to, cultural diversity across a region is best achieved when our international team collaborates to develop a complete picture that puts customer behaviour into context. The result for our clients is significantly improved outcomes from relevant engagement.

Understand diversity across countries

The European Union is a great example of a territory that has multiple languages and cultures. So, when it comes to developing a regional strategy in such a complex territory, it is crucial to understand the diverse needs of customers and stakeholders in each country. Furthermore, an excellent knowledge of your stakeholders’ behaviour or reaction to health issues or specific disease areas is fundamental.

Different cultures, different platforms

The language and cultural background against which your communication initiatives are carried out will have a significant impact the way your customers receive your message. The culture of a particular population will affect the kinds of digital environments where they engage, and the way they interact with each other.

So for example, whilst many people are using famous social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, the best platform for engagement will also depend on the kind of health topic you want to address and the likely response to this amongst stakeholders. Understanding how and where people are communicating in any language or culture about the topics you want to engage around will help you to choose the most appropriate channels for each, with a big impact on the success of your strategy.

So global strategy development needs local input at an early stage, to ensure relevance and well-targeted engagement in all the regions where you are looking to make a measurable and significant impact.

From local to global strategy, to local implementation

This thorough approach to developing global strategy means that ultimately, local implementation will be much more efficient both internally and externally. Indeed, it will be simple for managers at every level of the implementation to understand the big picture and to see how it applies to their own cultural environment. Here again, we see why languages and cultural diversity have to be taken into account to make the most of your global strategies.

Whilst many other aspects will affect your global strategy development, the challenges of language and culture are the two most significant factors in bridging the gap between your strategy and your stakeholders across diverse countries, to achieve your goals.

Creation Healthcare is a global consultancy working with business leaders in the world’s largest healthcare companies and organizations. To find out how our local insights can inform your international engagement strategies, please contact us now.


View all articles >

Meet the Author

Thibaud Guymard