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Intercultural Communications and Global Business Etiquette

Design, too?

Intercultural communication is not just about spoken and written words; design motifs, colors, and other visual elements can communicate different meanings in different religions, countries and geographic regions, and subcultures and other affinity groups.

What factors to consider?

Localized factors to consider for any market

  • population demographics: age, gender, income, etc
  • national and regional interests and history
  • cultural norms and communication patterns
  • religious culture and ethnic diversity --or not--in market
  • news events or political unrest

And how they play out

  • holidays, observances, and events--are they used appropriately for marketing>
  • packaging, color, scent, and other aesthetic considerations
  • spending priorities


Aspects of ...

The FIT library has many books on doing business with other countries or regions of the world; how to conduct business and expected behavior (e.g. greetings) is often discussed.  Try some of these phrases in OneSearch:

Business anthropology Intercultural communication
Business communication [name of country or region] International business enterprises
Business etiquette [name of country or region]] Management cross-cultural studies
Corporate culture [name of country]or region] Marketing cross-cultural studies.
Cross-cultural orientation Negotiation in business [name of country or region]
Cultural relations


Here are some guide to holidays around the world. Some are "national" but  there are also many other widely observed holidays and observances with historical, religious, cultural, and regional origins. How they are celebrated or commemorated varies widely and this can affect business and personal plans.

For example:

  • Is Memorial Day the beginning of the summer season and an established marketing opportunity or is it a somber commemoration?
  • Halloween: Fun for everyone, or a kids-only celebration, or the eve of a solemn religious occasion, or some combination?
  • Do the symbols of the holiday fit --or not fit--into a advertising or marketing campaign?
  • What about other occasions like beginning of summer vacation or back-to-school? See National Retail Federation : Holiday and Seasonal Trends for U.S. insights.

    Did  you know about Qixi Festival?
    "Happy Qixi Festival. The traditional Chinese holiday, also known as Double Seven or Chinese Valentine’s Day, commemorates the more than 2,600-year-old tale of two star-crossed lovers. It also marks an occasion for luxury brands like Dior and Bulgari to release limited-edition collections, which they began in 2016. This year, brands began advertising dedicated items as early as 1 July. Some, like Valentino’s $1,455 secret gift box, sold out in minutes." (Vogue Business, email newsletter August 7, 2019)
    How Nike commemorated the occasion

Suggested search terms

  • holidays and consumerism globally
  • global beauty consumers holidays
  • [name of holiday or occasion] retail
  • [name of holiday or occasion] marketing
  • [name of holiday or occasion] beauty

Some relevant articles and reports:

  • Books: search OneSearch for
    • Color [or name of specific color] Psychological aspects
    • Color [or name of specific color] Social aspects
    • Symbolism of colors
  • Forecasting services: for formal analysis as well as visual confirmation of how color is represented globally
  • Global magazines: note ads as well as editorial features

Search tips:

  • Color [name of country or culture or religion] e.g. color Chile
  • [specific color] [name of country or culture or religion]  e.g. green Islam

See our related Research Guide:

Have a question or comment about these guides? Contact: