Cross-Cultural Communication in PR

by Michele Fowler

This month’s feature article is by the Digital School of Marketing and it explores the concept of cross-cultural communication in PR. There’s a particularly great video embedded halfway through the article that we recommend watching too! Cross-cultural communication can take on many different forms, and it is without a doubt a skill that everyone needs to embrace and continue to grow throughout their careers, no matter the sector.

In communications in particular, I’d like to share an experience I recently had with cross-cultural communications. In my role as a marketing manager with Explore Edmonton, we were in the process of putting together a video for marketing purposes and we wanted to work with the Indigenous community on it. In particular, we wanted to work with an Elder as there was a large storytelling component to the video that focused on Edmonton’s history as a meeting point along the North Saskatchewan River. Through our research, we found the Elder in Residence from the Edmonton Public Library, Nokom Jo-Ann Saddleback, and approached her to be the narrator of our film. She gladly accepted over email, however, we learned that when working and negotiating with Elders, many protocols must be followed as a sign of respect for their knowledge and time that they devote back to their community.

It didn’t matter how much additional research and consulting with our Indigenous Relations Specialist my colleague and I did before we met with Nokom Jo-Ann, the meeting still ended up being a bit clunky and there were aspects of the protocol we did not quite get right. Nokom Jo-Ann was still patient with us and understanding and I believe this is largely what cross-cultural communication is about—taking the time to learn from one another and recognizing that mistakes are likely to be made; patience and a commitment to learning are key. I hope this is one of the many takeaways you walk away with after reading this short and fun article on cross-cultural communication.

Please enjoy the video here !

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