Creating video content that communicates cross culturally

Table of content
  1. Introduction
  2. The Ideation Stage
  3. The Production Stage
  4. The Distribution Stage
Link Copied!
90 Seconds
1 year ago・6 min read

Crafting content that communicates and resonates with audiences across different cultures in the modern landscape is not only important, it’s essential. Representing different cultures, and ensuring that the creative is relevant, inclusive and engaging to a range of cultures, is key to connecting with international audiences in a powerful, resonating and relevant way. It’s good for your content, good for society generally, and, of course, it’s good business. Here are some tips and tricks to getting it right.

The Ideation Stage

It’s incredibly important to have cross cultural values front and present when you’re in those early stages of brainstorming. What sort of content do you want to create? A case study, an animation, an interview? What are the key cultural considerations you need to factor in? How are the messages, personalities and ideas going to represent different cultures, races, genders and values? Which audiences are you trying to reach, and which audiences are going to see the content? Just because a piece of content isn’t targeting a specific audience, it doesn’t mean they won’t engage and react to it. There are geographical, political and broader societal factors at play, and it’s crucial you think and plan through these considerations early on in the process. Be very proactive and acknowledge the power your piece of content holds in the way it portrays your business, your staff and your customers, as well as the effect it may have on audiences.

WorkGenius wanted to create a multi-location company story video, crossing borders and creating a piece of content that was relevant, powerful and engaging to a wide cultural audience.

The Production Stage

Whether you’re on the shoot or leaving it to other experts, it’s very easy to get caught up in the stress and excitement of the big day and bypass some of the values you highlighted in the ideation stage. In the rush of getting a shot, cutting footage or reacting to shifting external factors it can be very easy to fall back on last minute or impulse decisions that do not represent some of the purposeful decisions you made. Be diligent about the things that matter and create a checklist of the values you’re incorporating into the content, using them as a sense check at each decision and stage of the production process.

IBM creates this series of speaker videos across multiple platforms for their regional social content series, crossing cultural and geographical borders in a single series of videos.

The Distribution Stage

The journey does not end when you’ve crafted your content, because the way you launch it, the places you distribute it, and the mechanics with which you publish are incredibly significant. A superbly conceived piece of content, posted with a caption that doesn’t reflect its true purpose, or used for a channel or audience that does resonate with its cultural themes, is wasted and potentially even harmful to your business. Again, use your checklist. What are you trying to achieve? What missteps do you need to be wary of? How are your values on culture, race, politics, gender and others considerations reflected through the distribution of your content?

With these three stages in mind, here are some of the specific ways you can be conscientious about cultural values into your content, ensuring it speaks to, and resonates with, a global audience.


Creating content that is representative of a society, audience and customer base has never been more important, topical and powerful. It’s incredibly important for a brand to be conscious of the talent they’re using, the messages they’re pushing and the way they’re framing issues and values. If you’re going to create content that communicates cross-culturally, it has to be relevant to and representative of the cultures it is trying to communicate with. Be very diligent about representation in all stages of your ideation and execution. Do your homework on the cultures and values of your demographics, think through the common missteps and potential issues, be proactive about how you represent your brand and ideas, and then ensure these considerations are front of mind in all decisions and stages of the process.


It’s well documented that many audiences digest content without sound, but including captions in your video also ensures that you’ll be able to reach a truly global audience across language barriers. Customizing content to include captions in specific languages, and then distributing that content appropriately, ensures a single video is relevant to more audiences and provides more value to your brand and your customers. It’s particularly important and powerful for regions that speak multiple languages – being able to reach them all with the same video increases reach, minimizes costs associated with production and advertising, and ensures your brand is proactively engaging with the entire audience.

This piece of video content uses captions, local personalities and on-the-ground creatives to launch a new Primark store in a simple, relevant way.


The world of animation opens up lots of opportunities in communicating cross-culturally. Because you have a blank slate, a brand is able to fully embrace values and cultural-specific messaging, creating content that is diverse, regionally-relevant and tailor-made to your audience and needs. Using different languages, capturing colours and themes that resonate with each audience and customizing content so that each version really hits the mark for a specific region is easy when the only tool that stands between you and your many audience segments is an animator. Just remember to incorporate your cultural values; just because it’s animation, it doesn’t mean that representation of race, gender and other cultural values do not matter.

This New Zealand based start-up uses animation to talk to an international audience on their remote teams offering, a business model that is inherently international and cross-cultural.

Shoot Anywhere

Using 90 Seconds Shoot Anywhere opens up thousands of cities and creatives across the globe to your business, and this has huge potential for a business trying to create cross-cultural content. As well as being able to actually capture content that reflects the many locations and cultures of your audience, it also means you can lean on the cultural know-how and lens of the creatives themselves, ensuring it’s authentic and accurate. It’s one thing to try and incorporate cultural factors into your content, but it’s also a path that can be dangerous, as it can ring fake and appear to be done for the sake of it; actually engaging with creatives on the ground, shooting locally and incorporating the expertise and insights of those within a culture is the fastest route to genuine, considered content that achieves its objectives.

A co-branded campaign between TripAdvisor and Dubai Tourism seeks to leverage local icons, personalities and businesses for an international audience.

Working & Producing Together

The intuitive one-stop platform that is 90 Seconds also streamlines the ability to work and collaborate with an international team. As well as simplifying the process of actually shooting in international locations, it also assists in the ideation and distribution of your culturally diverse and relevant content – you can collaborate with people all over the world, ensuring your ideas are well-conceived and representative, and then edit and distribute your content in ways that really highlights your objectives and values.