Designing Communication across Cultures

Branding Conference "Cross Culture": benefits, values, cooperation are key to success

Stuttgart (Germany), March 24, 2016 – Oliver Hahr from oha communication is not the only one to deal with how brands and people interact across borders. More than 90 experts on brand management and communications came to discuss criteria for success at the conference "Cross Culture" on March 18 in Stuttgart.

“Designers make values ​​visible,” says Christiane Nicolaus, director of the Design Center of Baden-Württemberg, referring to brand values ​​and valuing to connect brands and people. But do globally shared values truly exist? And how can communication be designed in a way that a brand is linked with similar positive experiences around the world?

For Peter Hofelich, state secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economics of Baden-Württemberg, it is clear: certainly some values​​ are understood throughout the world. ‘Made in Germany’, for example, stands for workmanship, quality and increasingly for sustainability and cooperative fairness. Here, a shared understanding of values – across industries, from global players to the middle class – ​​results in a value proposition.

Values ​​are measurable

So common values form the basis? The “Sustainable Apparel Coalition” is now working on their creation – from America to Asia – reports Kjersti Kviseth from 2025 Design for Life Cycles. As a consultant, she supports the clothing industry in defining measurable criteria for sustainability and transparency along the value chain using the so-called “Higg index”.

Numbers make virtues measurable and manageable. And benchmarks and values management pay off, Joachim Schöpfer from Serviceplan Corporate Reputation believes. After all, around a quarter of a company’s turnover depends on its good reputation. And this, in turn, results from a balance of economic strength, future ability and empathy.

Designing benefits

As products are getting increasingly similar regarding their basic functions, values ​​that enhance individual utility are gaining in importance. Gerhard Pfau of IBM Design, Gerhard Krämer from Siemens Healthcare and Nils-Clausen Stuck from designaffairs rely on “Design Thinking”. New solutions are thereby developed in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural teams aiming to achieve the best possible user experience.

Design makes values ​​visible. Yet: To optimize the individual benefit across cultures, adjustments must often be made. International trend and market research helps in positioning in the best possible way in the tension field between standardization and differentiation, says Melanie Hartman, responsible for Strategic Research at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors in Neuss.

In addition, cooperation may be the key to a successful implementation. Stefan Grobe from Defortec and his partners in India and China, for example, help to free products from their country-specific image and make them internationally successful. Iris Laubstein, specialist in design management, gets it to the point: If productivity is the new profitability – is cooperation the new innovation?

Gerhard Pfau from IBM Design sketches how Design Thinking can help to create innovative interfaces that support utility and user experience.
Source: Thomas Simianer for Design Center Baden-Württemberg

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Kjersti Kviseth from 2025 Design for Life Cycles reports on the development of the „Higg index“, with which the „Sustainable Apparel Coalition“ defines measurable criteria for sustainability to create a common value basis.
Source: Thomas Simianer for Design Center Baden-Württemberg

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Cross Culture Branding: More than 90 experts discussed about international brand management and communication on March 18 in Stuttgart. Source: Thomas Simianer for Design Center Baden-Württemberg

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oha communication is a consultancy and agency for international public relations. The team supports companies in attracting the attention of selected target groups, in particular in the fields of design, technology and healthcare. The services include profile development, strategic and country-specific PR advisory as well as the coordination and implementation of PR activities. oha communication was founded in 2007 by Oliver Frederik Hahr and is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.
For more information about oha communication, visit