For the past three months I’ve been interning at Paramount Pictures in the International Digital Marketing department. There, the team and myself regulate all international digital activity for 35+ international offices! From France to Serbia, to the Philippines to Brazil we encounter some interesting cultures and viewpoints.
To give a little background about myself – I’m a senior Strategic and Corporate Communication major. My past experience mainly consists of domestic marketing and public relations, so upon starting in the international realm at Paramount the only real interaction I had with other cultures was from my own travels. And it wasn’t until after taking Intercultural Communication with Dr. Sharon Beal, that I was given a true understanding of how other cultures conduct business.
Although EVERYONE in the international business realm speaks English, working with other cultures means working with other norms and communication styles. And as we’ve all seen, collaborating with others who have different perceptions from yours is EXTREMELY hard. One of the hardest challenges I faced occurred while working with one of our international agencies that localize our creative assets (memes, GIFs, stills and AV content), which may be used for social media posts or digital/web advertisements. Some agencies such as MEC or Insight Global are well known international agencies so their way of conducting business is fairly compatible to the American culture, however, there have been some challenges while working with smaller agencies. For our new movie, Baywatch, I was instructed to provide an agency in the South East Asian and Indian market with our creative assets so they could localize them with the correct language translations. To my surprise, the agency responded in a flustered tone and denied our assets, saying their markets would not appreciate their “vulgarity.” Now, as some of you may know the Baywatch brand itself has subjectively been built around the sexualization of the female body. So, as you could guess, the images we provided the South East Asian and Indian markets were no-where near compatible with those cultures’ beliefs. At first, this was hard for me to understand. Coming from a hyper-sexualized culture, the images did not strike me as alarming at all. But, after mowing over the situation with my supervisor we were able to come to an agreement and provided the agency with new assets.
After learning some valuable lessons and gaining some incredible experiences at Paramount, I’ve truly been able to apply what I learned in Intercultural Communication. From working with over 35 different offices internationally, to managing social media accounts for each of those regions, I’ve faced some daunting challenges all while learning some of the most valuable lessons I could have ever asked for. It wasn’t until now that I truly realized the scope of business on the international level, and the patience and courage it takes to tackle it. I encourage you all to internalize the lessons you learn while studying at Chapman – you never know when you may be given the opportunity to apply them…just like me!