Closing what has been a great year, we are excited to share that Priority expanded our reach and today we have Priority staff members on the ground in 7 Asian countries and 11 cities. We know Asia and understand the nuances of culture and diversity across the region. This in-depth local knowledge and the inherent personal relationships, forms one of the key pillars alongside technical and domain expertise which is the delivery promise we make to our clients every day.
Gathering feedback from the team, we wanted to share a few timely and critical pointers about regional culture and diversity that are highly relevant as organisations are setting out their plans for 2020.
One country has many cultures which impact the business routines so do make sure you know who is celebrating what public holidays. Singapore for example, has cultural public holidays for each racial group – Chinese, Malay and Indian – while Malaysia which is an Islamic country also has a public holiday for Chinese New Year and do it goes on across the region plus each has its own “National Day”.
Ramadhan is a moving feast! More than 25% of the world’s Muslims live in Southeast Asia with Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore accounting for 245 million people who all observe the holy month of Ramadhan. This means no eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset – so not a good time to hold a press activity of office opening – and equally important, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the same time every year because it is a lunar festival and so shifts annually by about a month. Observed as a time of self-purification, spiritual growth, and introspection, the Raya Aidilfitri celebration which follows (think Christmas in the western world) is an excellent time when companies can host their clients and the media as an expression of thanks and build up those vital relationships.
Chinese New Year holds different meanings to different audiences and demonstrating an understanding of this in seemingly simple things allows companies to resonate with Chinese audiences. We know it arrives swiftly after Christmas but a well-worded Chinese New Year greeting will go a very long way. It is also a great time to organise hospitality lunches and even dinners, but do plan well in advance or your media and clients will be fully booked and too well fed! On a real plus side, it is an important tradition that companies all pay their debts before the Chinese New Year – so you need to remember this and the good news is that it works both ways.
It’s also known as Lunar New Year and in Vietnam, it is a week-long close-down and many media representatives use this time to leave the cities and go home. This contrasts to Singapore and Malaysia with just two official public holidays and then business as normal while in China companies can even close for up to two weeks
Knowing the challenges of getting attention from any audience during these holidays, we provide our counsel on the various options of navigating culture and diversity in the region. Sometimes it can be as easy as re-scheduling and re-routing a CEO trip or product launch to make sure it doesn’t land on a public holiday or maybe a press road-show needs to be re-strategised in one particular country for a more holiday-appropriate roll-out. As they say, the devil is on the details and that’s what we do best.