Variance of Colors Between Cultures, Variance in the Meaning of Gifts

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

And Use of Pre-Tests to Evaluate the Impact and Satisfaction

A further element of symbolic communication is given by the use of colors. The use of colors and the symbolisms associated with colors also vary according to cultures. Let’s see some cases: while in most Western and Arab countries the color white is synonymous with purity, in Japan and other Asian countries white is the color of death and mourning.

Yellow is associated in Western countries with signs of attention, while in China it represents wealth and authority. Purple represents in Latin America a funeral color (death) while in Europe it is associated with royalty, with the precious velvets of the courts. It is not possible in this volume to deal with a scale of associations for each color in each nation, but we underline the need to pay attention to the symbolisms associated with colors, whenever problems arise in the choice of colors and graphics, for example in packaging, gifts. of representation, in objects.

Blue is among the “safest” colors on a cultural level, but practically all colors take on some particular meanings in some countries, such as red, the color of the celebration in China, used in events such as parties, weddings or funerals, orange which in Ireland is the symbol of the Protestant religion, or the color Saffron (light orange tending to peach), sacred color of the Hindu religion.

Even the objects and symbols are not neutral. An Italian company used hand symbols (e.g. an open hand) to create company logos and key rings, producing a wave of protests from Greece (where the open hand symbol is used to offend), while still in other countries of the ‘Latin America retailers refused to display packages containing “ok” symbols in stores because they were considered offensive.

The basic principle to avoid macroscopic errors is the use of the pre-test, the “pilot test” on some subjects, small samples, representative people of the local culture who are able to give feedback on the appropriateness of colors, shapes and symbolisms , of messages, seen from within the culture itself. The pre-test method also applies to the choice of gifts, presents, and any other symbolic action whose impact may vary on a cultural basis.

Intercultural Negotiation Arab Edition

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

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