Metropolitan GroupPR pros know: it’s sometimes tough to communicate with members of cultures that are largely unfamiliar with your brand and its message.

The Metropolitan Group, a firm with offices in several cities across the U.S., describes itself as “a social change agency” combining “communications strategy with social good to create a more just and sustainable world”. One of its specialties is multicultural/cross-cultural communications services.

Today we bring you our take on a list of eight tips for engaging multicultural audiences via the group’s president and founder, Eric Friedenwald-Fishman.

He advises communications pros working on multi-cultural campaigns to:

1. Check all assumptions at the door. One can’t assume that cultural values/beliefs are universal, and miscommunication can lead to disasters no matter how good your intentions. Friedenwald-Fishman writes of a Portland-based public health campaign to lower infant mortality rates among low-income women by improving their healthcare knowledge:

 “Turns out that these women already knew how to have healthy pregnancies but lacked support from male partners in making changes necessary for healthy babies. So instead, health officials developed a campaign targeting men and infant mortality among these groups declined.”

 2. Do your homework. This is an obvious step too often overlooked by ambitious communicators. Friedenwald-Fishman writes: “The more you learn about the specific communities you want to engage, the more specific and effective your communication and outreach strategies can be”. In short, speak to others with real-world experience in these communities and don’t be afraid to enlist them directly in your outreach efforts.

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