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Global Business 06.18.18 BLOG 

Are You Culturally Intelligent? Why a High CQ is Key to Global Business Success

By The TransPerfect Multicultural Consulting Team

cultural intelligence! (in big and bold)

Are You Culturally Intelligent? Why a High CQ is Key to Global Business Success

What is Cultural Intelligence?

We’ve all heard of IQ and EQ, but what about CQ? Cultural intelligence is the ability to work and succeed in a wide variety of cultures and settings. The culture you are familiar with often determines your behavior and situational responses. Through education and cultural perspectives, one can learn to adapt to situations and ensure clear communication. While emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence are related, CQ builds upon the foundation of EQ to take into consideration not just thoughts and feelings, but also the perspectives from other cultures and backgrounds.

The Importance of CQ

With all the diversity in the modern workplace, it is crucial for businesses to recognize the differences and similarities between cultures and effectively strategize for each setting. The growing diversity of the workforce and the global market means that businesses must interpret the cultural code and maximize each opportunity by adapting their brands to target audiences worldwide. Cultivating CQ for a company starts with training sessions geared toward specific challenges faced in target markets. C-suite executives should be trained on market values, etiquette, region-specific negotiation tactics, and decision making. Customer workshops and fieldwork are helpful for client-facing managers, and each can be supplemented by e-learning courses.

Using CQ to Adapt Your Brand Globally

Cultural intelligence must be used when adapting for a global market. A popular product with a great marketing strategy in western countries might not be culturally appropriate for Asian markets. It is important to consider a country’s language, traditions, and cultural trends. This is why many brands turn to cultural consulting experts to help adapt products, services, and media into the correct context, ensuring that the message extends beyond borders.

How to Improve Your CQ:

  1. Find the entry points into a new culture und strategize an open learning process. Setting your employees up for success includes learning content in other languages and should be geared toward target entry markets, cultures, and backgrounds.
  2. Increase cultural knowledge. Seek to understand how specific market trends, language nuances, culture, and social status impact how consumers view and purchase from brands—then apply this knowledge to hone your advertising strategy.
  3. Enhance cultural metacognition and reflective insight into intercultural interactions. This means being mindful of the cultural context and specific traditions of your target audience and catering your planned responses and behaviors to the unique needs of that audience.

TransPerfect assists global brands by providing cultural consulting, including transcreation and copy adaptation, name testing, image consulting, and brand management. For more information, visit our website or email us at

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