Tafterjournal n. 57 - marzo 2013

Future Trends in Cultural Diplomacy


Rubrica: Gestire cultura

Parole chiave: , ,

Why Corporate Cultural Diplomacy?
Due to the globalization of the world, companies are required to make extraordinary efforts in order to grow and stay on the market; understanding, diplomacy and a larger scale of communication are needed more than ever before.


Companies, just as nation-states, can no longer operate independently, as we see a world that is interdependent. This includes shared aims and goals, but also shared difficulties, problems and issues such as Human Rights, climate changes and poverty. These are all factors that influence the global economy. As a growing number of large corporations make bigger revenues than entire countries total Gross Domestic Products(1) today, they come to play an important role in international relations and politics, as well as become dependent on international relations and politics to a much wider and greater extent as their enterprises reaches markets across the world. This interdependent relationship between the private and the public sector requires sustained dialogue, diplomacy, trust and co-operation between different societies and cultures(2).


Just like Governments around the world use Cultural Diplomacy (CD) to reach their aims and purposes, corporations should follow this pattern and approach to face the challenges of today and tomorrow. CD activities are tools to create a ”foundation of trust” with other people, which can build on to reach political, economic and military agreements. It reaches out to the target audience and facilitates specific issues or requests for collaboration. Furthermore, CD is a way of demonstrating a company’s values, and its shared values with other people. To reach new markets and reach out to influential people of foreign societies, traditional measures are not always the most efficient ones for companies that wish to grow their business. CD is a unique way to reach out to young people, to non-elites and to a broad audience with a much reduced language barrier. Activities of this kind foster the growth of civil society; they educated people of the values and sensitivities of other societies and help to avoid gaffes and missteps. They also counterbalance misunderstandings, hatred and terrorism(3).


Cultural Diplomacy is a rather unique way to address complex and tenaciously difficult questions as conflict resolutions, the rule of law, and the protection of the rights of the civilians. Corporate Cultural Diplomacy (CCD) programs can convey the values and show the benefits of free market and trade in the world. Furthermore, it raises global awareness and provide practical information on protecting the environment and society(4). Cultural Diplomacy plays a significant role in economics of the world, where its efforts are made to insure positive nation-brands, it increases awareness and interests towards tourists, prospective investments and partners. Cultural Diplomacy can be used as a tool to get information across the world in a rather truthful, non-propaganda resembling way.


Corporations can obtain several benefits by embracing Cultural Diplomacy within their strategic and daily work. Among many others, CCD can take the form of privately sponsored programs to encourage exchange of cultural values and practices, promoting respect and inter-cultural dialogue within and between societies. Corporate Cultural Diplomacy can be done on several levels: local, regional, national as well as global. Depending on the varieties of actions that corporations engage in, they can improve their image and performance, reach new markets and improve their products. Moreover, Corporate Cultural Diplomacy reaches out to new partners, new clients, improves strategies and teaches corporations on how to reduce costs. In many cases CCD is less costly than traditional advertising which is a one-way communication channel, where Cultural Diplomacy is a dialogue(5).


In order to overcome obstacles and make profits, we see a rather obvious trend where enterprises already include Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in their business activities. As the market becomes internationalized and corporations cross boarders like never before, CSR must grow beyond the local or regional zone, as well as broaden its variety of activities. CSR is often directed to the field where companies already do some kind of harm to the environment, however, Cultural Diplomacy is broader in its definition as well as application area. It is also the case that Cultural Diplomacy works representatively and is able to reach a broader audience(6).


Building business while including Cultural Diplomacy, using culture as a tool, is a fostering and mutual beneficial way of entering local businesses into new markets. The future of Cultural Diplomacy is one where the business community becomes enlightened and realizes the value of Corporate Cultural Diplomacy for its enterprise(7).


Deutsche Bank promoting culture
Founded in 1957, Deutsche Bank AG is a leading global investment-bank with a substantial private client franchise, with over 100,000 employees in over 70 countries (June, 2012)(8)(9).


Deutsche Bank (DB) considers Corporate Social Responsibility as an investment in the society and its own future. With a total investment of €83.1 million in year 2011, Deutsche Bank and its foundations were among the world’s most active corporate citizens. Sustainability is about a longterm success for the company, the society as well as the environment(10).


Deutsche Bank’s motto is ”Passion to Perform”. Performance according to DB includes acting responsibly. Being a leading global bank, DB knows that it has a special responsibility within the society and realizes that it is in its own interest to live up to it. In order to remain a successful business it is essential in the long-term to have people’s trust(11).


Regarding Deutsche Bank’s activities within the field of CSR, the bank has chosen to take a rather fostering position towards the society. Pointing out that unlike science, which looks for objective facts, art triggers both the intellect and emotions, as well as it fosters viewers’ creativity. The main reason for why DB has chosen to focus on arts is because art builds, it questions and transcends boarders, also it broadens peoples’ horisonts. Cooperating with the Berliner Philharmoniker for over 20 years, the initiatives have overcome social barriers and national boundaries, and provided wide access to classical music. Artistic inspirations give DB new perspectives and leads it to take unique and innovative approach, which is not only good for the economy but also for the society at large(12).


For more than 30 years, DB has supported events of contemporary art with a fairly major focus on works on paper and photography. The collection of Deutsche Bank includes works from art centres located in Africa, China, India and Latin America, and it comprises more than 56,000 pieces of art. DB has been working together with the Deutsche Guggenheim for over a 15-year period, organizing four exhibitions per year which are supplemented with programs such as workshops for children and youths, as well as tours for the blind and hearing impaired(13).


The Digital Concert Hall
Since year 1989, DB has had a close partnership with the Berliner Philharmoniker, which has been considered one of the world’s best orchestras for 130 years now. One focus of the collaboration is the Digital Concert Hall, which was launched in early 2009. The Digital Concert Hall is the virtual concert venue of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and it is unique in the world of classical music where it offers concerts in top audio quality via the Internet. The Digital Concert Hall documents almost all the artistic work of the Berliner Philharmoniker and its musical partners. The Digital Concert Hall allows people from around the world to experience the orchestra’s performances, overcoming both national boarders and social boundaries. Since 2011 the concerts have also been transmitted to cinemas. Since its launch, the Digital Concert Hall of the Berliner Philharmoniker has enhanced more than four million users, who are all able to choose between 120 recorded concerts and 85 live concerts. The Digital Concert Hall overcomes national boarders, social classes and age groups, and above all represents a new approach to the culture of classical music(14)(15)(16).


As Deutsche Bank is stating with its initiative of the Digital Concert Hall, it is beneficial for corporations of today and the future to engage in Corporate Cultural Diplomacy. The reasons for why corporations should be encourage to do it, is to get the required trust from people, in order to remain on the international market and also to reach out and target new markets.


It is beneficial for the enterprise as well as the society as a whole when corporations engage in cultural activities. As corporations become bigger and cross national boarders as well as cultural frontiers, it is essential in order to remain on the market to understand and be able to reach out to its audience, clients, partners and investors, in a way that fosters mutual understanding and trust.


Also, these corporations rely on the global situation between civil societies. When investing in Cultural Diplomacy, corporations have an important role to play by giving people the opportunity to learn from one another, using cultural tools, such as the arts of music, to reach out to people around the world with this message. Indirectly also taking care of what is important for the company’s business, simply by facilitating the access to different cultures. Corporate Cultural Diplomacy-events are able to overcome national boarders, social classes and age groups, something that traditional advertising is rarely able to do to the same extent.


Corporate Cultural Diplomacy is in many regards cheaper than traditional advertising, and its benefits are more and wider. It is not a question of ordinary sponsorship, marketing or simply gaining ”good-will” to the corporation, it is a dialogue that is actively and consciously held with several stakeholders simultaneously, such as current and future clients, investors, partners and employees. CCD is a way to learn and teach from one another, using cultural tools to overcome boundaries such as national identities, ethnicities, ages, genders as well as political and religious beliefs.


Corporate Cultural Diplomacy is a strategy for the long-term, to work preventively and create a sustainable platform for the future to come. Gaining trust is essential for any company today and the significance of trust cannot be measured in numbers. However, it cannot be avoided to state that it is nearly impossible for any corporation to remain on the market without the trust of its stakeholders.


Moreover, the political, economical as well as the social situation in the world has a huge impact on corporations revenues and profits. Markets in countries that are unstable or volatile due to different political or social reasons, often affect businesses in a negative way. It is therefore in the interests of corporations that peace and understanding among societies are kept at all time.


Corporate Cultural Diplomacy is a guiding vision on how companies can maintain their license to operate in an increasing globalized world. Sustainable development for companies today rests on three fundamental pillars: economic growth, ecological balance and social progress. Corporate Cultural Diplomacy is an engine for social progress, where it helps corporations to live up to their responsibilities as global citizens. Acting in a socially responsible manner is more than just an ethical duty for any company, it is rather something that actually has a bottom line pay-off. The real change that comes from Corporate Cultural Diplomacy can already be seen; taken Deutsche Bank’s initiative ”The Digital Concert Hall” as an example, these kinds of events and collaborations when rooted in social responsibility are flourishing and beneficial for the society as a whole and should become a model, a source of inspiration for enterprises around the world.


(1) Business Insider
(2) Cultural Diplomacy, Linchpin of Public Diplomacy
(3) Ibid.
(4) Public Diplomacy: Looking Back, Looking Forward
(5) Referencial Lesson, ICD Donfried, M. Berlin 2012
(6) Cultural Diplomacy, Linchpin of Public Diplomacy
(7) Building Business with Cultural Diplomacy
(8) Deutsche Bank; History
(9) Deutsche Bank; About  
(10) Deutsche Bank; CSR
(11) Ibid.
(12) Deutsche Bank; CSR Report 2011
(13) Ibid.
(14) The Digital Concert Hall
(15) Deutsche Bank, News
(16) The Digital Concert Hall    


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