For the first 2 weeks of December I did something I’d never done for work before—I traveled to the other side of the planet! Along with 2 others from my Design + Communications team (Brett Abramsky and Mike Esser), we traveled more than 10,000 miles to attend a Red Hat event in Macau and visit Red Hat’s offices in Singapore and Brisbane, Australia. It was an amazing experience just to be there. In our free time we wandered the cities, ate interesting foods, visited a Buddhist temple in Singapore, and petted kangaroos and koalas in Australia!
But, we also learned some invaluable lessons around the region’s cultures, how Red Hat’s design and video assets are interpreted, the challenges of working on the other side of the globe, and how we can improve our team’s work so it’s better suited for the APAC (Asia Pacific) region.
Although we sit in Raleigh, North Carolina, the things we produce are used and repurposed by other Red Hat marketers, engineers, and sales teams globally. It was due time for us to make the trek out to Asia to get a better sense of what the specific design and video needs are, instead of working from assumptions and infrequent phone calls. Here is a recap of what I learned:
1. Red Hat design is “premium”
Have you ever seen a Japanese game show? As an American viewer, I’d always found them funny because of how crazy and busy every single second of the show is. Well, most design in the region is this way too. I was concerned that this might mean the Red Hat brand, which is very clean and geometric, wouldn’t make sense in Asia. To my surprise, it’s still very relevant. Most brands that have this style are considered “premium” or luxury brands. So, even though the Red Hat design style isn’t the norm, it’s better, in a way, because Red Hat is elevated as a company by our design style alone.
2. Our videos break a lot of rules
Unlike most of our design outputs that don’t need much localization when being repurposed in Asia, our video standards are quite different from what is normal—and comfortable—to the APAC audience. Most of our video interviews are filmed in such a way that the interviewer is off-camera, so the person on-camera is turned slightly to the side and not looking directly into the camera. To Americans, this feels conversational and casual. In Japan and Korea specifically, video follows very formal standards so as not to disrespect the interviewee and to keep the video as professional as possible. Some specific differences include camera-facing interviews, straight-to-the-point stories with no emotional tie-ins, and a male voiceover, which are always preferred over a female voice. To resolve this, an extra camera is needed when filming content we know will be used globally. This way, we can film different angles and shots and customize the video edits for each region.
3. A 13-hour time difference is a BIG difference
One of the APAC marketing team’s biggest struggles in working with our team is the time difference. I felt it myself in the 2 weeks I was working over there. APAC’s work day is North America’s nighttime so every email correspondence takes a full day to even be seen! This delay in response is pretty much impossible for any urgent requests. Because of this, the APAC team has to make a lot of these quick decisions on their own.
It was so great to meet my APAC co-workers and talk 1-on-1 with people I only previously knew as an email address. I can already see the ways that this new knowledge will improve the work our team creates moving forward. As I mentioned before, our work is distributed globally so Asia was just the first region our team visited—stay tuned for future recaps from our visits to Europe and Latin America!