The Art of Working with International Clients


As you may have noticed, we recently celebrated our 10th birthday. Over the last decade, we’ve had countless milestones and memorable moments, but perhaps the most exciting development of all has been our expansion overseas. We enjoy amazing relationships with our client partners in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia.

From funded start-ups to large enterprises in a wide range of industries including FMCG, ceramics, retail and real estate; it’s been a smooth-sailing success – but, how? We’ve taken some time to reflect on this question and come up with some top tips for working with international clients.

Tip 1 – Simplified communication

When there’s a language barrier, it’s important to be smart with speech and considerate with email correspondence. We explain our ideas with clarity and without complexity. This comes from years of experience which translates into total confidence in what we do and the way we do it. This means we can answer questions calmly, and describe things thoroughly and slowly if necessary. Overall this helps our clients to relax as they understand exactly what’s going on and why.

Tip 2 – Cultural awareness

To be global you need to think globally. It’s important to be conscious of affairs, customs and cultural sticking points in your client’s country. From greetings and faux pas to religious holidays and market dynamics – it’s well worth starting your journey armed with as much insight as possible. It’s not just polite, it’s impressive. We demonstrate this casually on our calls and more formally on brand strategy documents. A great example of this is Vision 2030 which is a huge government-led plan that’s transforming the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We found it, learned from it and implemented it to strengthen our brand strategy work.

Tip 3 – Flexible creativity

Your perception of artistic value, good taste and fashion come from your environment and the media you consume. There is a chance that your overseas clients don’t share your palette and this may throw a spanner in the works if you’re not ready for it. You need to be able to adapt your style and think outside the box, explaining your creative choices more thoroughly as you present them. It’s important to be mindful of differing cultural preferences and understand the look and feel of their market – we cover all of this in our brand strategy exercise before we begin any creative work.

Tip 4 – Small talk, big difference

Overseas clients like to socialise at the start and end of meetings. At the end of the day, it’s a long-distance relationship so extra efforts need to be made in order to retain trust, confidence and overall satisfaction. From our experience we have found that our clients in the Gulf believe that business is personal and by bringing us on board they are welcoming us into their family. This is great for us as we love sparking genuine relationships and being friendly, it’s an organic part of the Klinical DNA.

Tip 5 – Universal principles

Having 10 years of skin in the game means we’ve built formidable foundations for success. We’ve developed a way of thinking and a method of working which, with tweaks, works for any kind of brand in any part of the world. It’s about grasping consumer behaviour, culture, design, language, sales and marketing, and bringing them together with creative flair and purpose.

Those are our top tips and we hope they demonstrate that although we’re located in London, the scope of our services is truly and comfortably global. To us, it doesn’t matter where you are, we care about what you do and why you do it. So, whether you’re looking for a branding agency in Saudi Arabia or a brand consultancy in Dubai, you can choose Klinical with confidence.

Talk to us today by emailing [email protected]

Ready to discuss your project?

Fill in your details below and we will be in touch.