OK? Or not OK?

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the OK hand gesture is now a hate symbol.

For those of us in the globalization field, we’ve learned to avoid this gesture in web and marketing materials for a more global reason — that it can be interpreted differently by different cultures. Should the hand above be reversed, this would not be a good look in, say, Brazil.

And now it is a questionable gesture in American society.

Now, to be clear, even the ADL description notes “Use of the okay symbol in most contexts is entirely innocuous and harmless.”

In other words, context is everything.

For marketers, however, this development is just another reason why using hand gestures, from a global perspective, can be tricky.

To learn more about hand gestures and cultural pitfalls when going global, check out my book Think Outside the Country (available in both English and Japanese).

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