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IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSING THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
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IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSING THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR

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The aim of this essay is to propose a new approach for assessing the consumer behavior, and thus implement the appropriate marketing communication strategy by using IT, I and WE paradigm by Daniel …

The aim of this essay is to propose a new approach for assessing the consumer behavior, and thus implement the appropriate marketing communication strategy by using IT, I and WE paradigm by Daniel Ofman.

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  • 1. IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR The Case of China, Gaungdong region ABSTRACT The aim of this essay is to propose a new approach for assessing the consumer behavior, and thus the appropriate marketing communication strategy, by using the Blue, Green and Red behavioral model. Ivan Gruer Signature: ivan.gruer@gmail.com it.linkedin.com/in/ivangruer/en SUN YAT-SEN University: International Summer Program 2013 (1-19 July) – Final Essay
  • 2. 1 IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR Introduction As a final essay of the summer exchange program 20013 provided by the SUN YAT-SEN University (three weeks from 1st to 19th July 2013) it will be described a new approach for assessing the consumer behavior and thus adopting the appropriate marketing communication strategy. There are many models, such as MBTI (Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator), Belbin Team Role, TIP (The International Profiler) and many others, that can assess behaviors and attitudes of a human being as well as theirs interactions. Meanwhile, many different frameworks are available as well in order to identify and thus classify different cultures such as the six dimensions by Geert Hofstede, Fons Tompenaars’ seven dimensions and the GLOBE project. Such tools are well known in the business for managing cross-culture divergences as well for a well-defined marketing communication. Another simple tool that identify the behavior of a human being is the Blue, Green and Red model where each colors identify respectively the following areas: IT (facts, figure, etc.), I and WE [3][6]. Each person usually puts most of the effort in one or maximum two of these areas while the othersother areis usually weakening. Since behaviors and the culture are mutually correlated, the objective of this report is to illustrate a new methodology for assessing a culture with a straightforward approach by using the Blue (IT), Green (I) and Red (WE) model in order to implement a marketing communication that is effective. As an example of methodology presented, the Chinese Culture will be analyzed with a focus on the Guangdong region. The approach of the assessment is qualitative and subjective according to the insights provided in the courses within the Chinese Politics and Cultural Studies of the Summer Exchange Program 2013 as well as some personal impressions collected during these three weeks. For these reasons, this report is faraway to be consider as an assessment of the Chinese culture
  • 3. 2 IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR since neither a qualitative or a systematic approach are going to be used. Thus, an assessment of the Chinese Culture is out of scope. The IT (Blue), I (Green) and WE (Red) behavioral model The model BLUE, GREEN and WE has been developed in order to help organizations to manage diversity and conflicts among different groups as well as for a self-understanding and a personal development [3][6]. Each color represent three different aspects and attitude of a person as follow: BLUE (IT): blue is the color of the world of facts, figures and tasks. The personality of a person that mainly has developed the Blue area tends to be practical, focused on goals, logical, detailed, structured and well prepared. Usually a blue person is less willing to take into consideration any emotional consequences since hisher decisions are based on facts and examples. It is the world of science, truth and objective reality. GREEN (I): green is the color of the inner world. A Green human being is creative and imaginative usually looking for new ideas, stimulus and new approaches rather than following a precise procedure as a blue personality likes to do. Greens are commonly less focused on tasks. Nerveless, they set high and ambitious goals with a long time horizon. I is about arts and also self- understanding, self-consciousness and self-awareness. RED (WE): red is the color of the so-called “sense of WE”. A red person gets energy by meeting and spending time with other people. They mainly rely on the emotional aspect and thus they consider a message important if it’s delivered with enthusiasm. Thus, Reds are open to express their emotions as well as willing to show respects and patience toward the others’ feelings. Solidarity, inclusion and sense of being part of a groupcommunity are the main values for a Red personality.
  • 4. 3 IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR IT, I and WE for the Chinese people Since the Blue, Green and Red model has been described above, how is possible to assess a culture by using such a framework? Along the exchange program some insights have been provided about the Chinese Culture regarding the following topics: Chinese Dialects [11], Chinese Customs and Festivals, Chinese Medicine [5], Chinese Opera [2], Citizenship Practice in Contemporary China (The Great Transformation: double movement) [9], Urban Management [10], Cadre and Lineage in Rural China [12] and Social Policy [1] as well as some insights regarding the business environment in China thanks to the company visit of Guangqi-Honda [4]. Furthermore, within the exchange program 2013 the Sun Yat-Sen University has provided to all the participants few cultural experiences: Chinese Calligraphy, Taiji and Paper Cutting as well as a course of Chinese language. An approach for the assessment could be, given 6 points available, assign for each of the mentioned topic a score for each of three areas: BLU (IT), GREEN (I) and RED (WE). After doing that for each of the topic, the sum of all the score obtained for the Blue, Green and Red areas will be the final assessment of the culture that show how much emphasis is given to each area. Topic IT I WE Comments Chinese Language & Dialects 2 0 4 IT (2): due to the phonetic complexity of Chinese language as well for its alphabet that consists of thousands of ideograms a particular focus on the pronunciation is required. WE (4): the fact that in China are still spoken more than 300 dialects it’s a sign that each regionethnic wants to preserve his language and his tradition as well. Furthermore, also the sense of WE as a family is important since the Chinese language is more specific regarding the grandfather and grandmother by distinguished them between the father of the father, the mother of the father, the father of the mother and the mother of the mother. Chinese Medicine 3 0 3 IT (3): the (TCM) Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as agopuncture, is recognized as effective from WHO (World Health Organization) [8].
  • 5. 4 IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR WE (3): the TCM is based under the five elements theory and ying- yang of Taoism that are both based on the concept of a harmonious universe in equilibrium. Chinese Opera 3 0 3 IT (3): since the characters are standardized and stereotyped with a specific role. Moreover, the colors of the makeup, as well as the gestures, are codified: black for the authority, red for bravery and so on. WE (3): since it was born during the Tang Dynasty (700), the Chinese Opera is a vehicle for transmitting ancient stories and traditions among the generations. The Great Transformation: double movement 0 3 3 I (3), WE (3): since the population in China is divided between conservatives (WE) and not conservatives more keen to be individualistic (I). Urban Management in China 0 0 6 There are two relevant findings regarding the Urban Management in China: 1-the residential status: the citizen are divided firstly between Native and Migrants and secondly by Urban and Rural. The rural citizen is not allowed to own a house in a city and viceversa. 2-The Government owns the land in the city. Such a rules has been introduce in order to let the farmland populate due to the need of food and control the prices of real estate market in the cities by controlling the demand (since not everybody is allowed to own an house). Six point to WE since it’s more related with morals and what is good for all the population. Cadre Rural & Lineage in China 0 2 4 WE (4): Villages are self-organized according to The Organization Law of Villages Committee (1988). Furthermore, the candidates for the governance of the village are nominated by the central government for most of the villages (that means rules for the whole community). I(2): However, the corruption and the practice of buying votes is quite common among the candidates that are looking for a personal return (e.g. selling the villages' lands). This could be seen as a sign of individualism. Social Policy 3 2 1 IT (3): the social policy has changed from socialist ideology to pragmatism (Anglo-Saxons approach) I (2): according to the so called "5 insurances with 1 found" only who has a job can actually be insured by the social services (retirement, health, unemployment, housing,...). WE (1): because the reforms between 80s-90s has changed the social policy from social equality to economic efficiency.
  • 6. 5 IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR Company visit: GUANGQI- HONDA 3 1 2 IT (3): fact based because of the level of technology and organizational complexity of automotive industry. I (1): the aim of higher goals within the management policies of the company. WE(2): among the management policies are mentioned principles such as equality, trust and harmonious team work Cultural Experience: Calligraphy 4 0 2 IT (4): due to the high level of details of ideograms. WE (2): since the ideograms itself represent concepts they are strictly correlated with the Chinese culture. Cultural Experience: Taiji 2 4 0 IT (2): it’s fact based since each movement must be precisely executed. I (4): since Taiji requires self-consciousness and body awareness. Cultural Experience: Paper Cutting 3 1 2 IT (3): within the technique of paper cutting there are mainly 6 standardized shapes. As for calligraphy and Taiji, the paper cutting requires precision of the execution and of the result as well. I (1): because it's an expression of art. WE (2): usually paper-cutting works are produced during special events such as festivals, birthdays and weddings. Furthermore, each icon has a meaning behind. For the example, the fish is pronounced Yú that means "fish" either "extra" and for this reason is quite often delivered for wishing prosperity for the future. TOTAL 23 13 30 The result for the Chinese Culture accordingly to the Blue, Green and Red model by using the selected topics above is:  BLUE (IT): 23 (35%).  GREEN (I): 13 (20%).  RED (WE): 30 (45%). The Chinese consumer behavior Once the culture has been assessed, consistently with the goal mentioned in the introduction, the next stage should be inferring the consumer behaviors of the population. Due to the limited amount of time and the need of a deeper research, an accurate definition of the behavior of the Chinese consumer is out of scope. However, in order to validate the methodology let’s use a previous
  • 7. 6 IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR research about the behavior of the Chinese consumer and evaluate each finding by assigning a mark in the Blue (IT), Green (I) and Red (WE) areas as has been done previously for the selected topic of the Culture. If the marks in the Blue (IT), Green (I) and Red (WE) are in line with the figures obtained in Cultural analysis this means that the inferences about the consumer behaviors are consistent with the Culture. In the table below are listed some of the characteristics of a Chinese consumer [7] with the relative assessment. Findings IT I WE Comments Luxury products 2 4 0 New rich people and middle class are willing to buy luxury product in order to increase their status. The brand and the price are the main drivers. IT (2): due to brand and price sensitivity (facts) I (4): luxury as a way to increase hisher own status (individualism) Shopping experience 0 2 4 For the Chinese consumer the “shopping experience” plays a key role, even for grocery and FMCG (Fast Moved Consumer Goods). It’s not only a question of buying the stuff that is needed but also living an experience in the shop. I (2): since living new experience is a characteristic of I WE (4): since the WE is related to emotions Use of humor 0 4 2 The sense of Humor is commonly used in the marketing communication because it creates attention and thus awareness about the brandproduct. I (4): the sense of humor is a characteristic of I Food market 2 0 4 Regarding the food market, the worth of mouth is important as well as a good balance between price and quality. Furthermore, the meal in China is quite often consumed by sharing the food in the middle of a round table (equality). IT (2): due to the attention of the quality of the food WE (4): food sharing and decision making according to the word of mouth No borrowings 0 0 6 Asking money, in general, is humiliating. WE (6): pressure from the group (exclusion) Underdevelo ped credit card business 3 3 0 Counting (IT) many banknotes instead of using credit cards is a way to show the status (I). Furthermore, the highest RMB banknote has a face value of 100 Yuan (equivalent to 16,3$ or 12,5€). Exchanges of gifts 0 0 6 Exchanging gifts is common practice in China as a way for establishmaintain good relationship. WE (6)
  • 8. 7 IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR High standards sets to children 5 0 1 Health and safety (IT) are in general highly perceived as important for the Chinese consumer and in particular if the product is for kids and children (WE, the importance of the family and the future generation). TOTAL 12 13 23 The result regarding behaviors of the Chinese consumer accordingly to the Blue, Green and Red model by using the selected topics above is:  BLUE (IT): 12 (25%)  GREEN (I): 13 (27%)  RED (WE): 23 (48%) Conclusion A new methodology for addressing a market communication consistently with the local culture has been described. The result obtained from the analysis of the Chinese consumer behaviors has shown a Cultural consistency preference to the Red (WE) area: 45% and 38% from the Cultural and consumer behavior respectively. The result suits the high context mark of the Chinese culture where trust is based on relationships rather that tasks and facts. However, there are some divergences regarding the Blue (IT) and Green (I) areas. In fact, with the selected items, the Chinese Culture has shown a preference to the Blue (IT) area (35%) rather than the Green (I) area (20%), while the Chinese behaviors has shown a balance between them, 25% and 37% respectively for the IT and the I. Such difference is mainly due to the recent reforms of the social policies towards a more pragmatic approach as well as due to a detailed focus tendency in general (calligraphy, paper cutting,...) while on average the decision making of the Chinese is driven also by living a personal emotional experience.
  • 9. 8 IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR Since the approach that has been used, due to the limited amount of time, was mainly qualitative and subjective, any further considerations about the Culture and the Consumer behavior of Chinese might be inappropriate. Thus, further studies should be done in order to validate such methodology by analyzing deeply the Chinese environment as well as considering other cultures and markets. Meanwhile, a further research should achieve the definition of a standard list of the topics that can better gather the main findings of the Culture and the Consumer behaviors as well. Moreover, once a questionnaire with the list of the main topic has been defined, in order to obtain a result that is less subjective the research should be done through a survey by targeting a group of people that is representative of the population. Last but not the least, since the Blue (IT), Green (I) and Red (WE) was mainly developed for managing diversities and conflicts among a group of people, using such a model for analyzing cultures might be also useful for creating a positive interaction among different communities in the world. Many improvement in that direction has been done after 利瑪竇 (Lì Mǎdòu - Matteo Ricci), who was the first European sinologist, had established in the sixteenth century a first cultural bridge between west and the far east and many other further improvements should be done as well in the future. References [1] Chan Wing Kit. (2013). Social Policy in China. (Available from Sun Yat-Sen University, Xingang Xi Road, 135, Guangzhou, China). Teaching material of the course “Social Policy in China”, International Summer Program 2013. [2] Chang Xinping. (2013). Chinese Opera. (Available from Sun Yat-Sen University, Xingang Xi Road, 135, Guangzhou, China). Teaching material of the course “Chinese Opera”, International Summer Program 2013.
  • 10. 9 IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR [3] Diversity Icebreaker. “The diversity icebreaker”. Website: http://www.diversityicebreaker.com/Admin/Public/DWSDownload.aspx?File=%2fFiles%2fF iler%2fpdf+artikler+DI%2fTrainingmaterials%2f5_Blue_Red_Green_Sums_WM.pdf retrieved 13th July 2013. [4] Guangqi-Honda Company. Website: http://www.guangzhouhonda.com.cn/english/ retrieved 15th July 2013. [5] Lü Dairong. (2013). Introduction to Chinese Medicine. (Available from Sun Yat-Sen University, Xingang Xi Road, 135, Guangzhou, China). Teaching material of the course “Introduction to the Chinese Medicine”, International Summer Program 2013. [6] Ofman Daniel. (2004). Core Qualities: a Gateway to Human Resources. Cyan Communications. [7] Wan Wendy. (2013). Chinese Consumer Decision Making. (Available from MIB School of Management, Largo Caduti di Nassiriya, 1, Trieste, Italy). Teaching material of the course “Chinese Consumer Behaviour”, 23rd Master in Business Administration. [8] World Health Organization. “Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials”. Website: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js4926e/. retrieved 13th July 2013. [9] Xia Ying. (2013). The Great Transformation: double movement. (Available from Sun Yat-Sen University, Xingang Xi Road, 135, Guangzhou, China). Teaching material of the course “The Great Transformation: the double movement”, International Summer Program 2013.
  • 11. 10 IT, I, WE: A FRAMEWORK FOR THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR [10] Ye Lin. (2013). Urban Management in China. (Available from Sun Yat-Sen University, Xingang Xi Road, 135, Guangzhou, China). Teaching material of the course “Urban Management in China”, International Summer Program 2013. [11] Zhao Jing. (2013). Chinese Dialects. (Available from Sun Yat-Sen University, Xingang Xi Road, 135, Guangzhou, China). Teaching material of the course “Chinese Dialects”, International Summer Program 2013. [12] Zhu Lin. (2013). Cadre and Lineage in Rural China. (Available from Sun Yat-Sen University, Xingang Xi Road, 135, Guangzhou, China). Teaching material of the course “Cadre and Lineage in Rural China”, International Summer Program 2013.