Marketing Across Cultures


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This presentation offers an approach to global marketing, based on the recognition of diversity in world markets and on local consumer knowledge and marketing practices. Understanding international diversity in consumer behaviour, advertising, sales and marketing management becomes the central objective for an international marketing.

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  • The culture penetrates our inner being subconsciously and at a deep level. World cultures share many common features. Nevertheless, when common elements are combined they all display a unique style, vis-à-vis kinship patterns, education systems, valuation of the individual and the group, emphasis on economic activities, friendship patterns, the criteria for aesthetic appreciation, and so on. This report offers an approach to global marketing, based on the recognition of diversity in world markets and on local consumer knowledge and marketing practices. Understanding international diversity in consumer behaviour, advertising, sales and marketing management becomes the central objective for an international marketing. A cross-cultural approach aims to emphasize what is country specific and what is universal. Such an approach is essential for the preparation and implementation of marketing strategies in different national contexts. The intercultural view also extends to the interaction between products (their physical and symbolic attributes, as well as the messages surrounding them) from a definite nation-culture and consumers from a different nation-culture. Thus, interaction is meant in a broad sense: not only between people, but also between people and messages, and people and products. This report provides a method for dealing with intercultural situations in international marketing. Transaction costs in international trade are high: only a stable and firmly established link between business people can enable them to overcome disagreements and conflicts of interest.
  • In an increasingly interdependent world where barriers to trade and to international exchanges constantly diminish, cultural differences remain the single most enduring feature that has to be taken into account for localizing marketing strategies. Cultural boundaries are often equated with nationality. Basic cultural assumptions influence behavior of the nation, and it gives special emphasis to two key dimensions, time and space. These cultural assumptions have an impact on marketing related issues such as material culture, sense of ownership, preference for durability, and so on. In French the word culture was defined as ‘cultivation, farming activity’. The abstract sense of the word probably originated in Germany where the word Kultur was used as early as the eighteenth century to refer to civilization. In the Anglo-Saxon world the abstract notion of culture came into widespread use at the beginning of the twentieth century. 164 definitions have been formulated for culture. Most of these definitions are the work of anthropologists, who studied ‘primitive’ societies (American Indians, Pacific Islanders, African natives, and so on). The culture is defined as "common symbols, rituals and hero figures (visible), shared by a group of people, based on a set of values and underling assumptions about reality (hidden)." This definition is illustrated in Figure.
  • The national element is not always the main source of culture. Figure shows the basic sources of cultural background at the level of the individual. According to the individual culture is a set of beliefs or standards, shared by a group of people, which help the individual decide what is, what can be, how to feel, what to do and how to go about doing it.
  • Culture is identity: a sort of collective fingerprint. There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ elements of a particular cultural group. Cultural differences exist, but this is no reason for judging a particular culture as globally superior or inferior to others. Cultures may be evaluated and indeed ranked, but only on the basis of facts and evidence according to precise criteria and for very specific segments of culture-related activities. Some people may be said to make better warriors, others to hold finer aesthetic judgement, or to be more gifted in the composition of music and so on. But culture is a set of coherent elements. Straightforward comparison might allow us to indulge in the rather dangerous illusion that it is possible to select the best from each culture and make an ‘ideal’ combination. Not only would it be difficult to take the best traits from a culture, while rejecting the worst, but also any attempt to combine the best of several cultures could eventually turn out to be a disaster. This is because coherence is needed at the highest level (corresponding to identity at the individual level).
  • Culture is much more a process than a distinctive whole, entirely identifiable by the sum of its elements. Its elements are organically interrelated and work as a coherent set. Thus, it is not only a ‘toolbox’ but also provides people with some ‘directions for use’ in their daily life in the community. Every cultural item belongs to all four elements of culture simultaneously, which then appear as different layers. For instance, music is at once a language, an institution, an artistic production and also a symbolic element. The language we learn in the community where we are born and raised shapes and structures our world-view and our social behaviour. It influences the way in which we select issues, solve problems and finally, act. Language, especially through tenses and words, shapes time-related behaviour, which in turn has an influence on business attitudes (when negotiating or dealing with delivery times or appointments). For instance, the African Bantu people, unlike most Western cultures, do not have a specific word that clearly differentiates the ‘here’ and the ‘now’. They have a common time–space localizer. Institutional elements are the ‘spine’ of the cultural process. They link the individual to the group. Institutions may include family as well as political institutions, or any kind of social organization within which the individual has to comply with rules in exchange for various rewards (e.g. being fed, loved, paid, and so on). These rules are not static and an individual may also sometimes act as a proactive agent of change. Material productions as an element of culture includes tools, machines, factories, paper, books, instruments and media of communication, food, clothing, ornaments, etc. There are many different cultural attitudes to the material world, which, in community resource allocation, includes the priority given to productions and material achievements. For example, the differing world-views in India and China. The Indian world-view based on Brahmanism has the goal of inner spirituality. It emphasizes ascription over achievement and does not place a high value on wealth, acquisition or production. Conversely, the Chinese world-view is based on Confucian Pragmatism with the goal being harmonious social order. It emphasizes meritocracy and hard work, focusing on action in the material, rather than the spiritual world. Symbolic and sacred elements are the basis for the description (and therefore management) of the relations between the physical and the metaphysical world. Cultures range from those where the existence of any kind of metaphysical world is completely denied, to those where symbolic representations of the metaphysical world are present in everyday life. A central preoccupation of cultural communities is to define, through religious and moral beliefs, whether there is life after death, and if so of what kind. Nowadays, most scientists recognize that the metaphysical question will never be resolved fully by scientific knowledge. What is in fact of interest to us is not the answers to these questions, but rather the consequences of moral and religious assumptions on individual and collective behaviours, which differ widely across cultures. Productions of culture cannot be described only by their physical attributes, as they always contain a symbolic or sacred dimension.
  • Language plays a central role in marketing communications when they take place in an international and multilingual context since communication styles as well as world views are deeply influenced by the structure of languages. For reasons of image consistency, many companies want to promote their products globally through standardized advertising campaigns that use the same advertising strategy and execution worldwide. Thus, the question to be answered before transferring campaigns cross-nationally is: which elements should be localized and which ones can be similar worldwide? Since advertising is largely based on language and images, it is influenced by culture. Cross-national differences continue to exist, for the simple reason that we have not yet ceased to have different languages.
  • Moreover, language is the strongest link between advertisers and their potential audiences in marketing communications. The management process for marketing communication per se does not depend on the particular country where the advertising campaign is launched. It is composed of six steps. Logically, these steps should be taken in order, although feedback at any step is possible and often necessary, especially after testing the campaign. The six basic steps are as follows: 1. Isolate the communication problem to be solved 2. Identify the relevant target population 3. Define the marketing communication objective in terms of influencing the target population, at either the attitudinal or the behavioural level. 4. Select the advertising themes and a creative strategy 5. Design a media plan: which media to use, how to optimize the best media to reach the target audience, etc. 6. Implement and monitor the advertising campaign: pre- and post-tests of advertisement effectiveness; research on different aspects (message recall, brand recall, aided brand recognition, actual influence on sales); etc.
  • The function of an advertisement is to communicate a message to an audience based on two major elements: strategy and execution. While there is some overlap between these categories, advertising strategy comprises ‘what is said’ and execution concerns more ‘how it is said’.
  • A limited number of different advertising appeals can be identified based on common themes and concepts. Although all of them are used worldwide, cultural sensitivity is portrayed through the varying usage of these same appeals. A comparison of US and Japanese advertising strategies shows, for instance, that the same ten basic appeals are used.
  • The information content of advertising is a key issue since it shows whether the strategy follows the informative option, rather than the persuasion or dream-orientation avenues. The information content will naturally be lower when the two last avenues are followed. The informativeness of advertising has received considerable attention all over the world. Many researchers compared their country’s advertising situation to that of the United States. The most important findings of these studies are that information content varies by country – but also by broadcast time, product type and medium.
  • Although product types and other environmental factors such as the competitive environment have an influence on information content, culture is the most important factor in explaining how much and what kind of information can be found in advertising.
  • Mexican consumers and, more generally, consumers belonging to fatalistic-oriented societies react more easily to persuasive message (the brand name repeated numerous times) and also oneiric messages (a dream that allows one to escape from a daily life that is not always bright). As a general rule, advertising strategy must fit with the local orientation concerning information content and style of advertising. Advertising strategies that follow purely informative, oneiric or persuasive routes will have to be considered cautiously as applicants for cross-border transfer.
  • Once the advertising is strategy defined, execution remains a quite significant cross-cultural ‘filter’, since meaning transfer is fine-tuned through executional details, most of which are strongly culture bound. The character and structure of these elements heavily influence the advertisement’s effectiveness, while language differences are the strongest barrier to effective communication.
  • Furthermore, advertising language often uses colloquial words or slang, which are particular to local people and as such difficult to find in dictionaries. Translating colloquial speech is difficult since it uses idiomatic expressions, which change from one language to another. Effective textual elements, including the use of foreign vocabulary in an advertisement, are defined differently from one culture to another. A very large percentage of Asian advertisements contains English – and in some rare cases French – words. Written communication should also be avoided in messages targeted at a multilingual audience. For instance, a commercial for a detergent where a housewife is handed a packet of ‘Waschpulver’ will be identified by British, Italian or French viewers as foreign or German.
  • Лучшие маркетинговые уловки: 1. Негативное отношение к новому продукту - картофелю - было сломлено во Франции простым и действенным способом: министр Тюрго приказал поставить охрану вокруг картофельных полей. «Раз охраняют, значит, ценное», - подумал народ. 2. В 1797 году Наполеон Бонапарт сделал отличную рекламу своей национальной валюте, распространив весть о том, что в одну из монет 5-франкового достоинства запечатан банковский чек на миллион франков на предъявителя... Французский банк и сегодня гарантирует выплату указанной суммы. 3. Авиакомпания American Airlines в 1987 году сэкономила 40.000$, уменьшив количество оливок на одну в салатах для первого класса. 4. Хотите, чтобы ваша продукция лучше продавалась? Попадите в фильм о Джеймсе Бонде! Концерн BMW после размещения своей продукции в «Золотом глазе» получил заказы на $300 миллионов, а продажи часов Omega Seamaster выросли на 900%.
  • Marketing Across Cultures

    1. 1. Marketing Across Cultures Inna Bilash 2012
    2. 2. The Table of Content• International Marketing• Intercultural Marketing Communications through Advertisement• Culture and Advertisement Strategy• Culture and Advertising Execution
    3. 3. International MarketingTwo main dimensions of a cultural approach to theinternational marketing:1. A cross-cultural approach means comparingnational marketing systems and local commercialcustoms in various countries.2. An intercultural approach is centered on the studyof interaction between business people, buyers andsellers (and their companies) who have differentnational/cultural backgrounds.
    4. 4. Culture: Visible and Hidden Dimensions
    5. 5. Sources of the Culture
    6. 6. Collective Fingerprint„Heaven is where the cooks are French, the mechanics are German, the policemen are English, the lovers are Italian and it is all organized by the Swiss.Hell is where the policemen are German, the mechanics are French, the cooks are British, the lovers are Swiss and it is all organized by the Italians.‟
    7. 7. Elements of the CultureThe four essential elements of culture are:• Language,• Institutions,• Material productions,• Symbolic productions.
    8. 8. Intercultural Marketing Communications A communication is never language-free. The main tool for communicating marketing messages to customer audiences is an advertising. Which elements should be localized and which ones can be similar worldwide?
    9. 9. Management Process for Marketing Communications
    10. 10. Intercultural Marketing Communications The advertising strategy relates to the types of appeals used, those are: direct or indirect, explicit or implicit or rational or emotional. The advertising style in communicating with the audiences of viewers, readers or listeners can be roughly divided into three basic categories: persuasive, informative and oneiric, that is dream-oriented.
    11. 11. Advertising Appeals US and Japanese advertising strategiesThe Japanese preference for implicit, indirectcommunication is reflected by a relative lack of hard-sellappeals.Instead, there are four times as many softsell appeals inJapanese as in US advertisements.In accordance with Japanese values, there also are moreadvertisements that stress tradition and the veneration of theelderly.The product-merit appeal, on the other hand, is dominant inUS advertisements.Japanese cultural values stress status symbols in advertisingwhereas Americans place emphasis on individualdeterminism.
    12. 12. The Use of Symbolic and Informational Appeals Symbolic advertising is more often used in France, descriptive appeals in Korea and associative appeals in the USA and Asian countries. Swedish ads also depend more on symbolic associations than US advertisements. Italian and French advertisements often appear as very dream oriented: viewers and readers are supposedly willing to escape from the real world. Germans, unlike the French or the Italians, are known to have a taste for highly informative advertising. The similarity in advertising strategies only appears in culturally close countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
    13. 13. The Information Content of Advertising US television advertising contains less information than Australian, French-Canadian, Spanish, Ecuadorian, Irish, French and German, and Japanese television advertising. Only British TV advertisements seem to contain less information than US advertisements. Comparing the information content of television, radio and print found the highest level of information cues in the United States, followed by Japan and the People‟s Republic of China, whereas South Korean advertising scores lowest in informative content.
    14. 14. The Information Content of Advertising Cross-culturally, print media are more informative than radio and television. In a meta-analysis of 59 studies about information content, an interesting result from a cross-cultural perspective is that advertising in developed countries is more informative than in developing countries. In developed countries advertising copy in general contains more writing and technical information, because most consumers have a high level of literacy and education
    15. 15. The Information Content of Advertising Consumers belonging to fatalistic-oriented societies react more easily to persuasive message and also oneiric messages. Japanese advertisements have very few price, warranty and guarantee cues compared to US advertisements. Korean advertisements include the price 38 per cent of the time, whereas in other countries the average is between 8 per cent (India) and 16 per cent (France). „The British don‟t even want to mention money‟. French commercials present more quality information and new ideas. In Taiwan information about product availability and special offers are significantly higher than average.
    16. 16. The Culture and Advertising ExecutionThe following domains of advertising execution are: language; humour; characters and roles represented; the influence of mores and religion, and visual elements of advertising.Advertisements usually have several text elements(catch-phrase, product description, slogan) and usecolloquial language, very subtle yet precise inmeaning.
    17. 17. The Culture and Advertising ExecutionCompanies standardized in their international ads: strategy (68 per cent) execution (54 per cent) language much less (11 per cent).In order to be effective in a French context, for example, 50per cent of all words in an advertisement should be nounsand verbs, the percentage of words exceeding threesyllables should not be higher than 10 per cent, most of thelong words should be familiar words, and sentences shouldhave an average length of about 10–13 words.A very large percentage of Asian advertisements containsEnglish – and in some rare cases French – words.
    18. 18. International Advertising Execution IBM used the character of Charlie Chaplin and the mode of a silent film in a multinational campaign, the goal of which was to foster corporate image. This allowed the advertisement to be used in any country of the world.
    19. 19. International Advertising Execution In Italy a promotion campaign for Shweppes Tonic Water FAILED when the product name was translated as „Schweppes Toilet Water‟…
    20. 20. International Advertising Execution When the slogan of Kentucky Fried Chicken „It‟s finger likin‟ good!‟ was translated into Chinese for Hong Kong market it came out as …‟eat your fingers off‟.
    21. 21. International Advertising Execution Coors the American brewer lost its fizz in Spain when their hip phrase „Turn It Loose‟ was translated as ¡Suéltate con Coors! = “Get Diarrhea”
    22. 22. International Advertising Execution American Airlines decided to adverse the luxurious aspect of flying business class to Mexican customers. Ads should focus on leather seats: „Fly in leather!‟ = „Vuelo en Cuero‟ BUT „en cuero‟ is a slang term for „in the nude‟…
    23. 23. International Advertising Execution
    24. 24. Thank you!