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Col Cult Communication Process

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Col Cult Communication Process

  1. 1. Communication Process, Culture and Marketing Theory Marketing, is self-evidently an exercise in communication with the client in which culture can complicate the issue..... so what theory is there which can potentially help us understand what is going on in the process in sufficient depth? Whether I am teaching and trying to communicate with you or a website is attempting to communicate with its intended client, there are some general principles which clearly apply. Here I will bring together some of the theories which may be of use in looking at intercultural matters in marketing practice. 1. The Basic Communication Process The MESSAGE to be communicated The ENCODING of this MESSAGE in an appropriate form (words, pictures etc) The TRANSMISSION of the ENCODED MESSAGE via MEDIUM/MEDIA The RECEPTION of the ENCODED MESSAGE The DECODING of the ENCODED MESSAGE NOISE REACTION and RESPONSE to MESSAGE NB. ‘Noise’ represents any kind of intervening feature, distraction or effect that act upon either the stages themselves or the linkages between them which keeps the intended delivery from being ‘perfect / as envisaged.... for example, perhaps the right message has been encoded in a brilliant advert and sent to the TV screen at peak viewing time... but I was watching BBC instead (no adverts on BBC). 2. Everett Rogers’ Theory of Diffusion (and Adoption) Although addressing the context of the diffusion of innovations, Rogers was one of the first theorists to examine in detail how we hear about and buy in (or not) to products. He suggested that there are in fact two distinct elements in this process: Diffusion is the process through which knowledge of an innovation spreads among potential consumers based on the social processes involved in communication within society. Adoption is the sequence of stages through which an individual passes from first hearing of an innovation to finally buying it, based on the individual process of considering, deciding and buying.
  2. 2. So, in terms of the marketing communication Process (D = Diffusion / A = Adoption) • Market profiling  D • Message definition  D • Message encoding  D • Medium selection  D • Transmission  D • Reception  D/A • Decoding and perception  D/A • Reaction  A • Consumption / Non- consumption  A • Reflection  affirmation-seeking  Retrenchment A Cultural / intercultural issues can clearly feature in this process, for example: • Market profiling: perhaps a non-national profiling the suitability of markets without the benefit of pre-existing cultural experience might be dangerous? • Message definition: perhaps those at a high level trying to link their knowledge of the product to the market profile do not have enough cultural awareness to be subtle and sophisticated. • Message encoding: perhaps the PR agency has a product rather than market orientation and makes the advert too complicated or too upmarket or uses humour in a way that does not work in the market primarily concerned. Maybe they do not like ‘clever’ adverts and prefer straight, informational ones to image campaigning. Perhaps a broad-brush decision is taken in regard to medium use which does not work everywhere. Viral marketing via mobile phone may well not work in some cultures. • Transmission: perhaps using media in which this particular market does not have confidence. • Reception: perhaps the actual transmission was mis-timed, not having taken account of cultural dates and events and the intended recipient simply wasn’t watching TV or does not buy the local newspaper. • Decoding and perception: perhaps the viewer of the material sees the TV advert, hears the words, but they do not mean to him what the sender thought they would. • Reaction: perhaps the ‘pitch’ turns the intended client ‘off’ rather than ‘on’ • Consumption / Non- consumption. This may amount to offense and rejection • Reflection  affirmation-seeking  Retrenchment. Rather than a positive, virtuous circle, this could become ‘vicious’, with negative promotion resulting. Culture can effectively be a significant determinant at each and every stage. I broke this down a little further in work I did on the Diffusion and Adoption of new technologies in Learning and Teaching. This may not seem relevant on the face of it, but remember, there are different ‘cultures’ within the staff body (though not necessarily national cultures). The title of the Powerpoint Slide below ‘Subjective Selection System’, seeks to show that, in the end, the buy-in / adoption decision is a personal one.
  3. 3. Subjective Selection System Awareness Awareness Perceived Attributes Understanding Comparative Interest Liking Advantage Preference – efficiency Desire Decision – economy Action Implementation – effectiveness Evaluation – equity Reflection Confirmation Complexity Commitment Compatibility Embedding Cascade Communicability Jolley (2004) In terms of the above, the left hand column is built around an extension of the basic AIDA (Awareness/Interest/Desire/Action) model, adding in ‘Reflection’ upon the action taken and an ‘Embedding’ of a confirmed position on the matter. The middle column seeks to develop this rather ‘thin’ model, particularly in the breaking down of ‘Interest and Desire’ into ‘Understanding  Liking  Preference’. Again, all three of these terms may be contextualised or influenced by aspects of culture. The right hand column suggests factors which the individual (or company) might well take into account and weigh up and factor in to the decision to some degree. Once again, many of these perceptions may well be culturally determined or influenced. I have tried to put this altogether in a hypothetical illustration on the following page of the diffusion of the message ‘Buy our car’ and a possible way in which an individual might respond.
  4. 4. Diffusion and Adoption Processes and Considerations Process Element Illustration Considerations Message Buy our car Encoding Vorsprung D… T… Medium Selection TV DIFFUSION Transmission 19.30 ITV Reception 20% of target Market Decoding 10% of target Market Understanding Unclear to 50% (5%) Comparative Evaluation Good Engineering Liking Yes Advantage Preference Better than my Ford • Efficiency Decision Consider next time ADOPTION • Economy Purchase Buy • Effectiveness Reflection As good as I hoped • Equity Confirmation Made good decision Consistency Commitment I’m an Audi guy Advocacy You should… Relationship I buy Audi products Complexity Compatibility Communicabili ty For Diffusion and Adoption, see Rogers, E. The Diffusion of Innovations. But what are the problems with the above in relation to culture: Collective & Individual Issues in Diffusion and Adoption Diffusion Adoption Can one message be valid in a global marketplace? Decoding may result in a message safely received: the wrong message. Is an encoded message capable of simultaneous translation by the recipients in different cultures? Adoption is an intensely personal Different media require different cultural process. approaches… message may need to be altered to suit the media. Although we may be members of a Do different cultures receive messages in the same sub-culture of influence, the adoption way / via the same media? decision is singular and references Different cultural sub-groups and individuals may personal values, beliefs, constraints place different value on different media and external influences. Diffusion is a social process as much as a technical one and these vary by society.
  5. 5. Other Theories and Concepts of Potential Value Igor Ansoff’s Growth Vector Matrix This suggests that when companies grow (and they have to grow to survive, because without it investors would put their money elsewhere), one of the key directions for growth is that of extension and diversification of markets: essentially meaning going into ‘new’ areas where you do not have prior experience or understanding. This often means to new cultures. It is unsafe to make assumptions about such cultures..... Vauxhall (UK Opel) for example produced a car called the NOVA (meaning ‘new’) , which like ‘Supernova’ sounds ultra modern and has the benefit of being short and ‘catchy’. Fine. Good decision.... until you come to sell it in Spain / Portugal... No Va = ‘Doesn’t work’ / ‘Doesn’t go’. Now who is going to drive a car that means that!!!??? Clearly the further away one moves from the current market, the greater the potential for misunderstanding, confusion when one is engaging with other cultures and their different expectations, preferences, traditions, communication systems and languages...
  6. 6. JOLLEY (1988) Looking at the RIGHT hand side of the above, it is apparent that things are changing all the time and they change us: what we think, what we want, what communication devices we use etc. Technological advances (the internet) have meant that low-cost airlines have filled the skies and we book direct and online and expect low prices. In the past we used to choose a destination then get a flight.... now people are choosing destinations because of the availability of low cost flights. Communication technologies have changed...and the way we have come to use them has changed the structure of the Tourism industry and marketing itself!

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