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Chapter 4 Social and Cultural Environments Task of Global Marketers Study and understand the country cultures in which they will be doing business Incorporate this understanding into the marketing planning process Introduction

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Chapter 4 social and cultural environments l.jpg

Chapter 4Social and Cultural Environments

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Task of Global Marketers

  • Study and understand the country cultures in which they will be doing business

  • Incorporate this understanding into the marketing planning process

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“It is not just speaking a common language. It is sharing a culture and understanding friendships in the same way”

Juan Villanonga – Former Chairman of Telefonica

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Society, Culture, and Global Consumer Culture

  • Culture – Ways of living, built up by a group of human beings, that are transmitted from one generation to another

  • Culture is acted out in social institutions

  • Culture has both conscious and unconscious values, ideas and attitudes

  • Culture is both material and nonmaterial

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Society, Culture, and Global Consumer Culture

“Culture is the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one category of people from those of another.”

- Geert Hofstede

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Society, Culture, and Global Consumer Culture

  • Global consumer cultures are emerging

    • Persons who share meaningful sets of consumption-related symbols

    • Pop culture; coffee culture; fast-food culture

  • Primary the product of an interconnected world

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Attitudes, Beliefs and Values

  • Attitudes - learned tendency to respond in a consistent way to a given object or entity

  • Belief - an organized pattern of knowledge that an individual holds to be true about the world

  • Value - enduring belief or feeling that a specific mode of conduct is personally or socially preferable to another mode of conduct

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Religion is one important source of society’s beliefs, attitudes, and values. The world’s major religions include: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

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The sense of what is beautiful and what is not beautiful

What represents good taste as opposed to tastelessness or even obscenity

Visual – embodied in the color or shape of a product, label, or package

Styles – various degrees of complexity, for example are perceived differently around the world


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Dietary Preferences

  • Would you eat…..

    • Reindeer (Finland)

    • Rabbit (France)

    • Rice, soup, and grilled fish for breakfast (Japan)

    • Kimchi - Korea

    • Blood sausage (Germany)

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Language and Communication

  • Verbal Cues

  • Nonverbal cues or body language

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Marketing’s Impact on Culture

  • Universal aspects of the cultural environment represent opportunities to standardize elements of a marketing program

  • Improved communications have contributed to a convergence of tastes and preferences in a number of product categories

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Marketing’s Impact on Culture

  • Movement has 70,000 members in 35 countries

  • “Slow food is about the idea that things should not taste the same everywhere.”

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Examples of Cultural Environment

Low-Context Cultures –_____Messages, Contract

1. U.S.

2. Germany

High-Context cultures – Non-verbal Messages


1. Asia

2. Latin America

3. Middle East

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High and Low Context Cultures

Factors /







A person’s word

Responsibility fororganizational error




Is his or her bond

Taken by top level


JapanMiddle East

Very important

Get it in writing

Pushed to lowest level

Proceed quickly

U.S.A.Northern Europe

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Hofstede’s Cultural Typology

  • ______________________

  • ______________________

  • ______________________

  • ______________________

  • Long-term Orientation

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Hofstede’s Cultural Typology


The extent to which less powerful members of a society

accept power to be distributed unequally






Hong Kong


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Hofstede’s Cultural Typology


The extent to which each member of society is primarily

concerned with his or her own interest and those of

immediate family




Asian Countries



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Hofstede’s Cultural Typology


A society in which men are expected to be assertive,

competitive and concerned with success and women

are concerned with the welfare of children







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Hofstede’s Cultural Typology


The extent to which the members of a society are

uncomfortable with unclear, ambiguous, or unstructured




Southeast Asia


Latin America



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Hofstede’s Cultural Typology

  • Power Distance USA 38

  • Individualism / Collectivism USA 1

  • Masculinity USA 15

  • Uncertainty Avoidance USA 43

  • Long-term Orientation

Keegan P135

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Self-Reference Criterion and Perception

  • Unconscious reference to one’s own cultural values; creates cultural myopia

  • How to Reduce Cultural Myopia:

    • Define the problem or goal in terms of home country cultural traits

    • Define the problem in terms of host-country cultural traits; make no value judgments

    • Isolate the SRC influence and examine it

    • Redefine the problem without the SRC influence and solve

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Diffusion Theory

  • The Adoption Process

  • Characteristics of Innovations

  • Categories of Adopters

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Marketing Implications

  • The topics in this chapter must be considered when formulating a global marketing plan

  • Environmental Sensitivity reflects the extent to which products must be adapted to the culture-specific needs of different national markets

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Looking Ahead to Chapter 5

The Political, Legal, and Regulatory Environments of Global Marketing

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Social Institutions

  • Family

  • Education

  • Religion

  • Government

  • Business

  • These institutions function to reinforce cultural norms


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Physical components of culture







Subjective or abstract culture






Material and Nonmaterial


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What do you associate with Red?

Active, hot, vibrant

Weddings in some Asian cultures

Poorly received in African countries

With white?

Purity, cleanliness

Death in parts of Asia

Aesthetics and Color


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Phonology in action

  • Colgate is a Spanish command that means ‘go hang yourself’

  • Technology implications for Text messages

    • 8282 means ‘hurry up’ (Korea)

    • 7170 means ‘close friend’ (Korea)

    • 4 5683 968 means ‘I Love You’ (Korea)


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The Adoption Process

  • The mental stages through which an individual passes from the time of his or her first knowledge of an innovation to the time of product adoption or purchase

    • Awareness

    • Interest

    • Evaluation

    • Trial

    • Adoption


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Characteristics of Innovations

  • Innovation is something new, five factors that affect the rate at which innovations are adopted include

    • Relative advantage

    • Compatibility

    • Complexity

    • Divisibility

    • Communicability


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Categories of Adopters

  • Classifications of individuals within a market on the basis of their innovativeness.

  • Five categories

    • Innovators

    • Early Adopters

    • Early majority

    • Late majority

    • Laggards