Course plan 1. Session 1 a) Course introduction b) Cross-cultural consumer behaviour Textbook: Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 (please focus on chapter 4) Session 2 Standardization vs. adaption 1 Textbook: Chapters 5, 6, 8 From the text collection: Theodore Levitt: The Globalization of Markets
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Textbook: Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 (please focus on chapter 4)
Textbook: Chapters 5, 6, 8
From the text collection:
Theodore Levitt: The Globalization of Markets
William B. Werther, Jr.: Toward Global Convergence
Marieke De Mooij: Convergence and divergence in consumer behaviour: implications for global advertising
See lecture 2
Textbook: chapter 7
From the text collection:
Eastin and Daugherty: Past, Current, and Future Trends…..
Apple wanted int’l campaign (16 countries)
A’s first attempt at co-ordinated European launch
A’s country managers enjoyed much autonomy
A three years behind competitors
How it was done
- Apple organizations in DK, D, GB, F, S, USA presented ideas for print ad campaigns – checked by agency.
- The 16 country managers were shown the ideas but origins were disclosed.
- The French idea won; ”The Powerbook is for storing ideas not data.”
- Idea based on ideas scribbled on paper tablecloth, which wouldn’t work in
- Each country made its own ads based on the French idea following written
guidelines form the agency.
- Agency called it a ”campaign done multi-locally”.
Technology is the main force of globalization.
”Which strategy is better is not a matter of opinion but of necessity.”
”Gone are accustomed differences in national or regional preference.”
"National rules of the road differ…."
"Everyone……wants products and features that everybody else wants. If the price is low enough, they will take highly standardized world product…”
(Usunier (2000), p. 140: ”This naive view of world diversity states that we are all converging towards a ’modern” lifestyle marked by standard products and consumption patterns world-wide.”)
”Of course, large companies operating in a single nation or even a single city don’t standardize everything they make, sell, or do……..But although companies customize products for particular market segments, they know that success in a world with homogenized demand requires a search for sales opportunities in similar segments across the globe in order to achieve the economies of scale necessary to compete.”
”Such a search works because a market segment in one country is seldom unique; it has close cousins everywhere precisely because technology has homogenized the globe.”
"Different cultural preferences, national tastes and standards, and business institutions are vestiges of the past. Some inheritances die gradually: others prosper and expand into mainstream global preferences." (Chinese food and pita bread)
"In fact the customers said they wanted certain features, but their behavior demonstrated they'd take other features provided the price and promotion were right." = "..never assume that the customer is a king who knows his own wishes."
"What we see today as escalating commercial nationalism is simply the last violent death rattle of an obsolete institution."
There are differences "But the global corporation accepts and adjusts to these differences only reluctantly…”
”In early 2000, the company’s new chairman and CEO, Doug Daft, announced a new ’think local, act local’ mind-set. This ends years of Coca-Cola’s marketing being strictly controlled form its Atlanta headquarters.”
”Coke’s mantra under Daft is to make connections with local people in a way that is relevant to them.”
””So far, we have created a world of Coke and invited people into it. Going forward, we will try to understand the world of people and provide the services and brands they need.””
(strategieseurope, February 2001)
And don’t forget:
”So when the question comes up, why can’t we just use English? I always ask this question: do you think that consumers should make the effort to understand us, or should we be making the effort to be understood by them?”
(Simon Anholt: Another One Bites the Grass, p.48)
Youth culture + freed markets = competitive convergence
The McDonald's Generation:
"Music…has become a global language uniting successive generations from Santiago to Miami, Beijing to Moscow.."
"..the largely English-speaking media have permeated the globe, molding an increasingly uniform teenage culture."
The marginalization of grandparents as transmittors of cultural values. – Role to some degree taken over by technology.
Traditional values and aspirations of family, health, and well-being are not being discarded, but we're witnessing the injection of new, widely agreed-upon values of freedom ……….the pattern is far from universal, but it is moving towards universality.
”Such a growing uniformity of culture results from billions of points of contact among young people and media every day.”
Free trade agreements etc. = economic growth
Governments giving up economic controls
"Instead they [people] will slowly emerge to reveal a world increasingly devoid of war, famine, bigotry, and oppression - because none of these conditions are particularly favorable for free trade…"
"…as the drum grows louder, more people will march to its unifying beat.”
Pernod gives local operations and brands plenty of autonomy.
To cater to local demand Pernod adapts its ad campaigns to each country and employs a large number of small local ad firms.
The Pernod strategy makes it harder to cut costs through centralization and to control a brand’s image.
Pernod is better able to adapt to the big differences in the way alcohol is consumed in different countries
Believes in centralisation and standardisation.
Hires fewer ad agencies and runs big, global campaigns.Local tastes: The Economist, 17 November, 2005.
”Bharatmatrimony’s boss, Janakiram Murugavel, says that language is the biggest criterion. His site is divided into 15 linguistic sections. Then comes status and caste, which divides Indians at birth into thousands of groups. About 70% of his customers want to marry within their caste. Most still use astrology. Bharatmatrimony offers an online horoscope service.”
1: Rapid world-wide expansion of cable and satellite TV channels, which along with movies and the Internet expose millions of kids to the same popular icons.
2: The widening international reach of retailing giants such as Wal-Mart and
Carrefour and Toys ’R’ Us.
* If variables are similar: Standardize
* If variables differ: Adapt
The variables chosen by the researchers:
1. American values
2. British values
3) Rhetorical style
4) Advertising appeals
5) Occasion for product usage
A significantly greater number of American commercials reflect predominantly American cultural values than British commercials, specifically individualism/independence, modernity/newness, achievement
A significantly greater number of British commercials reflect predominantly British cultural values than US commercials, specifically: Affiliation Tradition/history, Eccentricity
A significantly greater number of US commercials use direct speech, while a significantly greater number of British commercials use indirect speech.
A significantly greater number of US commercials employ emotional and sex appeal than British commercials
A significantly greater number of British commercials employ humor appeals than US commercials
A significantly greater number of American commercials present the circumstances under which beer is consumed as a special occasion, while a significantly greater number of British commercials present the circumstances under which beer is consumed as a regular occasion
A combination of content analysis and semiology was used
Its focus is normally limited to manifest content
– that which is apparent only at the surface level
Semiotics (studying/interpreting signs and codes)
Offers an interpretive perspective to the meaning buried deeper within the text.
The weaknesses of semiotics:
a) heavily reliant on the ability of the individual analyst
= suffers in its consistency and reliability
b) semiology is not easily quantifiable
= difficult to obtain general conclusions
c) works better on some ads than others
1. Only ads created for domestic brewers of both countries were used
2. Ads must have been for the brand itself, not an event or contest sponsored by the brand
3. The ads must have been current
The American sample: 24 commercial for 12 brands
The British sample: 38 commercials for 19 brands
Individualism/independence present 70.8 15.8
Modernity/newness 45.8 0
Achievement 70.8 10.5
Tradition/history 4.2 44.7
Eccentricity 4.2 81.6
Rhetorical style Direct speech 91.7 2.6
Rhetorical style Indirect speech 8.3 97.4
Dominant advertising appeal
Emotional or sex 78.9 8.1
Humor 21.1 91.9
Occasion for product usage
Regular 14.3 83.8
Special or not applicable/
product not shown in use 85.7 16.2
UK Ireland U.S.
I'm trying to return to a more simple way of life
32% 28% 46%
Couples should live together before getting married
33% 37% 28%
The man should be the boss of the house
18% 18% 29%
Women should put their family before their career
54% 54% 58%
UK Ireland U.S.
Advertising insults my intelligence
42% 23% 49%
I'll try almost everything once
70% 63% 52%
I like to look attractive to members of the opposite sex
51% 49% 68%
It is important to me to make a lot of money
20% 42% 39%
I feel I'm under a great deal of pressure most of the time
32% 28% 45%
"Consumers are immersed in local marketing environments that tend progressively to converge.“ (p. 155)
There are three major components of a local marketing environment that have a more or less direct influence on how marketing strategy can be defined an implemented:
1. The general environment: political, legal, social, cultural, and linguistic elements.
2. "Much nearer to the actual marketing decisions": marketing institutions and infrastructures: distribution, ad agencies, professional associations, regulatory bodies and how marketing regulations are enforced.
3. Local marketing knowledge (often blatantly overlooked) – matters: if people, as employees, consumers or viewers, do not know, misunderstand and/or do not accept marketing concepts and practices, it is possible that strategies will be hard to implement.
Ouch! There are other cultural differences. American parents want the top selling kids kitchen upgraded to include a TV on the worktop like most US homes. Meanwhile, the Spanish didn't like the packaging for the toy kitchen because it showed a young boy doing the cooking and the French didn't like the pink kitsch colors and demanded more realism."
The Express, 6 December 2001
”When trying to understand local marketing environments, self-criticism is a necessary perspective because we understand our local environment from our own ethnocentric perspective. There is always a reference point that makes judgements implicitly comparative.”…”If local people do not properly understand or appreciate the interviewing process in market research, a value judgement would be to say that they are underdeveloped and need to be educated.”(P. 155)
The role of e.g. the EU?
The European consumer?
Borrowed concepts and practices (p. 159)
Interesting and relevant discussion
Usunier e.g. is French
”Marketing infrastructures are converging, because the standards of the marketing profession are fairly constistent worldwide. Multinational companies have heavily influenced the widespread adoption of similar practices even if to some extent tailored to local environments.”
”Consumer behaviour, a natural entry barrier related to culture, will diminish very gradually and only over a long period: there are still many very different marketing ’villages’, not a global one.” (P. 218)
”The trends towards global markets differ fairly widely depending on the industry. ” (P. 219)
”Cultural products which build on fairly universal feelings and ways of being are the ones to which standardized marketing policy can be applied.” (p. 231)
”In fact, international marketing programmes have experienced a trend towards greater standardization, but this needs to be differentiated, according to:
(1) the elements of the marketing mix considered;
(2) the type of market, e.g. developed or undeveloped;
(3) type of product; consumer or industrial;
(4) the control exerted over e.g. subsidiary.” (p. 230)
”Globalization is a process which occurs mainly at the competition level. Artificial entry barriers, related to duties and standards, are now being progressively replaced by natual entry barriers related to scale and experience. For international marketing, culture-related experience is all the more important since the natural entry barriers relating to consumer behaviour and marketing environments will diminish very gradually and only in the long term.”
Cultural affinity zones:
Correspond to a large extent to national cultural groups.
Cultural affinity classes:
People within a cultural affinity class…”have a tendency to share common values, behaviour and interets, and tend to present common traits as a consumer segment; their lifestyles converge world-wide irrespective of national borders. As such, we see lifestyle convergence in teenagers in Europe who spend time watching MTV.” (P. 232)
"Cultural affinity classes…….are probably an ideal means of defining an international target for standardized products."(p. 233)
Some points for discussion 1:
Some points for discussion 2:
Values are the basis for segmentation and positioning decisions.
All people everywhere possess the same values to different degrees (Rokeach)
Two levels of values (Rokeach):
1. Terminal (end-states): e.g. freedom, equality, self-respect
2. Instrumental (motivators to reach end-states): ambitious, cheerful, forgiving.
Some values may change over the long term
Age and point in time of people's lives can cause value differences
”Values offer an opportunity to differentiate brands by going beyond a focus on attributes and benefits, or the deliverance of higher-level consequences to consumers.”
Modern advertising strategy development includes:
Intrumental values (motivators) Terminal values (end states)
Ambitious A comfortable life
Broadminded An exciting life
Capable A sense of accomplishment
Cheerful A world at peace
Clean A world of beauty
Forgiving Family security
Imaginative Inner harmony
Independent Mature love
Intellectual National security
Polite Social recognition
Responsible True friendship
Toothpaste – an example
Values security self-confidence
Consequences/ prevents clean, white teeth
Attributes sugarless strong
Research reflects values/culture of the researcher
Differences in rankings of priorities of values
Terminal values of one culture may be instrumental in other cultures
Certain values of one culture may not exist in another culture
Until recently mainly been based on U.S. tools
Values are beliefs that a specific mode of conduct or end-state is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence.
Lifestyle is an exhibited set of shared values of tastes
Lifestyle is the manner in which people conduct their lives, including their activities, interests and opinions.
Psychographics: the concept of dividing markets into segments on the basis of consumer lifestyles, attitudes and interests.
(Kahle & Chiagouris: Values, Lifestyles and Psychographics)
”Emotional appeals relate to the customers’ social and/or psycological needs for purchasing a product or service. Many of consumers’ motives for their purchase decisions are emotional, and their feelings about a brand can be more important than knowledge of its features or atributes.”
Personal states or feelings Social-based feelings
Safety Security Recognition
Love Affection Status
Happiness Joy Respect
Nostalgia Sentiment Involvement
Excitement Arousal Embarrassment
Sorrow/grief Pride Affiliation/belonging
Achievement Self-esteem Rejection
Actualization Pleasure Acceptance
Ambition Comfort Approval
(Belch & Belch, Advertising and Promotion)
Master over environment
Try to imagine different cultures and products affiliated with the different motives.
(Adapted from Solomon: Consumer Behavior)
"Paradoxial values are found within cultures and between cultures. Every culture has its opposing values."
"Value paradoxes are part of people's systems; they reflect the desirable versus the desired in life. On the one hand, one should not sin; on the other hand most of us do sin now and again. We don't want to be fat, we should eat healthy food, yet we do eat chocolate or drink beer and we do get fat.”
”Because the important value paradoxes vary by culture, value-adding advertising cannot be exported from one culture to another.”
(de Mooij, Global Marketing and Advertising, p. 2)
VPs must be understood or you delude yourself and think that the world is becoming one global culture with similar values.
VPs reflect the desirable versus the desired in life
De Mooij: understanding and using the VPs of individual cultures = effective marketing communications
The "Think global, act local" paradox
(You are always product of your own culture)
The technology paradox
(Technology hasn’t led towards similar needs for similar products)
The media paradox
(Technology hasn’t meant increased viewer freedom)
The culture-free versus culture-bound paradox
(There are no culture-free products)
Local markets are people, global markets are products
(Many global advertisers are not market oriented, they are product oriented)
The paradoxes in marketing
(Marketing practice and theory often based on U.S. values and thinking)
Focus on the individual
(Traditionally focus has been on the individual)
Effective advertising needs a shared culture
(If buying motives for standardized products vary by country, how can a standardized campaign be equally effective in all countries?)
The research paradox
(Value and lifestyle research is culture-bound, but studies and techniques are often exported”)
How advertising works
”As Firat, [describing the postmodern existence], rightly observes, ’In an overwhelmingly marketized existence, individuals experience practically all aspects of their lives as consumers’. Whereas consumption was not always highly regarded in modern consumption, the postmodernist consumer pursues, with little afterthought, the construction of their self-image.”
”Because the postmodern consumer experience is not one of committing to a single way of being, a single form of existence, the same consumers are willing to sample the different, fragmented artifacts. The consumer is ready to have Italian for lunch and Chinese for dinner, to wear Levi’s 501 blue jeans for the outdoor party in the afternoon and to try the Gucci suit at night – changing not only diets and clothes but also the personas and selves that are to be (re)presented at each function.”
(Firat in Usunier & Lee, p. 136)
”Consumption is no longer just about a simple purchase or the satisfaction of basic needs and wants, but a culturally determined behavioral pattern which forces us to choose and change the elements of our lifestyle.”
”…and it is first of all through our way of consuming that we define ourselves as individuals.”
(Frandsen, Johansen & Nielsen, 1997, p. 7)
”Rather than converging towards a single mode of being or living that is deemed to be the best, as envisioned by the project of modernity, postmodernity allows for the recognition that various communities will have preferences for different ways of being and living, and that these preferences most likely will be shaped by a multiplicity of goals and values.”
”The postmodern sensibility, in other words, does not envision the posibility of consensus on any foundational or fundamental essentials representing ’a universal.’ Instead, a multiplicity of perspectives, truths, and life experiences are sought and expected.”
(Kimmel, Allan J. (ed.): Marketing Communication, Oxford University Press 2005)
Some of the conditions of postmodern culture:
Hyperreality: …the becoming real of that which was or is hype or simulation; that is, when a substantive and powerful segment in society believe certain conditions that are forcefully represented to be the case, these conditions then become their reality. E.g. when a group of young people believe that wearing athletic shoes of a certain brand will bring them popularity, it indeed becomes the case.”
Fragmentation: …the condition that life is disconnected or disjointed. Home life, work life, recreation time, tv time, time with pets etc. are all separate experiences and lack a center of unity.
Decentering of the subject: …is the condition in modern life that the subject (the human agent), who was considered to be the center of all reason, has lost his/her agency, and has to share the capability to act upon things with objects (of desire), or is often acted upon by objects. An obvious example is the influence of objects such as television or the automobile on human beings.
Some of the conditions of postmodern culture:
Paradoxical juxtaposition of opposites: …is the condition that many so-called ’proper’ ensembles are no longer exercised. This is a condition that is especially recognized in architecture, where architectural elements from different systems considered to be incompatible are combined, but is also found in everyday clothing and liftstyles, for example, in the combined use of punk hairdos with high-fashion clothing.
Tolerance for difference and multiplicity: There is a tacit understanding among peoples of the world who realize the futility of seeking a consensus among all different perspectives, values, and worldviews, and instead accept an openness toward a multicultural existence.
”Together these conditions represent a blurring of distinctions that were fundamental to the constitution of modernity; the distinctions between reality and fantasy, mind and body, subject and object, material and symbolic, production and consumption, order and chaos. Through these distinctions, modernity attempted to construct a normative order for the realization of the modern project.”
”In the postmodern sensibility, these bipolar or oppositional dichotomies that determine what is proper and improper, what is a privileged norm or unworthy, are diffused, offering instead multiplicity and complexity. Under these conditions, to expect a single meaning or interpretation to be derived from one’s communication is neither possible nor fruitful.”
What was communicated was the result of the communicator’s decision, whereas the audience merely was exposed to the message and expected to decode it.
The emphasis is on communication management, predictability and control.
In the modern context communication is not considered an active.
Communication is merely a carrier of messages between producers and consumers
Now the assumption is that in whatever the author wrote, there are unspoken or hidden agendas, historical baggage, and political imperatives that the author may or may not be aware of. Therefore, from each reader’s point of view, era, and culture there can and should be different, critical readings, which effectively reconstitute what is written.
From a marketing communication perspective, one of the most important implications of postmodernity is the loss of control, consistency, and predictability that the modern perspective took for granted.
Contemporary marketers need to realize that they no longer are the masters of meaning, that their products and messages are creations with a life of their own, and that their intended receivers are not passive targets but creative partners in the production of experiences and identities.