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Culture Sociological Influences on Consumer Decision Making People are sensitive to the values, behaviors and beliefs of the people around them. Culture is considered to have a more subtle and more pervasive influence on consumer decision making than any other “Circle of Social Influence.”

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sociological influences on consumer decision making
Sociological Influences on Consumer Decision Making
  • People are sensitive to the values, behaviors and beliefs of the people around them.
  • Culture is considered to have a more subtle and more pervasive influence on consumer decision making than any other “Circle of Social Influence.”
  • What is culture?
    • a set of traditional beliefs and values that are transmitted and shared in a given society
  • Cultural prescribes the kinds of behavior considered acceptable in a society
  • Culture provides a useful function by facilitating communication among those within a culture
nature of culture components
Nature of Culture - Components
  • Norms: rules that designate forms of acceptable and unacceptable behavior
  • Customs: behaviors that last over time and are passed down in the family setting
  • Mores: moral standards of behavior
  • Conventions: practices tied to the conduct of everyday life in various settings
components of culture continued
Components of Culture (continued)
  • Sanctions: taking negative actions against members of a culture who do not conform to the norms, customs, mores or conventions of the society.
culture is
Culture Is . . .
  • Shared
    • culture is based on social interaction
  • Learned
    • culture is not genetically acquired – as such it is possible for people to absorb new cultures and cultural trends
  • Subjective
    • people in different cultures have different ideas about the same object
  • Enduring
    • culture is shared and passed from generation to generation
  • Dynamic
    • culture gradually changes from one generation to the next
effect of culture on consumption and marketing
Effect of Culture on Consumption and Marketing
  • Cultural places restrictions on consuming certain goods
    • Pork, chicken, beef, sushi, alcohol, locusts, etc.
  • Products people buy, the attributes they value, and the options they accept, are all culture-based choices
effect of culture on thinking process
Effect of Culture on Thinking Process
  • Self-Reference Criterion (SRC)
    • refers to phenomenon of making reference, perhaps subconsciously, back to personal cultural values
    • Examples
    • A researcher or marketing manager must attempt to eliminate the SRC effect – problems should be defined in terms of the culture of the host country
effect of culture on communication process
Effect of Culture on Communication Process
  • A classification to provide an understanding of cultural orientations and explain how communication is conveyed and perceived
    • Low-context culture – messages are explicit and clear in the sense that actual words are used to convey the main part of information in communication; words can be separated from context in which they occur
    • High-context culture – communication is indirect; verbal part does not carry most of the information; context of communication is high because it contains a good deal of information
    • Need to realize whether you’re dealing with high or low context culture to effectively communication – advertisement
effect of culture on communication process10
Effect of Culture on Communication Process
  • Low Context Cultures
  • Tends to prefer direct verbal interaction
  • Tends to understand meaning at one level only
  • Is generally less proficient in reading non-verbal cues
  • Values individualism
  • Relies more on logic
  • Employs linear logic
  • Says no directly
  • Communicates in highly structured messages, stresses literal meanings, gives authority to written info
  • High Context Cultures
  • Tends to prefer indirect verbal interaction
  • Tends to understand meanings embedded at many socio-cultural levels
  • Is generally more proficient in reading nonverbal cues
  • Values group membership
  • Relies more on context and feeling
  • Employs spiral logic
  • Talks around point, avoids saying no
  • Communicates in simple, ambiguous, non-contexted messages; understands visual messages readily

Low High

Context Context

Culture German, North American, French, Spanish, Mexican, Arab, Chinese, Japanese Culture

effect of culture on communication process11
Effect of Culture on Communication Process
  • There are also differences in the manner by which information processing occurs
    • Monochronic culture – handles information in a direct linear fashion; sense that time forms a straight line
    • Polychronic culture – handles information on several fronts simultaneously instead of pursing a single task
effect of culture on communication process13
Effect of Culture on Communication Process
  • Example
    • Germany is a monochronic/low context culture
    • France is a polychronic/high context culture
    • Thus, a German might insult a French counterpart by giving too much information about what is already known. Or a German might become upset that they don’t get enough details from a French individual.
communication faux pas
Communication Faux-pas
  • GM fiasco in Central & South America
    • In Spanish, “No va” means “It Doesn’t Go”
  • The Dairy Assoc. huge success with the campaign “Got Milk?” prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico.
    • They soon found out that the Spanish translation reads “Are you lactating?”
communication faux pas15
Communication Faux-pas
  • Coors put its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, where it was read as “Suffer from Diarrhea.”
  • Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing Sucks Like an Electrolux.”
communication faux pas16
Communication Faux-pas
  • Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick,” a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “Mist” is slang for manure.
    • Not too many people had use for the “Manure Stick.”
  • Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
communication faux pas17
Communication Faux-pas
  • When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the U.S.—with the smiling baby on the label.
    • Later they learned that in Africa companies routinely put pictures of what’s inside on the labels since many people can’t read.
communication faux pas18
Communication Faux-pas
  • Pepsi’s “Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation” translates in Chinese into “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave.”
  • Frank Perdue’s chicken slogan, “It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” was translated in Spanish as “It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”
other communication issues language of
Other Communication Issues:Language of . . .
  • Time
  • Space
  • Agreement
  • Friendship
  • Negotiation
  • Religion
  • Superstition
  • Gifts
consumer behavior
Consumer Behavior
  • What cultural factors drive consumer behavior?
  • Hofstede came up with five dimensions to describe national social values
  • Complete survey
hofstede s dimensions of culture
Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture
  • Power Distance
  • Uncertainty Avoidance
  • Individualism/Collectivism
  • Masculinity/Femininity
  • Time Orientation
hofstede s dimensions of culture22
Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture
  • Power Distance (PD)
    • High power distance means people accept inequality in power among institutions, organizations, and people; high PD cultures usually have centralized, top-down control; low PD cultures imply greater equality and empowerment
  • Uncertainty Avoidance (UA)
    • High uncertainty avoidance means that members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity; high UA cultures have strong traditions and rituals and tend toward bureaucratic structures and rules
hofstede s dimensions of culture23
Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture
  • Individualism vs. Collectivism
    • Individualism - reflects a value for a loosely knit social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of themselves; individual rights are more important than group rights
    • Collectivism - is a preference for a tightly knit social framework in which individuals look after one another; group rights are important; tend to find in cultures with strong family values
hofstede s dimensions of culture24
Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture
  • Masculinity versus Femininity
    • Masculinity - cultures stress the importance of achievement, heroism, assertiveness, and material success – toughness and achievement are valued
    • Femininity - cultures value relationships, modesty, caring for the weak, and quality of life
  • Time Orientation
    • Long-term – patient; willing to wait for results; delays gratification to achieve long-term success
    • Short-term – impatient; people expect rapid feedback from decisions, expect quick profits, etc
hofstede s dimensions of culture25
Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture
  • Are these measures useful for anything?
    • Collectivist cultures have 3x more accidents than individualistic cultures; high PD cultures have about 2.5x more accidents than low PD cultures
    • More individualistic and less UA cultures tend to be more innovative and entrepreneurial
    • PD and individualism affects brand strategies
      • use brand images that de-emphases social, symbolic, and sensory benefits of product in low PD countries
      • high PD countries should focus on social and/or sensory needs of a product
      • In individualistic cultures, brands should focus on functionality, verity, novelty, etc.
      • In collectivist countries, social brand image strategies will be more appealing
hofstede s dimensions of culture26
Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture

Source: Zandpour et al.; J. Advertising Research, 1994

cultural values
Cultural Values
  • Personal values – enduring beliefs that specific modes of conduct or end-states of existence are preferred to other specific modes of conduct or end-states.
    • Instrumental values: modes of conduct in order to obtain certain end-states
    • Terminal values: the end-states toward which a person is moving.
identifying cultural values
Identifying Cultural Values
  • Rokeach personal values scale
    • Useful in identifying how culturally relevant instrumental and terminal values shape demand for goods and services
    • See survey
cultural dimensions and values
Cultural Dimensions and Values
  • Data can be used to conduct cross-cultural analysis of consumer behavior
    • determine relevant motivations in culture
    • determine characteristic behavior patterns
    • determine broad cultural values relevant to product
    • determine characteristic forms of decision making
    • evaluate promotion methods appropriate for culture
    • determine appropriate institutions for the product in mind of consumers