Social and
Cultural
Environments
Global Marketing
Chapter 4
1
Introduction
This chapter includes:
• Society, Culture, and
Consumer Culture
• Ethnocentricity and
Self-Reference Criterion
• Hall’s Theory
• Maslow’s Hierarchy
• Hofstede’s Cultural
Typology
• Diffusion Theory
African Market
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Task of Global Marketers
• Study and understand the cultures of
countries in which they will be doing business
• Incorporate this understanding into the
marketing planning process
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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 includes conscious and unconscious
values, ideas, attitudes, and symbols that shape
human behavior and that are transmitted from
one generation to the next.
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• A culture acts out its ways of living in the context
of social institutions, including family,
educational, religious, governmental, and
business institutions.
• Culture is both physical (clothing and tools) and
nonphysical (religion, attitudes, beliefs, and
values)
Culture can be divided into two broad categories:
• Material culture
• Nonmaterial culture
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Social Institutions
•
•
•
•
•
•
Family
Education
Religion
Government
Business
These institutions function to reinforce
cultural norms
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Material and
Nonmaterial Culture
• Physical
component or
physical culture
– Clothing
– Tools
– Decorative art
– Body
adornment
– Homes
• Subjective or
abstract culture
– Religion
– Perceptions
– Attitudes
– Beliefs
– Values
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• Material culture: the physical component
or physical culture and includes physical
objects and artifacts created by humans
such as clothing and tools.
• Nonmaterial culture: the subjective or
abstract culture and includes intangibles
such as religion, perceptions, attitudes,
beliefs, and values.
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• Cultural universals” are those elements of culture
evident in all societies.
• These “universals” include: athletic sports, body
adornment, cooking, courtship, dancing,
decorative art, education, ethics, etiquette, family
feasting, food taboos, language, marriage,
mealtime, medicine, mourning, music, property
rights, religious rituals, residents rules, status
differentiation, and trade.
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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
• A nation, an ethic group, a gender group, an
organization, or a family may be considered
as a category.
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Society, Culture, and
Global Consumer Culture
• Global consumer cultures are emerging
– Persons who share meaningful sets of consumptionrelated symbols
– Pub culture, coffee culture, fast-food culture, credit
card culture
• Primarily the product of a technologically
interconnected world
– Internet
– Satellite TV
– Cell phones
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• Because of technologies such as satellite TV,
Internet, cell phones, and other communication
channels marketers have begun to see the
emergence of the global consumer.
• The hallmark of this culture is consumption. As
the world becomes more interconnected and as
cultural imagery continues to freely flow across
national borders it can be expected that this
culture will grow.
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Attitudes, Beliefs, and Values
• Attitude–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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• By accepting Hofstede’s definition of culture (the
collective programming of the mind) it would
make sense to learn about culture by studying the
attitudes, beliefs, and values shared by a specific
group of people.
• Values represent the deepest level of a culture
and are shared by the majority of members.
• Within any culture, there are likely to be
subcultures, that is, smaller groups of people
with their own shared subset of attitudes, beliefs,
and values.
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• Subcultures may represent attractive niche
marketing opportunities, i.e., vegetarians.
• Ex.: Japanese values include striving for
cooperation, consensus, self-denial, and
harmony.
• A Japanese belief is that they are unique in the
world. Japanese youth believe that the West is a
important source of fashion trends. Therefore,
many Japanese share a favorable attitude
towards American brands.
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Religion
• Religion is an important
source of a society’s beliefs,
attitudes, and values.
• The world’s major religions
include Buddhism, Hinduism,
Islam, Judaism, and
Christianity
• Religious tenets, practices,
holidays, and history impact
global marketing activities.
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• Example:
• Hindus do not eat beef, which means that
McDonald’s does not serve hamburgers in India.
• In the aftermath of the September 2001 terror
attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. and the
subsequent American military actions in the
Middle East, some Muslims have tapped into antiAmerican sentiment by urging a boycott of
American brands.
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Aesthetics
• 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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• Within every culture, there is an overall sense of
what is beautiful and what is not beautiful, what
represents good taste as opposed to
tastelessness or even obscenity, and so on. Such
considerations are matters of aesthetics.
• Global marketers need to understand the
importance of visual aesthetics embodied in the
color or shape of product, label, or package.
• Likewise, different parts of the world perceive
aesthetic styles – various degrees of complexity,
for example – differently.
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Aesthetics and Color
• Because color preferences vary among cultures,
such perceptions should be considered in product
packaging and communications especially in
highly competitive markets
• Red–associated with blood, wine-making, activity,
heat, and vibrancy in many countries but is poorly
received in some African countries.
• White–identified with purity and cleanliness in
the West, with death in parts of Asia.
• Gray–means inexpensive in Japan and China, but
high quality and expensive in the U.S.
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The Meaning of Color
Yellow
indicates a
merchant in
India
Red signifies
good luck and
celebration in
China
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In England
and the U.S.,
“Something
Blue” on a
bride’s garter
symbolizes
fidelity 4-21
Dietary Preferences
• Cultural influences are also quite apparent in
food preparation and consumption patterns
and habits.
• Domino’s Pizza pulled out of Italy because its
products were seen as “too American” with bold
tomato sauce and heavy toppings.
• To successfully launch the Subway chain in India,
it was necessary to educate consumers about the
benefits of the company’s sandwiches. Why?
Because Indians do not normally consume bread.
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Language and Communication
Linguistic Category
Language Example
Syntax-rules of sentence
English has relatively fixed word order;
Russian has relatively free word order.
Semantics-system of
Japanese words convey nuances of
feeling for which other languages lack
exact correlations; ‘yes’ and ‘no’ can be
interpreted differently than in other
languages.
Phonology-system of
Japanese does not distinguish between
the sounds ‘l’ and ‘r’; English and
Russian both have ‘l’ and ‘r’ sounds.
Morphology-word
Russian is a highly inflected language,
with six different case endings for
nouns and adjectives; English has fewer
inflections.
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formation
meaning
sound patterns
formation
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Language and Communication
• Speaking English
around the Globe
– There are more people
who speak English as a
foreign language than
native speakers
– 85% of European teens
study English
– Sony, Nokia, Matsushita
require managers to
speak English
• Nonverbal
Communication
– Westerners tend to be
verbal; Asians value
nonverbal communication
– In Japan, bowing has
many nuances
– In the Mideast,
Westerners should not
show the soles of shoes
or pass documents with
the left hand
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• In global marketing, language is a crucial tool for
communicating with customers, channel
intermediaries, and others.
• “Light beer” failed for both Miller and AnheuserBusch in the U.K. because it was perceived as
light in alcohol.
• Good Housekeeping magazine had to adapt for the
Japanese market. “Housekeeping” is most closely
translated as “domestic duties,” which may be
tasks performed by servants.
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Marketing’s Impact on Culture
• Universal aspects of the cultural
environment represent opportunities to
standardize elements of a marketing
program
• Increasing travel and improved
communications have contributed to a
convergence of tastes and preferences in a
number of product categories
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Controversy Surrounding
Marketing’s Impact on Culture
•
“McDonaldization of
culture”
“Eating is at the heart of most
cultures and for many it is
something on which much time,
attention, and money are lavished.
In attempting to alter the way people
eat, McDonaldization poses a
profound threat to the entire cultural
complex of many societies.”
-George Ritzer
•
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Protest against the opening
of McDonald’s in Rome led
to the establishment of the
Slow Food movement 4-27
• This slide illustrates one organization that is
protesting the growth of a global consumer
culture. It grew out of a 1986 protest over the
opening of a McDonald’s on a popular plaza in
Rome. Every two years, Slow Food stages a
Salone del Gusto in Italy that is designed to
showcase traditional food preparation. There are
other organizations like this around the world and
global marketers need to be aware of the
resistance to marketing’s push for a global
culture.
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High- and Low-Context
Cultures
• High Context
– Information resides in
context
– Emphasis on background,
basic values, societal
status
– Less emphasis on legal
paperwork
– Focus on personal
reputation
• Saudi Arabia, Japan
• Low Context
– Messages are explicit and
specific
– Words carry all
information
– Reliance on legal
paperwork
– Focus on non-personal
documentation of
credibility
• Switzerland, U.S.,
Germany
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• Edward T. Hall forwarded the concept of highand low-context to explain cultural orientations.
• In a low-context culture, messages are explicit
and specific; words carry most of the
communication power.
• In a high-context culture, less information is
contained in the verbal part of a message. More
information resides in the context of
communication, including the background,
associations, and basic values of the
communicators.
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• High-context cultures function with much less
legal paperwork than low-context cultures (e.g.,
Japan and Saudi Arabia place emphasis on a
person’s values and social position)
• In a low-context culture such as the U.S. or
Germany, deals are made with less information
about character, background, and values. Much
more reliance is placed upon words and numbers.
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• In a high-context culture, a person’s word is his
bond. In these cultures, shared feelings of
obligation and honor take the place of impersonal
legal sanctions.
• Japan, Saudi Arabia, and other high-context
cultures place a great deal of emphasis on a
person's values and position or place in society. In
such cultures, a business loan is more likely to be
based on “who you are” than on formal analysis
of pro forma financial documents.
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• In a low-context culture such as the United
States, Switzerland, or Germany, deals are
made with much less information about
the character, background, and values of
the participants. Much more reliance is
placed upon the words and numbers in the
loan application.
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High- and
Low-Context Cultures
Factor/Dimension
High Context
Low Context
Lawyers
Less Important
Very Important
A person’s word
Is his/her bond
Is not reliable–get it in writing
Responsibility for
Organizational error
Taken by highest level
Pushed to the lowest level
Space
People breathe on each
other
Private space maintained
Time
Polychronic
Monochronic
Competitive Bidding
Infrequent
Common
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Hofstede’s Cultural Typology
•
•
•
•
•
Power Distance
Individualism/Collectivism
Masculinity
Uncertainty Avoidance
Long-term Orientation
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• Hofstede is well known for research studies of
social values suggesting that the cultures of
different nations can be compared in terms of
five dimensions. (Table 4-3).
• Three of the dimensions refer to expected social
behavior, one dimension is concerned with
“man’s search for Truth,” and one dimension
reflects the importance of time.
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• Power distance. This is the extent to which
the less powerful members of a society
accept power to be distributed unequally.
“All societies are unequal, but some are
more unequal than others.”
• High power distance: Hong Kong and
France.
• Low power distance: Austria and
Scandinavia.
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• The second dimension is a reflection of the
degree to which individuals in a society are
integrated into groups.
• Individualist cultures: each member of society is
primarily concerned with his or her own interest
and those of the immediate family. (United States
and Europe)
• Collectivist cultures, all of society's members are
integrated into cohesive in-groups. (Japanese and
other Asian cultures)
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• Throughout much of Asia, the collectivist
orientation is dominant. The U.S. is a highly
individualist culture.
• In highly individualistic cultures, ads often
feature one person; in collectivist
countries, ads feature groups.
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• Masculinity. This dimension describes a society in
which men are expected to be assertive,
competitive, and concerned with material
success, and women fulfill the role of nurturer.
Examples are Japan and Austria.
• Femininity, by contrast, describes a society in
which the social roles of men and women
overlap, with neither gender exhibiting overly
competitive behavior.
• Examples are Spain, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.
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• Uncertainty avoidance. This is the extent to
which the members of a society are
uncomfortable with unclear, ambiguous, or
unstructured situations. Members of uncertainty
accepting cultures are more tolerant of persons
whose opinions differ from their own.
• Examples: Denmark and the United States.
• At the other end are Greece and Portugal.
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• A long-term orientation (LTO) versus shortterm orientation to assess the sense of
immediacy within a culture, whether
gratification should be immediate or
deferred.
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Self-Reference Criterion
and Perception
• A person’s perception of market needs is framed
by his or her own cultural experience. A
framework for reducing perceptual blockage and
distortion was developed by James Lee.
• The unconscious reference to one’s own cultural
values is the self-reference criterion (SRC).
• Unconscious reference to one’s own cultural
values; creates cultural myopia
• The lesson that the SRC teaches is that a vital,
critical skill of the global marketer is unbiased
perception, the ability to understand a culture
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• To eliminate or reduce cultural myopia, Lee
proposed a four-step framework.
• 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 for the host country
situation
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Diffusion Theory:
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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• Sociologist Everett Rogers distilled his research
into three concepts that are extremely useful to
global marketers: the adoption process,
characteristics of innovations, and adopter
categories.
• An innovation is something new. However, a
product already introduced in one market may be
an innovation elsewhere because it is new and
different for the targeted market.
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• The adoption process - the mental stages from
the first knowledge of an innovation to product
adoption or purchase:
• Awareness. The customer becomes aware for the
first time of the product or innovation. Global
marketers create awareness through general
exposure to advertising messages.
• Interest. The customer is interested enough to
learn more. The customer will engage in research
and seek information.
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• Evaluation. The individual mentally assesses the
product's benefits and decides whether or not to
try it.
• Trial. Most customers will not purchase expensive
products without a "trial." For inexpensive
products, an initial single purchase is defined as
trial.
• Adoption. The individual either makes an initial
purchase or continues to purchase a product.
Sales reps and word of mouth are forces in the
decision to buy.
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Diffusion Theory:
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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Characteristics of Innovations
Five factors affect the rate of adoption:
• Relative advantage: How a new product
compares with existing products or methods.
• Compatibility: How consistent a product is with
existing values and past experiences.
• Complexity: How difficult the new product is to
understand and use.
• Divisibility: How easy it is to try a product on a
limited basis without great expense.
• Communicability: How well the benefits or value
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Diffusion Theory:
Adopter Categories
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• Adopter categories are classifications of
individuals in a market on the basis of
innovativeness. (See Figure 4-1)
• Five categories have been assigned to the segments of a
normal distribution:
• The first 2.5 percent to purchase a product are innovators.
• The next 13.5 percent are early adopters
• The next 34 percent are the early majority
• The next 34 percent are the late majority
• The final 16 percent are laggards.
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• Innovators are more venturesome, more cosmopolitan,
and wealthier than those who adopt later.
• Earlier adopters are the most influential people in their
communities and have great influence on the early and
late majority, the bulk of the adopters of any product.
• Early adopters tend to be younger, with higher social
status, and a more favorable financial position than later
adopters.
• Persuading innovators and early adopters to purchase a
product is critical; these groups must make the first move
in order for eventual penetration of a product into the
broader market.
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Marketing Implications
• The various cultural factors described earlier can
exert important influences on consumer and
industrial products marketed around the globe.
• Cultural factors must be considered when
marketing consumer and industrial products.
• Environmental sensitivity reflects the extent to
which products must be adapted to the culturespecific needs of different national markets.
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• At one end of the continuum are environmentally
insensitive products that do not require
significant adaptation; at the other are products
that are sensitive to environmental factors.
• The greater the environmental sensitivity, the
more managers must address country-specific
economic, regulatory, technological, social, and
cultural environmental conditions
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• Intel’s microprocessors can be sold
anywhere because a chip is a chip, but food
products have high environmental
sensitivity because of sensitivity to climate
and culture.
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Environmental Sensitivity
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• The horizontal axis shows environmental
sensitivity, the vertical axis the degree for product
adaptation needed.
• Any product exhibiting low levels of
environmental sensitivity—integrated circuits, for
example—belongs in the lower left of the figure.
Intel has sold more than 100 million
microprocessors because a chip is a chip
anywhere around the world.
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• Moving to the right on the horizontal axis, the
level of sensitivity increases, as does the amount
of adaptation
• Computers are characterized by moderate levels
of environmental sensitivity; variations in country
voltage requirements require some adaptation. In
addition, the computer’s software documentation
should be in the local language.
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• At the upper right of Figure 4-3 are products with
high environmental sensitivity. Food sometimes
falls into this category because it is sensitive to
climate and culture.
• As we saw in the McDonald’s case at the end of
Chapter 1, the fast food giant has achieved great
success outside the United States by adapting its
menu items to local tastes.
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Environmental Sensitivity
• Independent of social class and income,
culture is a significant influence on
consumption and purchasing
• Food is the most culturally-sensitive
category of consumer goods
– Dehydrated Knorr Soups did not gain popularity in
the U.S. market that preferred canned soups
– Starbucks overcame cultural barriers in Great
Britain and had 466 outlets by 2005
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• Coffee is a beverage category that illustrates the
point. On the European continent, coffee has
been consumed for centuries.
• By contrast, Britain has historically been a nation
of tea drinkers, and the notion of afternoon tea is
firmly entrenched in British culture. In the 1970s,
tea outsold coffee by a ratio of 4-to-1.
• Brits who did drink coffee tended to buy it in
instant form, because the preparation of instant
is similar to that of tea.
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• By the 1990s, however, Britain was experiencing
an economic boom and an explosion of new
nightclubs and restaurants. Trendy Londoners
looking for a non-pub "third place" found it in the
form of Seattle Coffee Company cafés.
• An instant success after the first store was
opened by coffee-starved Americans in 1995, by
1998 Seattle Coffee had 55 locations around
London.
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• Starbucks bought the business from its founders
for $84 million.
• By 2005, Starbucks had overcome the challenge
of high real estate prices and had 466 locations in
the United Kingdom.
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Chapter 4 Social and Cultural Environments