The paper starts with an introduction to international marketing. This paper analyzes cultural practices of different societies using Hofstede model so as to help appreciate the role of culture in international marketing. It will describe the elements of the model and exploit each one of them with regard to branding and advertising. It will also discuss other factors that are vital in international marketing such as cultural models, personality and the concept of self.
International marketing refers to transactions that are carried out overseas which require the traders to be sensitive to entry strategies and identifying the market. The traders put emphasis on other factors such as pricing, promotion, and channels of distribution. However, cultural practices play a vital role in influencing consumer behavior (Curry 2009). For the last decade, the debate on whether to adapt to a people’s culture or set the standards has been on the rise with most people opting to adhere to the culture of their customers. Therefore, it becomes inevitable to understand the way of livelihood of customers in order to satisfy their requirements.
There are several models that are employed in global advertising and marketing among them is Hofstede’s dimensional model. This model is widely used because it has been used to evaluate numerous numbers of countries and the simplicity of the model. This model focuses on a national culture that influences consumer purchasing behavior, advertising, and global branding. In depth, the model concepts of identity, personality, and self. In addition, it also explains variances in perception, categorization influencing mass and interpersonal communication. This paper will analyze the cultural practices of the consumer which affect branding and advertising.
Hofstede dimensional model of national culture
He differentiates cultures in terms of individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance and short/long term orientation and power distance. The “dimension of power distance defines the extent” to which powerless members of the society expect and accept that power is unfairly distributed. Large power distance has everyone a position in the hierarchy ranking of the society which defines the necessity of global brands. A person who has high social ranking is respected by others in the society, and global brands do it serve the purpose. For instance, alcoholic beverages, fashion items, and luxury items appeal to the social requirements of the people.
Individualism, on the other hand, entails people who are interested in their own affairs and that of their families as opposed to people in groups. This dimension believes that identity of a people is in self where they are conscious of their being (Curry 2009). Collectivist deals with many people who are well-defined by the societal system to which they belong and they work hard to protect their reputation. Collectivists are high context cultures which use indirect communication style, as opposed to individualism which is a low context communication. During the individualistic sale process, consumers are focused, and they get what they want fast while in, collectivistic, the parties involved must build trust before transactions. Marketers in the international arena have realized this and they engage different modes of advertising such as creating trust, persuasive among others.
Masculinity, where the masculinity factor is defined by achievements and success one, has in the society. An example of the brand used to indicate masculinity is jewelry as a proof of one’s success after hard work. Masculine cultures have men sharing some household chores, and they are involved in other activities such as shopping. On the other hand, femininity is defined by caring for society members and the level of lifestyle. Femininity cultures have men and women sharing equally household chores.
Uncertainty avoidance denotes to how people feel susceptible by ambiguity and uncertainty of situations. Cultures of strong avoidance require rules and regulations so as to avoid uncertainties which lead to seeking advice from truth experts. People with high uncertainty are resistant to changes and innovation compared to those of low uncertainty. This means that people of uncertainty avoidance are not receptive to products an attitude that is described as passive. Hence, high uncertainty avoidance focuses on food purity and advanced medication on matters regarding their health while the other focuses on active attitudes such as an exercise to improve their health.
Long and short term orientation refers to the extent that a society shows realistic future orientated perspective instead of conventional perspective. Long-term orientation is characterized by thrift, perseverance and bearing shame whose investment is made for the future. Short term orientation is characterized by personal steadiness, stability, and respect to traditions which focus on the happiness of society members.
Cultural models applied in advertising research
Cultural models are patterns of problems that have consequences to individuals and groups e.g. relation to authority, the primary dilemma of conflicts and concept of self which include identity and ego (Curry 2009). The model differs depending on the country where it operates, the level of analysis, the number of dimensions, the number of subjects and dimension structure. Advertising is known to appeal the desired as the desirable is too far from the real world due to variances in consumer attitudes and advertising appeals. Cultural values are integrated into self of the consumer and cannot be distinguished as environmental factors. Members in the international market comprehend that consumers are central when it comes to developing effective marketing strategies.
Concept of self
Self is an independent entity through a part of the society whose behavior changes with time and from one situation to another. For instance, feeling virtuous is associated with interpersonal situations while others think that it is because of interpersonal distance. The youth is constantly encouraged to define them to avoid identity crisis later on in their life. In collectivist cultures, the youths are encouraged to be independent like other members of the society.
It is defined as unique, cross-situational consistency, which is described, on the basis of traits such as sociability and autonomy. Different people have different personalities, which are used, in branding products. For instance, global brands such as Nike, Sony, and Adidas indicate likeableness and ascendancy by people across the globe. It has been observed that consumers from all over the world “attribute brand personalities to one and the same global brand” (Curry 2009). Friendly brands are associated with strong brands, which have high, uncertainty avoidance and low power cultures. Trustworthy brands go together with high uncertainty avoidance cultures and consequently affects consumer choice. Consistency assists companies to innovate brand names and standardize as opposed to an adaptation of different cultures. In addition, consistency consumer relationship attitude influence purchasing behavior of products and services.
In conclusion, consumer behavior is influenced by various factors such as mental, social and personality. The advertising department can manipulate these factors to improve the sale of their products across the globe. Personality factor deals with self and cultural values of people such as brand positioning and advertising which boost communication and culture. Mental factors involve processing information and categorization of abstract concretes to improve adverts. Social factors revolve around emotional motivation to help the adverts appeal to consumers. Integration of these factors has remarkable results in marketing products and services to all target groups.
Curry, J. (2009). A short course in international marketing approaching and penetrating the global marketplace. Petaluma, CA: World Trade Press.