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“Culture is pervasive in all marketing activities” (Albaum et al 2005 critically review this statement)

“Culture is pervasive in all marketing activities” (Albaum et al 2005 critically review this statement)

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Sarah Green. Originally submitted for Business Studies at Jordanstown, with lecturer Carol Reid in the category of Business & Economics
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Sarah Green. Originally submitted for Business Studies at Jordanstown, with lecturer Carol Reid in the category of Business & Economics

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 30, 2012
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05/13/2014

 
 
Page 1
 
“Culture is pervasive in all marketing activities” (Albaum et al 2005
critically review this statement)Introduction
Culture has been defined in the international marketing literature through manyconceptualizations. Ferraro. G.P. (1994) states culture is
“everything that peoplehave, think and do as members of their society”, while Leung et al.’s (2005)definition of culture broadly as “the values, beliefs, norms, and behaviouralpatterns of a national group”.
In reality, culture is pervasive in all marketingactivities
 –
in pricing, promotion, channels of distribution, product, packagingand styling
 –
 
and the marketer’s efforts actually become a part of the fabric of culture. The marketer’s effort to interact with a culture determines the degree of 
success or failure of the marketing effort. (Cateora, P. R. & Ghauri, P. N., 2000)
To understand and influence the consumer’s wants and needs, marketers must
understand the culture, especially in an international environment. Figure 1.1illustrates how culture can have an effect on consumer behaviour. The figurebelow shows how culture is embedded in elements of society, such as religion,language, history, and education. These elements send direct and indirectmessages to consumers regarding the selection of goods and services. Culture
provides a framework so that society’s members can appropriately satis
fy basichuman biological needs (Churchill, Gilbert A. Jr. 2001). The need for food is oneof the basic biological needs for humans that get infused with cultural meaningwhen we seek to satisfy that need. Food consumption is heavily influenced byculture, and significant cultural variation regarding food consumption existsaround the world. This type of variation can effectively influence the marketingof food p
roducts. For example, McDonald’s, the fast
-food chain, offers no beef or pork in its restaurants in India to avoid offending the local Hindu and Muslimcultures. This is a clear contrast to its operations elsewhere and is just one of many dimensions of how culture can affect a business in a global market(Usunier, Jean Claude, 1996).Figure 1 Cultural influences on Buyer Behaviour (Gillespie. K, Jeannnet. J &Hennessey. H (2007)
Cultural Forces
 
Cultural Messages Consumer DecisionProcess
 Religion, History,Family, Language, Arts/Entertainment,EducationSymbols, Morals,Rules of Behaviour,KnowledgeSelecting andPrioritizing wantsfor Goods andServices
Behaviour
 
 
Page 2
 
Culture 1.1
One of the most difficult tasks for global marketers is assessing the culturalinfluences that affect their operations. Isolating these cultural influences can bevery difficult due to the fact that culture cannot be observed directly. Culture isan intangible set of ideals, values, and standards and therefore the only way toanalyse and understand them is to observe the behaviours of people within aculture. Maybe add an example here to back up the idea.
Analysing Culture 1.2
For many decades, scholars have tried to analyse and simplify the connectionsof various cultures through extensive observational research studies. Thecontributors of earlier pioneers of culture study in business were Lee (1966)and Hall (1970) who both stated that environmental analysis into internationalbusiness was an essential ingredient in understanding and analysing foreignmarkets (quote). However, most of the extensive research and development
began during the 1980’s, when Geert Hofstede created the framework for 
assessing culture. Hofestede based his framework on the results he gatheredfrom a large database consisting of cultural statistics. When analysing theresults he found that there was a clear pattern of similarity and difference, andamid the responses there were five clear dimensions were identified todistinguish one culture from the other.The fivedimensions are shown below in figure 2 (Hofstede Geert, 1991):1.
Power/Distance (PD)
 –
This refers to the degree of inequality that exists and isaccepted among people with and without power. A high PD score indicates that societyaccepts an unequal distribution of power and people understand "their place" in thesystem. Low PD means that power is shared and well dispersed. It also means thatsociety members view themselves as equals.
 Application
: According to Hofstede's model, in a high PD country like Malaysia, youwould probably send reports only to top management and have closed door meetingswhere only a select few, powerful leaders were in attendance.
 
 
2.
Individualism (IDV)
 
 –
This refers to the strength of the ties people have to otherswithin the community. A high IDV score indicates a loose connection with people. Incountries with a high IDV score there is a lack of interpersonal connection and littlesharing of responsibility, beyond family and perhaps a few close friends. A society with alow IDV score would have strong group cohesion, and there would be a large amount of loyalty and respect for members of the group.
 Application
: Hofstede's analysis suggests that in the Central American countries of Panama and Guatemala where the IDV scores are very low, a marketing campaign thatemphasised benefits to the community or that tied into a popular political movementwould likely be understood and well-received.
 
 
 
Page 3
 
3.
Masculinity (MAS
)
 –
This refers to the extent to which a society sticks with the ideals,and values of traditional male and female roles. High MAS scores are found in countrieswhere men are expected to be the provider, to be assertive and to be strong. Low MASscores do not reverse the gender roles. In a low MAS society both women and menworking together equally across many professions.
 Application
: Japan is highly masculine with a score of 95 whereas Sweden has thelowest measured value (5). According to Hofstede's analysis, if you were to open anoffice in Japan, you might have greater success if you appointed a male employee tolead the team and had a strong male contingent on the team. In Sweden, on the other hand, you would aim for a team that was balanced in terms of skill rather than gender.
 
4.
Uncertainty/Avoidance Index (UAI)
 
 –
This relates to the degree of anxiety societymembers feel when in uncertain or unknown situations. High UAI-scoring nations try toavoid ambiguous situations whenever possible. They are governed by rules and order and they seek a collective "truth". Low UAI scores indicate the society enjoys novelevents and values differences. There are very few rules and people are encouraged todiscover their own truth.
 Application
: Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions imply that when discussing a project withpeople in Belgium, whose country scored a 94 on the UAI scale, you should investigatethe various options and then present a limited number of choices, but have very detailedinformation available on your contingency and risk plans. (Note that there will be culturaldifferences between French and Dutch speakers in Belgium!)
 
5.
Long Term Orientation (LTO)
 
 –
This refers to how much society values long-standingtraditions and values as opposed to short term ones. This is the fifth dimension thatHofstede added in the 1990s after finding that Asian countries with a strong link toConfucian philosophy acted differently from western cultures. In countries with a highLTO score, delivering on social obligations and avoiding "loss of face" are consideredvery important.
 Application:
According to Hofstede's analysis, people in the United States and UnitedKingdom have low LTO scores. This suggests that you can pretty much expect anythingin this culture in terms of creative expression and novel ideas. The model implies thatpeople in the US and UK don't value tradition as much as many others, and are thereforelikely to be willing to help you execute the most innovative plans as long as they get toparticipate fully.
 
Many organisations use Hofstede’s framework of cultural Dimensions as a
starting point to help them evaluate their approach, decisions, and actionstowards a particular culture. It also helps them to assess the extent of how that
particular society will react to the company’s decisions. Although while this is
valid for many countries, it doesnot apply in the countries where there are strong subcultures that are based on ethnicity of origin or geography. For example, in Canada there is a distinct French Canadian culture that has quite adifferent set of norms compared to English-speaking Canada (Banks, J.A.,Banks, & McGee, C. A. 1989). 

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