a) Cultural factors considered as ‘central core' of International Marketing Policy
Marketing Policy should be designed to determine its potential for success in International market. Companies has to find out if its will be able to differentiate itself attractively from the major competitions at a profit. For the purpose, management must, first identify the specific capabilities needed to successfully serve the market, and second, compare the current state of their firm concerning those capabilities to the characteristics of the major competitors. To serve the market efficiently and effectively it's very important to study the external environment factors like Political, Economical , Social, Technological and Legal.
Culture is part of social factor, theexternalinfluences that impact the consumer.That is, culture represents influences that are imposed on the consumer by other individuals. The importance of culture is shown as it directly deals with the customer. According to Lars Perner Culture is defined as “That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man person as a member of society.” From this definition, we make the few observations:
Culture as a whole is system of elements that are interlinked with each other. Knowledge and faith are the essential elements. In U.S we are aware and have faith that a person having skill and working hard can succeed whereas in other parts of the world its believed that luck, the main cause of differences in results. The word chunking in Chinese language means CHINA as THE MIDDLE KINGDOM . What affected the ancient Chinese perception greatly was the belief that come in the origin of the universe. Other issues being relevant is for e.g. ART. In some countries ties are worn whereas turbans are being used depending upon the random choice of people. Being naked publicly in US is against ethics whereas in JAPAN having a steam bath together (male and females) is considered quite normal. And if the other end is viewed, the Arab countries women are not permitted to reveal their faces. Notice, by the way, that what at least some countries view as moral may in fact be highly immoral by the standards of another country.
The essential concept that lies with marketing total quality and service quality is adopting a way that is customer oriented. by customer oriented it is meant that an organization should design and develop a product or service according to the customers need and expectations. So a marketer should not only identify the users, segment them according to their needs and expectations but also fulfill them. All of these marketing activities are defined by culture. Culture is most basic cause of a person's wants and behaviors. Human behavior is largely learned. Growing up in a society a child learns basic values, perception, wants and behaviors from the family and other important institutions. Every group or society has a culture and a culture may vary greatly from country to country. Failure to adjust to these differences can result in ineffective marketing or embarrassing.
For e.g. dutch children often have chocolate shavings on a buttered bread as a breakfast on the other hand children in US frequently take fried eggs as their breakfast. Indian children may have a chapatti with chilli pickle and children in malay would love to have rice as their breakfast.
* If you want to sell canned food to a Muslim community, you must have the authentication of a HALAL marking.
* Vegetarian food is best accepted by the Hindu community and some of the Buddhists in East Asia.
* Men do not wear silk shirts or gold ornaments in the Arabic culture.
* Africans see and perceive the contents of a canned or bottled food as shown on the labels. If you are selling baby food to the African market, do not put a picture of a baby on the label.
* Chinese refers to Red colors as a sign of good luck and prosperity. During the Chinese New Year season, they will give money to their children in red packets after receiving well wishes from them. The Muslim community refers to Green color as sign of good and well wishes.
So going international is not an easy task the business should learn the each and every aspect of culture.
When businesses go globalized culture does play a significant role. For companies operating in many countries, however, understanding and serving the needs of consumers can be daunting. The importance of culture in international business can be analyzed by the fact that most North Americans and Europeans present a business card in a very informal way whereas in japan it is presented with both hands as a symbol of respect and honor and is not taken back from the table unless the meeting is over. in the business world once the borders are crossed the marketers need to have a list of factors that can influence the culture of the country they have set their business in. although consumers in different countries may have something in common their values, attitudes and behaviours often vary greatly. International marketers must understand such differences and adjust their products and marketing program accordingly.
Most managers, no matter where they are from, are culturally conditioned as to proper personal and business behavior. But once cultural borders are crossed, the rules change to a set of unknown ones, which are often difficult to understand. Confronted with other cultures, the secure knowledge of how to behave, how other behaves, and how to market to them disappears. Therefore, an international marketer assessing the attractiveness and viability of country markets needs to establish a list of cultural factors that may influence the behavior of potential customers and important stakeholders in the firm's product market.
Japan presents an interesting example of how culture can influence competitive advantage. Some scholars argued that the culture of modern Japan lowers the costs of doing business relative to the costs in most western nations. Japan's emphasis on group affiliation, loyalty , reciprocal obligation, honesty, and education all boost the competitiveness of Japanese companies. For the international business, the connection between culture and competitive advantage is important for two reasons. First the connection suggests which countries are likely to produce the most viable competitors. Second, the connection between culture and competitive advantage has important implications for the choice of countries in which to locate production facilities and do business.
Asses intercultural obstacles as early as possible, Business people often underestimate or even completely overlook this point, since they often share a technical culture with their conversation partner. They are also deceived by an almost international atmosphere that can be quite misleading. Glen Fisher emphasizes: “obviously, the modern intensity of international interaction, especially in business an in technological, communication and educational fields, has produced something of an internationals “ culture” which reduces the clash of cultural backgrounds and stereotyped images.
Once the business go international the company should adopt measures that do not hurt or damage the culture of the related company. Marketers must decide on the degree to which they will adapt their products and marketing programs to meet the unique cultures and needs of consumers in various markets. The managers must furnish themselves with time as the needs and tastes of the consumers keeps on changing with time. Its culture that defines Whether the business is having a strong or weak influence over the people and is coming up to the expectations of the people or not.
b) For the inexperienced marketer, the ‘similar but different aspect of culture creates an illusion of similarity that usually does no exist'
Culture is a challenging matter for many marketers as it is intrinsically unformulated and usually complicated to comprehend. When marketers examine the society of distant courtiers they evaluate it with their own country traditions. Hence core mistake is made at that point because some time many civilization traits are seem to be similar but in certainly there are lot of differences. Study of large multinationals reveals that even sizeable and skilled marketers make errors time and again. Howlers made by them are certainly unique for upcoming learners. One of the most famed examples is Coca Cola translating the name into Chinese without back-translating it ("bite the wax tadpole"), ultimately resulting in a atrocious reaction from an affronted society. http://noriainternational.com/copywritingsite/article1013.html
Similarly, Whirlpool, the global leader in consumer durables, could not get it right in the Indian market at the first go, not because of any problem with the product as such, but because of the traditional consumer attitude - it was thought that tough strains wouldn't go with machine wash and the only alternative was hand wash. The company had to undertake qualitative market research to see how Indian households washed their clothes and thought about washing before they could get their marketing message right.
Most managers regardless of where they come from are atoned culturally as to proper personal and business manners. But once civilization limitations are crossed, the convention results into set of unknown ones, which are indeed complicated to understand
Dealing with other cultures, the sheltered knowledge of how to conduct you, how other behaves, and how market to them vanishes. Therefore, a global marketer reviewing the attractiveness and feasibility of country markets needs to institute a list of cultural features that may persuade the behavior of potential customers and important stakeholders in the firm's product market.
Whenever the businesses start its function globally the very first task its to analyze the market the consumer and other environmental factors. So they need research and survey once again culture affects the result of these surveys and encountered the following problems:
Influences of language differences: When interpreted from one language to another occasionally queries underwent a delicate but significant shift of importance even though the purpose was to make them exactly corresponding. For instance, the English statement: “There are times when it is right to disobey the law” got another tinge when it was translated into French: “II y a des fois ou desobier aux lois est une bonne chose.” The French “une bonne chose” is far less strict than English notion of “right.”
Ethnocentric bias: Even when correctly translated, the same question meant different things in different cultures because people interpreted the meaning of terms and concepts and gave answers, relative to the norms of culture in which they exist. Some cultural differences were differences of fact. Agreement with the statement “ We drink more wine at home these days,” for example, clearly implied different things in the wine-drinking country of Greece compared to the same response in the U.K.
Other cultural dissimilarities were distinction in generally accepted beliefs, or traditions. Using the two statements “religion plays an vital part in my life” and “I go to Church very regularly, for example to get some gauge of how religious people are, produced non-comparable results In U.K 75% of people assert to be religious, because it is the socially suitable thing to do, yet in truth it is not a religious country (less than 10% of people regularly go to church). In Italy the circumstance was upturned. About 55% of people regularly go to church, yet only about 30% of people claim to be religious (going to church in Italy has a sturdy social function)
http://books.google.com International marketing: a global perspective By Hans Mühlbacher, Helmuth Leihs, Lee Dahringer
Cultural response outline. A third significant influence of culture on response to questions and statements stumbled upon national qualities in the way people answer questions, even when they do have precisely equivalent meanings in every country. For example, Italians like boundaries, and mark towards the ends of any semantic scale; Germans are more reserved and mark towards the middle, comparison
When entering in new global markets it is extremely important to focus few points to tackle the culture factors appropriately.
* Don't take for granted that everyone sees or recognizes things the way you do. Historical and cultural traits can "color" the way people retaliate at things. Even the simplest things like choice of colors, gestures, conversation distance; time scheduling, etc. could become tedious issues.
* Come to know someone in that society that can match your level with local habits. Induce yourself that this person is aware of the latest slang and habit-changes in the target area.
* Try to figure out what indeed intrigues this society. Numerous cultural groups have different ways of attracting each other's attention. In Caribbean communities, for instance, the joke-sketch style is what catches the attention. Serious ads don't even work when you try to convince them to pay taxes!
* Always inquire several people within that culture what they think of your product/service. The more opinions you can gather, the better your insight will be in possible obstacles you may come across.
* Keep an eye on progress. What's normally accepted today may be abandoned tomorrow. Nothing is more uncomfortable than trying to look "cool" by using stuffy, outdated terms.
Before anything else, though, try to figure out the level and criteria of acceptance. In Europe it's generally accepted to use stronger language and show more nudity or cruelty on mass media than in the U.S. On the other hand, Americans have a more "open" attitude toward each other in a conversation than Europeans.
To combat the danger of being ill-informed, international business should consider employing local citizens to help them do business in particular culture. They must also ensure that home-country executives are cosmopolitan enough to understand how differences in culture affect the practice for international business. International business is different from national business because countries and societies are different. Different countries and societies are different because their culture vary. Their culture varies because of deep differences in social arrangement, religion, language, education, economic attitude and political philosophy. Three important insinuations for international business flow from these differences. The first is the call for to develop cross-cultural literacy
There is a need not only to appreciate that cultural differences exist, but also to appreciate what such differences meant for international business. A second implication centers in the connection between culture and competitive advantage. A third implication To gain insight in cultural variations and their significance, it is not enough to gather miscellaneous, shallow information on our counterpart's culture and habits regarding wining and dining. Our top concern should be to increase a good understanding of alien culture and means of doing business, so we can look into more compassionate approach to doing business with people from that culture. However, to comprehend another culture and essence in which it is unique, we first need have a decisive understanding of our own culture. Understanding of cultural attributes is most important. As said by Foster (1992), no body can know everything about someone's culture. It is a possibility that, for instance embracing another culture for a long time, one learns so much, that from a strangers point of view one become “expert” on that culture.
http://books.google.com International business negotiations By Pervez N. Ghauri, Jean-Claude Usunier
Cultural differences are illusionary mostly because whenever we analyze the different cultures we consciously or subconsciously compare it with our home country culture. so cultural values and norms are so much interrelated with each other that we cannot understand the clear line between these cultures. It's very hard to find the definite line of difference in the grey area of cultures. The world is developing into a global village, but we're not there yet. Not by far. So while we're working on it, respect local cultures, and the world will be at your feet.
International marketing: a global perspective By Hans Mühlbacher, Helmuth Leihs, Lee Dahringer
Williams. J (1991) “constant questions or constant meanings? Assessing intercultural motivates in alcoholic drinks”. Marketing and research Today, 19(3), August, pp. 173
New Challenges to International Marketing By Rudolf R. Sinkovics, Pervez N. Ghauri
International Marketing - influence of cultural difference By krish on December 09th,2009 http://ayushveda.com/blogs
The Importance of Recognizing Culture in Marketing by Joan Marques, MBA
The Need for Cultural Studies: http://theory.eserver.org/need.html
Dahl, Stephan:Diversity Marketing, Thomson, 2002