International and Global Marketing Assignment
Social and Cultural Issues that affect
International or Global Marketing Approaches
Hofstede (1980) defines culture as the “Collective mindset which distinguishes a group from another”. This definition is probably the most comprehensive, yet each one highlights one aspect of this elusive concept, for example: a problem-solving attitude (Kluckholn and Strodtbeck, 1961), an interrelated set of beliefs and standards (Goodenough, 1971), a learned and shared behaviour (Useem et al., 1963). Hofstede (1991) represents cultural expressions as an onion where values are the core and rituals, heroes, and symbols the layers. Cultural borders are even more blurred, but are generally identified within the boundaries of a collectivity that shows some homogeneity: it can thus be a region as well as a nation or ethnicity. The rationale for cultural analysis resides in the interrelated and pervasive affections culture brings about in all layers of a society. National culture affects the culture of an industry, which influences the culture of a company, which eventually has a bearing on individuals, both as organizational actors and as consumers. Culture is greatly responsible for social behaviours. Therefore, evaluating cultural congruence effectively means minimizing cultural resistance, thus positively affecting international and global management, negotiations, and consumers. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model (1983) proves to be useful to grasp the main tenets of a culture and its social consequences. Despite criticism for being too simplistic and unproven (McSweeney, 2002), the evaluation of power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, masculinity, and time perspective allows a basic comprehension of a culture. Individualism refers to the degree to which people are self-centred and do not act as members of a collectivity (Hofestede, 1983). Culture shapes values in two ways (de Mooij, 2010): the principle or the desirable, and the actual wish or the desired. Although in every culture fostering family and children is a desirable behaviour, the actual desired might be very different. A glaring example of leveraging individualism and people’s actual desires is the 2011 Renault advertising campaign. In the Renault Scenic commercial a couple is looking at a maternity shop window when the woman says “ Do you know what I’d really like?”. The man is frightened by what he imagines, but is eventually relieved when she adds she just wants to buy the same shoes as the shop assistant’s and hence thinks “ Everything else can wait”. In the Clio advertisement, there are some men waiting outside an primary school. When the bell rings, all children run towards their fathers, who then look at the ‘lucky one’ who was not there for a child but for the teacher. Against this backdrop the ad slogan “Expect more from Life” is launched. Renault conceived this advertising campaign only for a few European nations, in fact, it appears evident that in most countries in the world the message conveyed would not have been effective and probably would have even damaged the company’s respectability. The likely reason is the importance that family as society core plays in many cultures around the world, for example in south America. In 1960, Hall conceived a useful dyad for the comparative understanding of culture. He placed cultures on a high-context versus low-context scale, referring to the degree to which elements surrounding the mere spoken or written message are relevant for effective communication. European countries are generally referred to as low-context and individualistic (Hall and reed, 1990), though some European nations, such as Italy, are rather high-context ones, since the use of implicit messages is wide and is a clear example of the limitations that a strict...