Cultural differences in brand designs and tagline appeals
Jong Woo Jun and Hyung-Seok Lee
Department of Advertising, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA Abstract
Purpose – The objective of this study is to explore general cross-cultural differences in corporate visual identity between the USA and Korea, and to apply Trompenaars’ speciﬁc versus diffuse dimension to brand-logos and taglines in the two countries. Design/methodology/approach – A sample of the brand-logos and taglines from the top 100 companies in each country were content analysed for research objectives. Findings – The results indicate that Korean brands are generally more diffusive than those in the USA. Speciﬁcally, Korean brand-logos tend to use more abstract and symbolic creative designs than those of the US, and the contents of Korean brand taglines contain more additional values than those in the USA. Research limitations/implications – The ﬁndings suggest the explanation power of new cultural dimensions for academic researchers and the importance of localised corporate identity strategies for international marketers. Originality/value – Because little is known about the differences between company brand designs across cultures, this study ﬁlls a gap in the literature by examining company brand designs and taglines. In addition, this study proved the usability of the newly developed Trompenaars’ speciﬁc versus diffuse dimension. Keywords Culture, Corporate identity, Brands, United States of America, South Korea Paper type Research paper
International Marketing Review Vol. 24 No. 4, 2007 pp. 474-491 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0265-1335 DOI 10.1108/02651330710761035
Introduction As the code of international branding sheds light on marketing strategies, multinational companies focus on global approaches for marketing and communicating their companies and products effectively. A company becomes truly global not only through moving its headquarters to other countries, but also via branding strategies and marketing messages (Mueller, 2004). Physical borders have become meaningless for multinational companies. In these fast changing market environments, it is necessary for marketers and advertisers to understand individual, local cultural values and then deliberately reﬂect on them in the execution of marketing communication messages to develop more effective and persuasive marketing communication tools (Aaker, 2000; De Mooij, 2000; Gurhan-Candi and Maheswaran, 2000). Cultural differences may be the primary obstacle to developing internationally accepted brands and communicating with global consumers, especially those who live in developing countries with more traditional societies. To solve the conﬂicts stemming from a lack of knowledge about cultural differences and to better understand the values of different cultures, it is vital to ﬁnd the right way to explain the inherent similarities and differences that exist in various countries and cultures. The initial approach is to understand the different communication styles in cross-cultural communication situations by investigating the variations in cultural dimensions. The four cultural dimensions of
Hofstede (1980, 1983, 1991) and Hall’s (1966) hidden dimension are the representative theories for understanding and explaining cultural differences. Among those, collectivism versus individualism (Hofstede, 1980, 1991) and contextualism (Hall, 1989) are the most popularly adopted cultural dimensions in the analysis of cross-cultural marketing and advertising (Triandis, 1995). Although Hofstede and Hall’s dimensions have been widely used by both cross-cultural researchers and international marketers and advertisers since they provide a valid rationale for understanding core values across cultures, some critics...