The report is about the difficulties based on cultural differences marketers and advertising agents have to deal with when setting up an advertising campaign.
The research report will try to show what are the main problems marketers are confronted with when they set up an advertising campaign for the world markets. It is not the goal of the essay to find new approaches to avoid expensive mistakes connected with the wrong advertising campaign. It rather should show with examples where global companies have made mistakes in the past, what the consequences were and should show what companies do and did to avoid such embarrassing mistakes and maybe where the changes in avoiding those mistakes are.
The methods chosen by the companies or advertising agencies to avoid marketing mistakes should be found out by a questionnaire, which will be sent to the biggest advertising agencies in New Zealand via email. It is expected that they all use similar approaches when shaping and converting campaigns for the target markets.
The topic of the report has been an increasing factor when designing international marketing strategies in recent years and will become more important in the next millennium. The reasons are a world, which moves up tighter together depending on the fast development of new technologies, which allows us to communicate with nearly every part of the world everytime. To avoid irritations based on cultural differences we have to know the cross-cultural differences.
Another not less important factor is the many mergers in the last years, which lead to an increasing number of global players, which enter the global markets with their marketing strategies. To create the right mix they have to spend time on studying the differences in consumer behaviour based on cultural differences before creating a marketing strategy.
3. Problem Statement
Where are the limits of setting up an advertising campaign concerning the different consumer behaviour based on cultural differences?
– How do marketers shape and convert existing advertising campaigns for target markets.
– What do they do to avoid marketing mistakes caused by brand names, which might be misunderstood?
– Which parts of culture affect the work of marketers mainly?
– Where do markets exist where one advertising campaign and the same brand name do not cause a problem because of a similar consumer behaviour?
– Which are the markets where the marketers have to change their campaigns at the most because of the large differences in culture to other markets?
4. Literature Review
Many theories exist which deal with the topic. And also much research has been done to prove these theories. But only few authors have been able to develop strategies or solutions, which use the acknowledgements granted by the research. The reason might be that the universal strategy that fits for all problems caused by cultural differences does not exist.
To find out something about the limits of cross-cultural advertising it is necessary to know how marketing and culture are linked and what belongs to culture.
In the research report culture should include language, as a key to its culture, non-verbal communication, religion, time, space colour, numbers and food preferences.
All these elements are included in an advertising campaign and can cause expensive mistakes when marketers do not consider the differences when creating for example an commercial.
Another very important fact, which has to be considered, is that high- and low-context cultures exist. Many authors have written about this topic. One of the firsts who mentioned this in connection with global marketing was Wells (1987, cited in Martenson 1989). He presumed that high- and low-context cultures exist and that this should be considered when setting up an advertising campaign. His assumption was confirmed by a research by Rita Martenson (1989). She tested 239 people who belonged to five cultural groups with different grades of context-levels. The outcome supported clearly Wells’ proposition that high-context cultures get more information from non-verbal communication instruments than people, which belong to a low context culture.
Another assumption which was being tested was the one from Jacobs and Campbell (1961, cited in Martenson 1983). The assumption was that a person belongs up to four or five generations to his culture of origin when he moved into another one, before he adapted the new culture completely. The research found out that a connection exists but that it lasts approximately three generations until the new culture is completely adapted. This outcome is especially for the research report very interesting, because it will try to find out (with the questionnaire, which will be sent to New Zealand biggest advertising agencies) if and how the advertising agencies consider this circumstance when they create an advertising campaign for New Zealand. Many people from the pacific islands live in New Zealand. They belong to a high-context culture and many people with European background who belong to low-context cultures.
Beside this connection between advertising and culture exist other theories. All marketers know that they have to satisfy the needs and wants of the consumers and that the needs and wants are culturally based.
But there are many different opinions in which way an advertising campaign for the global markets should be designed. The published articles, theories and research studies led to a standardisation versus adaptation debate. As long as the world exist people wanted to get the most for the least effort. In global advertising that means to enter the global markets with a universal strategy. Theodore Levitt wrote in his article (1983, cited in Herbig 1998) that cultural preferences will belong to the past and the world will become more and more the same. The needs and wants will become the same everywhere in the world. Levitt assumed that global campaigns will achieve long-term success only when they will satisfy the wants and needs of everybody. He recommended to look on the similarities and not on the differences of cultures. To proof his statement he includes examples like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Pepsi-Cola and Marlboro. But a closer look to these examples shows that they do not use Levitts’ idea of the global culture. Rather they transfer the American culture to other cultures.
Other theorists say that you have to adapt local variations. That was confirmed by a survey carried out by the Management Centre Europe when 246 people from 17 countries where asked which way would be the best to advertise a product (cited in Martenson 1989). The majority thought that an international campaign with local variations would be the best way. Only a few thought a standardised campaign would be the best or a completely new one adapted to the local requirements would be the best way.
There is no question at all that a standardised campaign is the best way because it saves a lot of money. But in many cases it is not possible to use one campaign on all markets. Reasons caused by law or political circumstances should be left outside in the report. The report will deal with the reasons caused by culture, which were mentioned above.
Paul A. Herbig recommended in his book some guidelines, which should help to find out when which strategy should be used (1998).
The research report should find out how theory is transferred to praxis and where are the latest changes and if new approaches concerning the strategies exist. At the end it might come up with some recommendations for the future in cross-cultural advertising.
The Subjects are the biggest and leading advertising agencies in New Zealand. The questionnaire will be sent to them via email. They are selected on the Internet and in the yellow pages of Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland.
The information is attempted to be collected with a questionnaire, which will be sent via email to the target group mentioned above. First I will introduce myself and show them the reason why they are asked to answer the following questionnaire. The email will also offer them a copy of the report if they are interested in it. This should motivate the companies to reply to the questionnaire.
The first five questions should try to find out how deep the subject is involved in cross cultural marketing / advertising, so that the ones which are not or only less involved can be sorted out because they are not relevant for the research. The following questions are created in an open style so that the subject has to write down his individual experiences with the topic. That should try to facilitate a comparison is possible later on.
The last question is voluntary and should collect examples of marketing mistakes, which can be used in the report.
The only material, which is used to make the questionnaire possible, is the email facilities at Massey University.
6. Method of Analysis
The results of the questionnaire should be compared. Similarities and differences will be analysed. The analyse will be using a qualitative approach because the questions, especially the last ones are very in depth and do not allow a quantitative analyse. Maybe it will be possible to find out that there exist different approaches on certain kind of markets to avoid marketing mistakes. It is expected that there will be the same main problems and the same parts of culture, which affect the marketers work. The companies who are not or only less involved in cross-cultural advertising/marketing will not be included in the analyse because their answers are baseed on theoretical experiences.
7. Recommendations or Practical Outcome
The report will come to a conclusion as it connects the already known theories mentioned above (point 4) with the practical experiences of the companies, found out by the questionnaire. It might not be possible to draw up some recommendations but maybe it will be possible to show a change of dealing with cross cultural problems and based on that change their might be a possibility to show some interesting ways, which will affect that field in the future.
Herbig, P. A. (1998).Handbook of Cross Cultural Marketing. New York, London: The International Business Press.
Martenson, R. (1989). International Advertising in Cross-Cultural Environments. In Kaynak, E. (Ed.).(1993). The Global Business: Four Key Marketing Strategies. New York, London, Norwood: The International Business Press.
Bamossy, G.J.& Costa J.A. (Eds.).(1995). Marketing in a Multicultural World: Ethnicity, Nationalism and Cultural Identity. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Brook, M.Z. (1996): International Management: A Review of Strategies and Operations. Cheltingham: Stanley Thornes Ltd.
Coscum Samli, A. (1995). International Consumer Behaviour: Its Impact on Marketing Strategy Development. Westport, London: Quorum Books.
Euglis, B.E. (1994). Global and Multinational Advertising. Hillsdale, Hove: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Mooij, M. de (1998). Global Marketing and Advertising: Understanding Cultural Paradoxes. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi: Sage Publications.