The influence of cultural orientation on Brand Image and Perception

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Marketing

Document 1

It determines the commodities that a consumer prefers to consume. That implies that different markets have different preferences depending on the culture of the place. Consumers are therefore able to associate a particular product with particular traits or characters. These traits can either be appealing to consumers or not appealing depending on the market culture. Producers, therefore, consider the preferences of these markets while producing their products. With the current trend of globalization, it is important for producers to consider the different markets that they intend to capture. Research is therefore important to understand the way of life and the needs for the new market. Failure to do this, a company may suffer losses due to huge investments with nil returns. Several global companies known for their large profitability have failed in some countries due to lack of consideration of culture. Majority of the research has focused on the Hofstede model to understand the role that culture plays in consumer behavior. The model is made up of the following five attributes; individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, uncertainty avoidance and long/short-term orientation. Introduction For a product to grow into a brand, it passes through certain stages of growth. The process entails gaining value and personal traits that generate a product that appeals to a certain market considering the culture of the market. Understanding the culture of a market helps in determining the results of an advertisement. It enables a company to determine whether it should reduce on its advertising or adapt to the customer preferences to reduce on costs.

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Studies have however indicated that adopting the consumers’ tastes and preferences is the most effective way that minimizes on costs. There are several models that have been developed to assist in understanding advertising and marketing in the global market. The Hofstede model is the most applied approach. The model furthers differentiates the terms self, personality and identity which are important aspects when a firm is considering advertising or marketing. Consumer behavior affects the marketing and advertising strategy of a firm. When it comes to advertising, the individualistic society focuses on persuading the consumers to buy a commodity as compared to the collectivism culture which focuses on creating trust and friendship to the consumers first (Barnwell, 2011). An example of a collectivism society is that of the Japanese while the Americans are considered individualistic.

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The third attribute is the masculinity versus the femininity attribute. In a masculine society, the most dominant character is success while in a feminine society ensuring there is quality in life and caring for others are the common traits. A masculine society is performance-based and values achievement and success highly. They are open to new innovations, are not subjected to a tight set of rules and are also open to changes in lifestyle and products. The final dimension of this model is the long/short-term orientation. This attribute defines the extent to which a culture is focused on the future than the present. A society that is guided by long-term orientation practices perseverance as they focus on the future. In a short-term oriented society, there is much emphasis on the present needs and the historical perspective.

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It is basically the idea that an individual possesses about him as social, spiritual, physical or moral being. The definition of self-concept by Rosenberg is "the totality of an individual's thoughts and feelings having reference to himself as an object" Snygg & Combs's explanation that "the phenomenal self includes all those parts of the phenomenal field which the individual experiences as part or characteristic of himself" is similar to that of Rosenberg. Turner also gives a more specific definition: "Typically my self-conception is a vague but vitally felt idea of what I am like in my best moments, of what I am striving toward and have some encouragement to believe I can achieve, or of what I can do when the situation supplies incentives for unqualified effort". The idea of self-concept involves temporal continuity to some extent and a complete distinction of self-image from just the simple appearance and conduct and the definition of a person in terms of locational terms, qualitative and terms which are evaluative.

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Perception and Consumer behavior Consumers express and show their image to other consumers by buying and consuming brands with a certain association, which shows the benefits of branding. The one and only source of self-congruity is a brand user which is one of the brand personality direct sources. Self-congruity is therefore a less inclusive and a narrower concept than brand personality. Branding Manufacturers and marketers are aware that value is attached to a brand. In October 2012, Apple Company was ranked as the top brand valued at $87. billion. Consumption decision is highly influenced by the brand attributes and features, but consumers’ perception and attitude towards the brand image influences consumption decision to a greater extent. Despite the ever evolving consumer life style and the increased sources of accessing information, brand image dominates the impact of consumer behavior.

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Other researchers on the other hand point out that the brand Value should be determined by the market value, market share and cash flow to the company. Some further studies manifest brand equity or value on financial performance and brand performance. Financial performance refers to the market share and brand premium; brand performance refers to the awareness, reputation, loyalty and association to a specific brand. Conclusion In conclusion, culture defines how consumers view a particular brand and determines their loyalty to the brand. A company must therefore invest in identifying the interests of different market segments. Hofstede’s model among other models emphasize on five dimensions of culture namely; individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, uncertainty avoidance and long/short-term orientation. These dimensions describe different societies in the world. Global companies are required to have an insight of these attributes before addressing or advertising in a market.

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F. Cheung, J. Zhang, K. Leung, F. Leong, and K. Kwok. National culture and life insurance consumption. Journal of International Business Studies. De Mooij, M. Global Marketing and Advertising, Understanding Cultural Paradoxes (3rd edn). Konstantopoulos, N. Marketing and management sciences: Proceedings of the international conference on ICMMS 2008. London: Imperial College Press. Solomon, MR & Rabolt, NJ (2009). Consumer Behavior in Fashion, 2nd edn, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

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