The Asian Culture And Marketing Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Culture, Community, People, Business, Family, Marketing, Power, Distance

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/12/03

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Introduction

People and places differ. People from one society may tend to be extremely polite while people from another community exhibit blunt characteristics. Red may mean danger to one community, but signify death to another community. Still, other communities may regard the same color as symbol of luck. The point is that communities look at things differently, and cultures hold values, assumptions, understandings, and goals that are different from other cultures, and that is highly important business. Cultural diversity and related variances can influence the effectiveness of marketing methods and dictate the outcome of promotional activities. Here, this article assesses the impact of different aspects of the Asian culture on marketing methods for products sold in Asian markets or where Asian people abide.

Definition of Culture

Culture is defined as the aggregate beliefs, rules, institutions, techniques, and artifacts that brand human populations. The term culture has also been taken to mean the sum total of the programming of the human mind. Sociologists use the term socialization or socialization process to refer to the impact of caregivers, friends, schools, religion, and the association with other society members as the foundation for one’s culture. These influences lead to learned behavioral patterns common to people living in a certain society or locality. It is evident that the definition of culture depends on where one is interested in focusing, the aspect of the analysis, and the disciplinary perspective (Cox, 1994).
Looking at culture from different angles is essential in understanding cultural differences. Different cultures embrace a collection of measurable criteria, which are always arguable. However, there is a sturdy consensus that the essential elements of culture are religion, culture, values, customs, attitudes, and norms practiced by a certain group of people. Language is probably the most essential way to look at and differentiate cultures and their specific beliefs, values, opinions, and attitudes of a certain individual or group. Therefore, culture affects the way a group of people looks at and receives marketing information (Mooij 2009).
Religion, which connects to both regional characteristics, as well as dialect, also affects business culture through a collection of shared values (Foucault, 1999). People from the Protestant religion believe and understand the need for investment, delayed gratification, and saving. Max Weber, a sociologist, stated that Protestants promoted the spirit of capitalism in the industrial revolution (Kadhi 2009). On the other hand, people from the Muslim and Hindu religion look at saving and investments from a different angle. Asians are predominantly Hindu, and their religious affiliations, just like their cultural affiliations, affect how they perceive products and marketing information, in general (Wolters 1999).

Analysis of Asian Culture

The Asian culture is wide, but Hofstede and Hall’s analysis highlights the important aspects of the culture in marketing. Hofstede provides a great analysis of cultures from the marketing dimension from his 1970 and 1980s writings. Although the work of Hofstede has been dated, it still gives important insights that are essential in the business world (Hofstede, 2011). On the other hand, Edward Hall, an anthropologist, proposed the time orientation concept that elucidates how cultures manage their time. He also presents important information that can aid in the understanding of cultures and the impact of the cultures in the business world.

Group Orientation

According to Hofstede, low individualism or collectivism is one of the major characteristics of the Asian cultures. The author of organizational culture literature posits that Chinese people and other Asian majority societies work together as group subjects because of their group orientation. Hofstede drew the conclusion from studies of IBM employees in seventy nations. Collective programming of the mind of people distinguishes members of one group or society from those of another. The study of employees of IBM from myriad countries showed that people from the Asian community grow with the education that they should have respect for the group in which they belong. When they become adults, they remain as members of that group and can differentiate themselves from members of other groups. They think in a collective manner with most of the time using the term “we” to show their collectivism.
Several scholars have studied the impact of collectivism on marketing and business. One study that endeavored to look at the impact focused on the brand related consumer habits. Focusing on South Korea and correlating the study population with the control population in America, the study realized that personal collectivism alignment had a substantial impact on both equity and brand loyalty among both Koreans and Americans. However, the researchers found that brand loyalty was higher among the Asians because of their high collectivism as opposed to the Americans who have low collectivist orientation. On the other hand, the research showed that brand equity was significantly higher among the Asian population as opposed to the American population. The implication of these findings is that collectivist consumers, regardless of their national culture, show higher brand equity and loyalty than those who have individualistic alignment (Boonghee Yoo 2009). Another study also suggests that collectivism perspectives affect the perception of mass media. Collectivist cultures embrace soft sell advertisements that magnify their culture as opposed to individualistic cultures that use hard sell appeals.

Family orientation

Family orientation and relationships affect how people communicate, and that could have an impact on their perception of marketing methods. Hall divided cultures depending on their modes of communication. High context cultures differ from low context cultures, and the Asian cultures portray this feature in a major way from how they live in their families and society. Asian families maintain high-context communication, and they portray characteristics such as explicit communication, internalization of material, long-term relationships, stronger boundaries in their families, knowledge in relational and situational, and face-to-face relationships. Due to the high-context nature of communication among the Asians, advertisements that come from low context cultures may portray family values that are not acceptable. Further, the communication may lead to misunderstanding, as different interpretations are involved (Nishimura et al., 2008). Hall’s theory on communication among the Asian families is reinforced by Hofstede’s theory of collectivism and individualism, as Asian cultures regard family connections or family groups more highly important than other cultures (Pitta et al., 1999).
The implications that Hall and Hofstede’s findings regarding the Asian cultures may have on advertisement is huge. It means that Asians want to see family values in the advertisements or marketing material they come across for them be convinced about the rightness of the products. An article in USA Today amplifies this further stating that advertisements that depict marriage, family or hard work appeal to Asians more than other forms of advertisements. In addition to that, Hall’s theory means that those intending to reach the Asian markets should ensure that they are not misunderstood as the culture value internalization of material or content.

Regard to Social Status

Social status refers to how people deem themselves in relation to others. Hofstede calls that characteristic power distance. Power distance refers to the distance an individual keeps or feels between himself or herself and other people in a position of power. The Asian culture reflects high power distance values; the power distance indexes show that they have high scores for these characteristics that are used to define cultures. This means that Asians who are superior maintain a great distance from their subordinates or those who are inferior to them. One study asserts that there is an idiosyncratic Asian cultural alignment to power and other such political phenomena. They also value authority, legitimacy, and their work are bound to provoke wails of protest (Lomperis 1987).
In societies that have high indexes of power distance, the person at the lower level has to defer to those at the higher level in an unfair manner. However, while doing this, they might feel that it is okay or natural. The higher person, on the other hand, accepts the perception in the same manner or accept the consequences for failing to abide (Bryan 2014). Such systems appear to demand things that depict their power in an appealing manner. They desire products that supplement to their status in the society. Therefore, it is good to wary of the power distance index of the Asians in order to market things such as luxury cars that embody who they consider they are in the society. Even those who are low in the society desire such products, as they want to elevate themselves and afford higher ranks. On the other hand, segmentation is highly important in societies with high power distance indexes because of the demarcations that are already present (Roll, 2005).
The Asian culture shows the importance of comparing groups that are within the same culture. In Asia, for example, gender should never be about political correctness as the term is a misnomer by itself. Those who appear to oppose certain facts regarding gender issues or are fearful of the viewpoints that regard gender. As such, people who are fearful of certain viewpoints lump their fears under the term “political correctness.” No good will or good sense would favor the term “political correctness” as its use regarding gender is not forthright. However, there are those of goodwill and good sense who favor perceptions sarcastically dismissed as politically correct by those on the opposing sides. In line with the demarcation cultural level and individual level, comparing a culture’s subgroups can lead to better results in marketing. The power distance factor in Asia proves the importance of understanding the various strata in a society or culture in order to carry out successful marketing and promotional activities. Otherwise, a company may be advertising a product that is irrelevant to the wrong stratum in the society. Income differences are also visible in the strata in the Asian culture, meaning that products that fit one stratum are not the same ones that should fit another.

Conclusion

Culture is an important aspect in our communities as well as in the business world. For example, the Asian culture has rich cultural heritage such as traditional music, foods, and clothing. Young people were educated about their culture and always encouraged to uphold it. There were specific holidays and festivals that symbolized the traditional aspect of the community. However, the cultural aspect of the region changed in the eighteenth century when it embarked on intellectual journey to the west. During this period, it tried to balance its cultural heritage and the new technology that was coming from Europe Consumers' behavior is greatly influenced by cultural diversity and other related variations in the community. Globalization proves to have both negative and positive impacts on different nations today. Some of the negative impacts include abandoning the culture of most people, pollution of the environment because of use of different forms of production in industries. And decay of the society as a result of the modern forms of dressing. However, globalization has been of positive impact in Asia. Nevertheless, what one culture prefers is different to what others desire and the principles determine the success or failure of marketing strategies and the companies that use those strategies. The Asian culture, as seen, is largely defined by group orientation, family orientation, and social status. They are collectivists, hold close family ties, and regard power distance highly, and that has myriad implications for marketers. They have to package their information and products that consider the brand loyalty, family values, and strata of this culture.

References

Boonghee Yoo, 2009. Cross‐national invariance of the effect of personal collectivistic orientation on brand loyalty and equity. Asia Pac. J. Mark. Logist. 21, 41–57. doi:10.1108/13555850910926236
Bryan, C., 2014. Handbook of Research on Effective Marketing in Contemporary Globalism. IGI Global.
Cox, T., 1994. Cultural Diversity in Organizations: Theory, Research and Practice. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Foucault, M., 1999. Religion and Culture. Taylor & Francis.
Hofstede, G., 2011. Dimensionalizing Cultures : The Hofstede Model in Context. Online Read. Psychol. Cult. 2, 1–26. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1014
Kadhi, W.E., 2009. Cross-Cultural Destination Image Assessment: Cultural Segmentation Versus the Global Tourist: An Exploratory Study of Arab-Islamic and Protestant European Youths’ Pre-visitation Image on Berlin. Diplomica Verlag.
Lomperis, T.J., 1987. Review. J. Polit. 49, 332–335. doi:10.2307/2131159
Mooij, M. de, 2009. Global Marketing and Advertising: Understanding Cultural Paradoxes. SAGE.
Nishimura, S., Nevgi, A., Tella, S., 2008. Communication Style and Cultural Features in High / Low Context Communication Cultures : A Case Study of Finland , Japan and India. Helsinkifi 783–796.
Pitta , D. a., Fung , Hung-Gay , Isberg , Steven , 1999. Ethical issues across cultures: managing the differing perspectives of China and the USA. J. Consum. Mark. 16, 240–256. doi:10.1108/07363769910271487
Roll, M., 2005. Asian Brand Strategy: How Asia Builds Strong Brands. Palgrave Macmillan.
Wolters, O.W., 1999. History, Culture, and Region in Southeast Asian Perspectives. SEAP Publications.

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