Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adapting to Cultures – Marketing in Global Environment

Aravind BM | NITIE

Adapting to Cultures – Marketing in Global Environment

Globalization has not only brought people, communities, places closer to each other but has also turned many cities, regions in the world to cosmopolitan. We should not be surprised to find that our neighbour or our colleague or a friend in Facebook comes from a land thousands of miles away and follows an entirely different lifestyle and culture from ours. The never before proximity of people of varying background in both digital and physical world has enabled us to know about a variety of cultures which seemed arcane a few years ago. This ever-widening knowledge about different cultures owing to growing number of touch points to experience various cultures has helped marketers to understand the culture and use their understanding to develop new marketing strategies based on culture.
Culture can be understood as an integrated pattern of human knowledge, beliefs and behaviour. Culture exerts a considerable influence on day to day activities of life thereby forming an integral and important part of anyone’s life. People pay attention when you identify and acknowledge them and they identify themselves with their culture. People of any given cultural group feel more connected to the products/ services when they are advertised keeping the cultural aspect of that particular group in mind.
As they say “One man’s thrash is another man’s treasure”, a promotional strategy which is very successful in one culture might be an utter failure in another culture. One of the classic examples is the ever famous “Bite the wax tadpole” translation of coca cola in Chinese. Coca Cola had to change its name in Mandarin to comply with the “language” which forms an integral part of any culture.
Ogilvy and Mather, the ad wizards of the world have started “Ogilvy Noor” the ad agency of the Muslim world. Ogilvy Noor is the world’s first bespoke Islamic Branding practice, offering expert practical advice on how to build brands that appeal to Muslim consumers, globally. Muslims Consumers occupy a significant part of world consumer base, both in terms of individual purchasing power and number of consumers. Ogilvy and Mather recognized both the uniqueness and importance of this market and by creating Ogilvy Noor it makes ads and offers market insights for companies targeting the Muslim market.
Back home in India, similar efforts are in progress to woo consumers on “culture factor”. India is a motley of cultures with each state boasting of multiple cultures. We have been seeing different Television ads for a single product, each ad targeting consumers of a specific culture /language, some others stressing on the cultural heritage of various regions of India (e.g “The taste of India” campaign of AMUL). This is just the tip of the iceberg, a lot of By virtue of a rich cultural heritage; India offers huge opportunities as well as challenges in the field of cultural marketing.
Culture is not only just a way of life for people; it is also a potential demand generator and a market creator. For example the traditional Indian wedding which is celebrated with pomp and gaiety and which is an integral part of the culture of people is a billion dollar market. It is the biggest market for various goods (e.g. Textiles, Gifts, jewellery) and services (Catering, event management). Similarly the innumerable festivals in India also provide a good opportunity for “cultural marketing”. Crackers and sweets attract very high demand during the festival of Diwali; Greeting cards and other goodies during Christmas, New year time are classic examples of demand stimulated by culture.
Thus we see that Culture has become one of the most important aspects of marketing in today’s world, offering new avenues for marketing products and even encouraging development of culture specific offerings and creation of new markets.

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