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The Marketer's Handbook: Reassessing Marketing Techniques for Modern Business by Laurie Young

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cmp03uf001CULTURAL VARIATIONS

Application: International Marketing

The Concept

People in different parts of the world have different languages, mindsets, preferences, attitudes, and prejudices. This “collective programming of the mind”, the inculcation of indigenous culture, occurs during childhood and adolescence; and different cultures create different expectations and attitudes in customers. It is often so subtle that people themselves can be unaware of their own cultural perspectives and biases. Yet it has a profound effect on their attitude to life and business. While another country may look misleadingly similar to home territory, there are underlying attitudes to life and business that mean different criteria are used to make judgements. These differences in lifestyle, values, behaviours, and business practices between different geographies and cultures are difficult to identify, digest, and manage. While stereotypes and clichés are often exaggerated, there are genuine differences in taste and approach, which can cause real problems. This is a marketing issue because some products and services are intensely personal and affected by imagination, aspiration, allegiance, atmosphere, intonation, or body language. Cultural differences can affect their success in different countries or regions.

Language is an obvious example. When Coca-Cola first started serious international expansion, for ...

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