Cultural Context & It’s Impact on Promotions for Marketing Campaigns & Strategies
It goes without saying, that the influence of cultural on marketing strategies and campaigns is significant. If a company does not or cannot understand fundamental aspects of culture in a market they are launching or operating a promotional campaign, there is the possibility that the objectives of the promotion may not be realized.
Aspects of Culture
The significance of cultural context on marketing campaigns and related promotions only intensifies when those programs are expanded to other local markets, regional markets, or foreign markets. While the undertaking would likely be formidable, committing resources to commence cultural reconnaissance is essential if any company or organization wants to achieve positive results in a promotional campaign that spans multiple cultures. When looking at the scope of culture and then the context to which it could be applied, there are a number of key aspects that should first be outlined.
It is absolutely critical that when a company or organization is looking to launch a promotional campaign in a specific market i.e. foreign market, culturally unique domestic market not just common/well known cultural traits & traditions are recognized; subtle nuances must also be identified and incorporated into the promotion. A good example of when this did not happen was the 1999 Holiday campaign for Gap; while all collateral used “everybody in color”, when the campaign was launched in English Canada, the reaction by consumers was virtually instantaneous “another American company not recognizing that Canada is, in fact, not the 51st state”. This oversight by the company cost the company both in re-doing all collateral but more importantly, it diminished the reputation of the company in Canada.
Another cultural aspect that must be recognized (and which can be related to the example of Gap in Canada) is language. As language is an important part of any culture, the unique characteristics, such as spelling colour with a U, must be identified before any promotional launch. More importantly, for some countries with more than one language and subsequently culture i.e. Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, the recognition of the different cultures/languages is key. By not doing so companies run the risk of potentially alienating segments of the market which would obviously impact the overall success of the campaign.
There are a few additional aspects worth mentioning. Cultural Characteristics is also important for any marketing team to recognize in a new or potential market; there is a tendency to stereotype foreign cultures as being one particular way or another or to stereotype segments of the market or geographic regions within. By not falling into that trap, companies are avoiding a potentially negative reception to the promotion. Finally, by recognizing Hofstede’s Dimensions (and the four key dimensions he outlined),...