The Role of Culture in Consumer Behaviour


By

Ashish Sharma
Lecturer
University Institute of Management
R.D. University
Jabalpur
 


INTRODUCTION

At Present all the major Companies are marketing their porducts beyond their home countries. They are extending their operations in the global marketing. The often issue comes before these companies are no to sell the products outside but how to manage the total selling situation outside the country. How to trap each country with the same or tailored  condition.

Many countries are now joined in the communities of nations and chances are that these diverse market will be transformed in to a single market of homogeneous group. The multinationals are spreading the fever of similar variety in most of the nations. As more and more consumers come in contact with the material goods and life style of people living in other parts of the world, they have the opportunity to adopt these. The researcher has to depend on the condition of the specific country.

Some marketers have view that markets are becoming homogeneous so the application of standardized marketing strategy will be possible. The standardized strategy will be more feasible. The question arises on the shared values and needs. The needs can be common but values will have difference. The companies are becoming concentrate on favoring a world brand. The brands, which have started as a local brand are now well accepted as a world brand. The brands like Gillete, Parker Pen General Motors are in this category. These brands are well attached to the culture of country. The problem comes when to spread and extend the same culture to other countries. The regional differences are there to show a difference on each other. The purchasing action assessment will be essential to know for the marketers.

The brands are communicated to the consumers according to culture of the country. How can be a consumer across the culture different from each other. Can there be and extension of consumer behaviour along with a product or services of one country to another country. How consumers in one culture secure exposure to the goods of other people living in other culture is an important part of consumer behaviour. The question arises that how marketers mingle these cultures together and manage it for longer duration of times.

The marketers introduce the new products and services to the market and they try to exploit the exposure gained by the new culture. The consumers also gather the taste through different measures and gather different cultural view. This is known as culture transfer. When consumers are making purchase decisions they may take in to consideration the culture of their country. Culture becomes a criteria of evaluation for consumers for deciding various purchase decision. The purchasers have an attitude for different products belong to the different countries. For an example Ford belongs to America, Mitsubishi belongs to Japan. In view of these marketers the total apathy for Psychological, Social, Cultural and Environmental characteristics of other countries and society. Marketer will first have to obtain an in depth picture of society's present attitudes and customs with regard to preventive medicine and related concepts. The very important situation exist for marketers is to understand the culture objectively. The most important situation is that consumers present their attitude about the foreign products and how much consumers are influenced with their own culture.

Need of study-

It is often difficult for a company planning to do business in foreign countries to undertake cross cultural consumer research. In Islamic countries the gathering of four or more people is not allowed so the research for companies like focus group etc. are not applied in that society.

Culture is part of the external Impact that influences  the customer. That is, culture represents effect that are put on the consumer by other individuals.

The definition of culture  includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom, and any other system received asa member of societyCulture, as a "complex whole," is a system of interdependent components.

  • Knowledge and beliefs are important parts. AS a In the U.S.,citizen some belief about efficiency is very strong. Chinese and Japanese have the same beliefs in other sense..  Civil society of different countries have accepted these as a norms. Culture has several important characteristics: (1) Culture is comprehensive. This means that all parts must fit together in some logical fashion. For example, bowing and a strong desire to avoid the loss of face are unified in their manifestation of the importance of respect. (2) Culture is learned rather than being something we are born with. We will consider the mechanics of learning later in the course. (3) Culture is manifested within boundaries of acceptable behavior. For example, in American society, one cannot show up to class naked, but wearing anything from a suit and tie to shorts and a T-shirt would usually be acceptable. Failure to behave within the prescribed norms may lead to sanctions, ranging from being hauled off by the police for indecent exposure to being laughed at by others for wearing a suit at the beach. (4) Conscious awareness of cultural standards is limited. One American spy was intercepted by the Germans during World War II simply because of the way he held his knife and fork while eating. (5) Cultures fall somewhere on a continuum between static and dynamic depending on how quickly they accept change. For example, American culture has changed a great deal since the 1950s, while the culture of Saudi Arabia has changed much less.

Cultural rules can be classified into three types. Formal manner, Informal rulmanner and Finally, technical cultural rules involve implicit standards as to what constitutes a good product.

Language is a significant member of culture. It should be realized that regional differences may be subtle..

Different perspectives exist in different cultures on several issues; e.g.:

  • Symbols differ in meaning. For example, while white symbolsmeans purity in the U.S., and a symbol of death in China. Colors that are considered masculine and feminine also differ by culture.
  • Even in terms ofmanners, some cultures have more tough procedures than others. In some countries, even thstandards are for giving the gift.

The United States has undergone some transformation in its culture over the last severalyears. Again, however, it should be remembered  in mind that there are great deviations within the culture. For example, on the average, Americans have become less materialistic and have opted for more leisure and even the long hours working has also increased

Many changes have occurred in gender roles in  USsociety. One of the reasons is that more women work outside the home than before .Subculture refers to a culture within a culture. For example, African Americans are, as indicated in the group name, Americans; however, a special influence of the African American community is often also present. For example, although this does not apply to everyone, African Americans tend to worship in churches that have predominantly African American membership, and church is often a significant part of family life.

Different perspectives on the diversity in U.S. culture exist..Subculture is often categorized on the basis of demographics. Thus, for example, we have the "teenage" subculture and the "Cuban-American" subculture. While part of the overall culture, these groups often have distinguishing characteristics. An important consequence is that a person who is part of two subcultures may experience some conflict. For example, teenage native Americans experience a conflict between the mainstream teenage culture and traditional Indian ways.

Values are often greatly attached with age groups because members within an age-group have shared exposure.

Regional influencealso plays an influencing role both in the  America and other areas, is significant.

Unlike in Middle East or Asia, guys seem to love aggressive girls in the US. My survey shows that American guys find aggressive and flirty women very attractive. One person told me that no matter how ugly the woman is, once she shows her interest in him and willingness to you-know-what, her attractiveness increases by about 10%. Physical contact is the key and flirty comments like "you are kinda cute" or "have you been working out?" are tacky but greatly appreciatedA company's success in marketing a product or service in a number of foreign countries is likely to be influenced by how similar the beliefs, values and customs are that govern the use of the product in the various countries. Too many marketers find  International expansion is not a right strategy for companies with preconceived  notion that marketing is failure outside the domestic. The product I like jeans if have to be communicated to the consumers then it will have to present life style .The consumers behave in a stressing a social group image. The life style plays an important role for deciding the culture of the society. The youth and old people adopt the particular life style which in a way give with to the particular culture with country specific. 

This gives an opportunity to some products for consumption and marketability. The marketability also depends on culture of adoption of certain products. The products also get position with cultural suitability and beliefs of the consumer. The customer will create the need for such product and culture of buying such product will be created.

The present study well cover following areas

    1. The various dimension of culture which affect the buying decisions of company.
    2. The age group and culture will affect each other.
    3. The country and society is also have influencing situation towards the culture.
    4. Sub culture also plays and important role in deciding the culture dimension of customer.

    The study will analyze all the situation.

Hypothesis

The following hypothesis have been selected for study

    1. Culture affects the buying decision category of customers selectively.
    2. The intensity of culture works in different magnitude in various   age group of customers for buying decisions
    3. The  life style factors influence buying decisions of customers
    4. The culture is adopting flexibility in purchasing of various products.      

The Review of Literature

Larry Jabbon sky(1995) has presented a situation have pepsi Affected the consumption culture in the youth. Giwen Rae Bachmann, Deborah Roedder John and Akshay Rao(1993) had described the condition that how does children effect through peer pressure in selecting their purchase choice.

Dennis W Rook(1985) has written about the various dimension of consumer behaviour. The article also highlighted the relative importance of various factors of consumer behaviour. Lise Heroux and Nancy J Church(1992) have justified the behaviour changing of consumer on the occasion of wedding anniversary and gift giving rituals.

David M Potter(1954) presented the situation of consumers with diverse nature and ambitions. Cyndee Miller(1995) has described the 80 different natures of women as a  purchaser in different capacities. Kate Fitzerald(1994) has described the role of life style in deciding the consumer behaviour factor. David C Mcclelland(1961) has described the behavioural consumption of customer. Ramesh Venkat and Harold J Ogden(1995) has described the contribution of social classification in consumer behaviour pattern.

Rober A Nisbet(1970) has stressed that social bond plays a very important in deciding the consumer behavioural status.

Deborah Bosanko(1994) has given the situations that working women play an important role in deciding role in culture of consumer behaviour.

Eric Holl Reiser(1995) has given the description that club play an important role in developing a consumer culture. The advertising age(1995) has given the reasons for developing different consumer images.

Jeffery D Z bar(1995) has presented the seen of different society within the countryculture. Leon E Wynter(1994) specified the role of group effect in deciding the purchasing behaviour of consumer. Kari Van Hoof(1994) has mentioned the group differences play an important role in deciding the consumer behaviour.

Judy Cohen(1992) has different between different community system about the purchasing system. Chad Rubel(1995) has decided that behaviour of market play an important role in deciding the consumer behaviour.

Helen Mundell(1994) suggested that age plays an important role for deciding the consumer behaviour. Maxine Wilkie(1995) has advocated that Demographic plays a vital role for deciding the culture of consumer. Adweek's Marketing week(1994) has given the seen of vanishing culture of housewives and replacement by workingwives.

Reasearch Methodology

The research design selected for this study is exploratory. The new facts about the culture and its relationship on the consumer purchase decision. The research work is intends to cover new facts about the practility of the culture in consumer decision making.

The sampling method adopted for research work was simple random sampling method. The sample selected was 200. The data collection method was based on the following

1. Questionnaire
2.  Observation

The respondents have been observed at various players like at shopping Hall, Talkies, Market street, Beauty Parlours, Hotels, Restaurants, School, College and various social gatherings.

Data Analysis and interpretation

Sample classification is based on following as N=200(sample size)

Sample Unit Classification

S.No

Sample Unit

Strength

1

Student

50

2

Professional

50

3

Business

50

4

Tourist

50


2. Culture and buying decision classification

Factors

Rational

Emotional

Total

Using the culture effect

75

25

100

Not using culture

30

70

100

Total

105

75

200


The x2 cal value's 58 and calculated valne's3.84 the hypothesis is referted and there is 3. Relationship between culture and buying decision of age group holders.

Age Group

High culture Conscious

Medium Culture conscious

Low Culture
Consciously

Total

20-40

45

50

15

110

40 and above

64

20

06

90


The x2 calvalue is 279.09 and calculated value is 31.4 Hypothesis is rejected and it is true at that age group affects culture

5.4  Life style affects the culture.

6.
 

High involvement Decision

Low involvement
Decisions

Follow past Trends

Total

7. "belongers

35

25

15

75

8. achievers
9.

25

27

18

70

10. experientials"

15

20

20

55

Total

75

72

53

200


Response situation


 

High

Low

Total

Standard

60

30

90

Regional

55

45

100

Total

115

75

190


Languagge also give its response.

7. Social Values Selected For research

Social Value

Response

Comfort

25%

Age group effect

30%

Social Mobility

10%

Material success

15%

Health and Fitness

5%

Appearance

8%

Relationship To Technology

7%


Values  also work as a trendsetter.

Dress code status in culture

Response status

Dresscode

High

Low

Total

Formal

25

65

90

Informal

20

45

65

Total

45

110

165


Dresscode also work as a category.

Festival and cultural occassion

Cultural intensity

Festival

High

Low

Total

Small Community Festival

75

25

100

Majority Community Festival

85

5

90

 

160

30

190


Festivals also affect the buying.

Findings

The study reveals that the culture affects to the owned product and rented product separately. When a consumer owned the product then the level of belongingness is different.

Age group also plays an important role. In every age group varied response shows that age affects the culture to a great extent. Life style also playing an important role a life style varied with the different age group situations.

The different class of life style also exhibits the response to a culture. Every class behave as per their on parameters. Language also works with its component. The standard format of language works differently. The regional format of language works differently. The dress code also plays an important role in dealing with culture aspect. Formal dress code and informal dress code affect separately. The formal dress code and informal dress codes decides the status of mindsets for consumers. The festivals also significantly decide the cultural situation.

Conclusion and Suggestion

1.Study of culture is very essential for marketers
2.The role of culture could be decided under the marketing strategy formulation process
3.The culture also works in a component style
4.The various variables of culture are independent variables.
5.The diagnosis of cultural factor is also universal at many times.

References-

Larry Jabbonsky, "Pepsi Sees If consumers Wanna Guarana, "Beverage World, Jne 30, 1995, 3.

Gwen Rae Bachnann, Deborh Roedder John, andAkshay Rao, "Children's Susceptibility to Peer group Purchase Influence; An Exploratory Investigation", in Leigh Mc Alister and Michael L. Rothschild, eds., Advances in Consumer Research 20 (Provo, UT: Association for consumer Research 1993), 463-68.

Dennis W. Rook, "The Ritual Dimension of Consumer Behaviour", Journal of Consumer Research 12, December 1985, 251-64.

Lise Heroux and Nancy J. Church, "Wedding Anniversary Celebration and Gift-Giving Rituals : The Dialectic of Intimacy, In RObert L. King, ed., Marketing : Perspectives for the 1990s (Richmond, VA : Southern Marketing Association, 1992) 43-47.

Divid M. Potter, People of Plenty (Chicago; University of Chicage Press, 1954), 167.

Cyndee, Miller, "Study Dispels '80s Stereotypes of Women, "Marketing News, May 22, 1995, 3.

Kate Fitzgerald, "Hallmark Alters Focus as Life Styles Change, "Advertising Age, October 31, 1994, 4.

Deborah Basanko, "Why do working women work out?" American Demographics, February 1994, 12-13.

Eric Hollreiser, "Reebok: The Club," Brandweek, February 20, 1995, 1.

Leon E. Wynter, "Group Finds Right Recipe for Milk Ads in Spanish", The Wall street Journal, March 6, 1996, B1.

Leon E. Wynter, "Group Finds Right Recipe for Milk Ads in Spanish, "The wall Streel Journal, March 6, 1996, B1.

Harvey Braum, "Marketing to Minority Consumers", Discount Merchandiser, February 1991 44-46, 74 : Chul Li, "The Asian - American Market for personal products", Drug and cosmetic Industry, November 1992, 32-36 and ashok Pradhan, "Ethnic Markets : Sales Niche of the future, "National Underwriter, November 6, 1989, 18.

Helen Mundell, "Direct Marketers Discover the Elderly, American Demographics, June 1994, 8, 20.

Maxine Wilkie, "Scent of a Market", American Demographics, August 1995, 40-49.

"America's Vanishing Housewife", Adweek's Marketing Week, June 24, 1991, 28-29.
 


Ashish Sharma
Lecturer
University Institute of Management
R.D. University
Jabalpur
 

Source: E-mail May 31, 2007

       

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