The most important thing today in this global market for any kind of firm is how well they present themselves in front of their target consumers. This is a highly competitive market and advertisement is the crucial part of it. A hot discussion is prevailing from a long time about the format or better say mode or strategy for advertisement. From around 5 decades marketing gurus are continuously presenting their opinions on it. It is firmly believed between the expertises of marketing that uniformity in brand image for the multinational firm's products will surely benefit the company. Another strategy favouring this strategy is the cost saving behind the use of advertisement and reuse of resources. But again it contradicts itself as the biggest problem associated with it are the maintenance of brand image, cost associated to maintain it (Jain, 1989). The three main objectives behind any promotion or advertisement are 1) promoting the knowledge of product among the consumers, 2) increasing the sales of that product by targeting the consumers interest to buy it and 3) building up a brand image.
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As per James R. Ogden (1992) in his book Essentials of Advertising, the advertising strategy is divided into three main categories.
- International (in starting advertisement is centralized and later decentralized).
- Multinational (centralized and have full involvement in foreign market).
- Global (product is advertised same worldwide).
The adaptation of a particular strategy among these three is a tough task and equally important too. In 1961 Elinder has introduced a concept of standardization of advertisement for the products used throughout Europe. It was a period of emerging market for different big organizations. Same was supported by Fatt(1967) and Buzzell(1968). But the biggest impact was given by Levitt in 1983 in his journal The Globalization of Market a Harvard Business Review. He cited that the increasing technology, communication and transportation has increased the demand of global advertising strategy. Peebles (1989) also supported standardized policies due to the increasing need of maintaining the uniformity in the brand image. Different cultures have different approach to get through them. Both high and low context culture should be treated in different ways. Like any advertisement in high context culture should be more affectionate, full of feelings, which shows that the brand is nice to them. While opposite in low context culture the direct benefits of brand should be indicated.
Advantages of standardization of advertisement:-
There are various advantages of adopting the standardization of advertisement. The first and the most important thing what every private non public firm looks first is the reduction in the investment i.e. lowering the expenses. So by the global advertising strategy, cost saving is the first most important thing for the companies by creating and rotating same idea all across the world (Buzzell, 1968; Kaynak, 1989). Another advantage is the consistency in dealing with the consumers by setting up a uniform brand image worldwide, which helps in making the reliability of the product worldwide specially those customers who visit different nations (Buzzell, 1968; Peebles, 1989). Third important advantage is the reuse of good ideas. And lastly global advertisement strategy provides a simplified and easier planning and coordination to the company (Buzzell, 1968; Mooij, 1994; Sorenson & Wiechmann, 1975).
Disadvantages of global advertising:-
Although there are various advantages of standardization of advertisement but on the other hand some serious issues contradicts its advantages. Few very important among them are:-
- Maintenance of uniform advertisement approach: as because of the differences in culture, traditions, language, life style and so many differences, it is tough to develop and maintain the common approach.
- Language barrier is another obstacle in this way of universal advertising approach. For example,
- For some markets, effective penetration is needed. In such conditions and places localization of advertising is important.
In some situations specially, global advertising approach is highly effective in comparison to the other advertising strategies. Some of such situations are like:-
- When the commodity or service advertisement have a visual impact.
- Products for global consumers.
- Highly technological products like PC, mobile phones and other gadgets etc.
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As in all above situations the reliability of product is highly needed. For example, Marks & Spencer which has a very good name in UK is entering in the market of Asia with the same brand promotions like in UK, and then automatically a mindset will be made among the consumers about its performance and products that the service would be same like in UK. The same is what coca cola do. They have a same promotional campaign throughout the world just with a mixture of local additives. Hence not always, but in many cases a global advertisement of commodities creates a major impact on the consumer.
Apart from the standardization of advertisement, there are few more accessories associated with it. These are:-
- Local law adaptation: Some of the laws always vary from country to country. Like in many countries driving rules are different than others. So the advertisement For example, automobiles launched in Japan, UK and other countries with right hand drive rule, companies provides the same model and other services added with the localization of product.
- Adaptability of language and culture: Language is a major factor influencing the mass. It creates a direct impact on the consumer. For example, coca cola advertise in different country with same add but in the local language and local celebrity.
- Life style specific: Although products and services are same, but a local lifestyle adaptation is very important. For example, McDonalds Corporation advertises itself in around 60 countries with almost 12,000 outlets. The company maintains its standard product quality. Though they vary in products like in INDIA, they do not sell pork and beef foods while it is majorly sold in countries like US and UK. But still they promote themselves with same promotional tag line "I'm lovin' it".
In today's global market day by day the effectiveness of global advertisement is increasing. Increasing market capitalization policy of companies is now transferring their international marketing into global marketing. Although the practice is not so effective for the small firms but international brands are making profit of it. Hence for a better brand image and for having uniformity in this brand image throughout the globe it is very important for multinational firms to have a global advertising strategy.
Every company is running in the race of being a renowned multinational firm in today's economy. They are satisfying their market capitalization need by highly strategic marketing and advertising policies. It's a race to make more and more consumers in their side. Hence for the uniformity of the brand a globalstrategy of advertisement is highly needed. It has several advantages over localization but on the same hand standardization has certain drawbacks as well. Some of the most important features of standardization are:
- Low cost.
- Reuse of resources.
- Uniform brand image worldwide.
- Easy reliability by customers.
- Easy market capture.
- Uniformity in advertisement practises.
And some disadvantages are:
- Different consumer needs and usage patterns in different locality.
- Differences in culture and thinking may harm the promotion of the product.
- Modification in advertisement may create a different sense in different cultures and languages.
- Different political, social and governance laws may not allow the advertisement.
- Maintenance of uniformity in advertisement.
Hence the effectiveness of global advertisement over international advertisement strategy varies as per the market culture and needs. It cannot be specifically said that it is better over other.
- Jain, Subhash C. 1989"Standardization of International Marketing Strategy: research Hypothesis" journal of marketing.
- International marketing: modern and classic papers, vol II, Stanley J Paliwoda & John K. Ryans, Jr.
- James R. Ogden 1992, "The essentials of Advertising".
- Day, George S. (1994), "The Capabilities of Market-Driven Organizations,"Journal of Marketing, 58 (October), 37-52
- Prahalad, C.K. and Yves L. Doz (1987),The Multi-national Mission. New York: the Free Press.
- Buzzell, R.D.(1968), Can you standardized multinational marketing? Harvard Business Review, 46, 102-113.
- Elinder,E.(1961). How International can international advertising be? International Advertiser, 12-16.
- Fatt, A.C.(1967). The danger of "local" international advertising. Journal of Marketing, 31,60-62.
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In 1976 Edward T. Hall one of the famous anthropologist has introduced a concept of High Context Culture and Low Context Culture. In his book "Beyond Culture" he explained the different aspects of human nature associated with this pattern of communication. Here context word refers to the nature feeling emotions and culture associated with any individual. The main purpose behind this theory was to explain the communication pattern among different cultures. In hisBeyond Culture, published in 1976 by Anchor Press/Doubleday, in New York, Hall states: "High context transactions feature pre-programmed information that is in the receiver and in the setting, with only minimal information in the transmitted message. Low context transactions are the reverse. Most of the information must be in the transmitted message in order to make up for what is missing in the context."(Hall1976; 101)
Also according to Montaigne," The most universal quality is diversity". So for any multinational business the person dealing with different customers or workers from different countries and culture should be well aware of the communication pattern in different countries. Whenever a communication is being done between two or more persons from different cultures, this theory must be taken into consideration. Hall says that every individual is faced to so many perceptions, views, tastes and body sensations making it tough to pay attention on all of them at a time. So it is important to emphasize on few very basic concepts of communication.
HIGH CONTEXT CULTURE:
High Context refers to the groups or societies where there is more emphasis given for the interpersonal relationships and the members have a close interpersonal relationship between each other. The members of this group know how to communicate with other member because of the interaction with each other. The simplest example of such environment can be any ones family. Hence a "high context" refers to the less verbally explicit communication form with less formal interactions. Hence they are relational, communalist, sensitive, and introspective. . It is not vey task specified. Some of the followers of such culture are Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, French and Latino etc. In words of Hall it is explained as, "A high context communication or message is one in which most of the information is alreadyinthe person, while very little is in the coded, explicit, transmitted part of the message." (Hall, 1997, p. 6). Another writer Gudykunst (1983) in his book "Intercultural communication theory" describes high context cultures as those which derive meaning from the context of an interaction, such as the age or social or professional status of the communicants, or from the use of nonverbal clues and signals.
Some of the important characteristics of high context culture are:-
- More use of expressional lines like jokes and metaphors are used.
- Body gestures are often used.
- Communication is more in terms of art than being specific.
- Groups are preferred over individualism.
- Less verbally explicit communication.
- Less formal.
- Good interaction with the communicating partner.
Some of the countries following such culture are Korea, Latin America, France (to a certain extent), Japan, China, Middle East, West Africa and Black South Africa.
LOW CONTEXT CULTURE: - in such a culture the conversation is more in direct form and interpersonal relationship is ignored in it. Communication in low context is totally task oriented. They are clear in their thoughts and more specific towards their verbal meaning. Also very little in the overall conversation is taken as granted. Hence there are very few chances of misunderstanding in the flow of information. This culture values facts, logics and being direct. Decisions are made on the basis of facts rather than the justification, emotions, feelings and intuitions followed by action. The communication is supposed to be clear, precise and straightforward. Some of the characteristics of such kind of communication are:-
- Knowledge is codified, public, external and accessible.
- Knowledge is transferable.
- Interpersonal relationship for shorter duration.
- Task oriented.
- Rule oriented.
- Information or knowledge is more publically exposed and accessible.
- Disagreement and acceptance is expressed at the moment.
Some of the countries following low context communication are America, United Kingdom, Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and White South Africa. It also refers to the society or group or community of people who tends to have multiple connections but not for a longer period or duration of time.
It is tough for any person from one of these cultures to get mixed with another. There are always some chances of misunderstanding when any individual communicates to another context culture. For different conditions different possible approach may be needed. But there are some misunderstandings which sometimes occur while dealing with a person from different culture.
HIGH CONTEXT INTERECTING WITH LOW CONTEXT COMMUNICATORS:-
- Information should be kept precise and task oriented i.e. being more specific.
- No more phrases and quotations should be used.
- Body language should not be used in excess.
- Off routes may not be much beneficial I clearing the doubts.
- Interaction should be framed as per individual's nature or mood.
LOW CONTEXT INTERECTING WITH HIGH CONTEXT COMMUNICATORS:-
- More relation building approach should be used.
- Communication should be more kept with the emotional and feeling side of heart.
- Body language and hand gestures can me more fruitful.
- Proper acknowledgement should be given to the person interacting with.
- Nonverbal messages can be used.
CONCLUSION:- Motto behind any formal or informal communication is to perfectly transfer the information or data which is supposed to be. This means to convey the exact matter what you are saying. But some precautions are highly needed while one is interacting a person from different culture and background so as to avoid unwanted misunderstanding. Some of the important things which should be taken in account while communicating among different cultures are:-
- Body language and hand gestures.
- Acknowledgement pattern.
- Relationship building.
- Way of communication.
- Checking to be more task oriented or relation oriented.
As when a person from low context is interfacing with a high context body language and gestures should be effectively made in use. Also a proper acknowledgement should be provided nonverbally along with the verbal communication and a relation building approach may become effective. And on the other side when high context person interact with a low context person he should be aware of keeping the content more precise and specific. No more relation building approach should be used.
- Edward T. Hall,The Dance of Life. The Other Dimension of Time(New York: Doubleday, 1983).
- Donal Carbaugh,Intercultural Theory[on-line] Available fromhttp://eco.ittralee.ie/personal/theories_III.php#1; Internet.
- Lustig, Myron and Jolene Koester. 1998.Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication Across Cultures(3rdEd.). (Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1998), 30.
- Edward T. Hall,Beyond Culture. (New York: Anchor/Doubleday, 1971). http://www.iabc.com/cwb/archive/2008/0408/Thomas.htm