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All most of human behavior is mediated by symbols, signs, sounds and other things that represent meaningful concepts. For instance, the religious symbols found in the most represent particularly belief system and are used to remind person of their faith and their moral code. The most formal and frequency uses as symbolic of culture is language because it uses symbols to represent objects and ideas. In fact, symbols are not only language also including things such as national flags to wedding rings also money that human created to representation for a communication and understanding in the people in the same society.
Elements of culture
Material culture this factor is divided into two parts technology and economic. Technology is including a technique which using for create a material goods it is the technical know-how by the people of a society. Besides material culture is all of the physical objects which created and give meaning to by human such as cars, clothes, schools, computer and books. These objects became a part of culture after meanings have been given. In additional non-material culture are ideas, knowledge and beliefs that influence people behaviors. The level of technology is demonstrate in many ways for example in countries like Germany, the United State and Japan that have a high level of technology their population has more chance to learn and adapt new technology. For economic this is concern about the capability and the resulting of the production of goods and services, their distribution, consumption, means of exchange including income.
Language is a set of symbols used to assign and communicate meaning. It is a names or labels of things in the world so people can think and communicate. Language is a social product for communicate and interaction between people in their social. The successful marketer should be achieving expert in communication which requires through understanding the language as well as the ability to speak. However, many believe that to be an expertise in the true meaning of a language it is necessary to live with that language for years also until be a mater in the vernacular. Wherefore, language displays the nature and values of society and there are many sub-cultural languages like dialects which may have to be accounted for. For example, some countries have two or three more languages such as in Zimbabwe there are three languages - English, Shona and Ndebele with a various dialects. On the other hand, language can cause communication problems especially in the use of media or written material. The best way to learn the language is to learn from someone who understands it very well.
Social institution this stage is concerned about the way people relate to each other by social organization and a political structure by activities that bring them to live together in harmony and control themselves. There are including the position of man and woman in society, the family, social classes and group behavior are different within every culture. For example, in some Asian countries man is more power and in the higher position than woman like a man is a leader of the family. Another example is Japan, group of men and women taking a steam bath together without a perception as improper culture this is due to learning in social culture of their people.
Education in each culture teaching their generation what is their ways of culture, custom, traditional and believe which is acceptable and not acceptable, right or wrong also the ways of behavior in their social. Therefore this is an important knowledge for marketer to learn the role and level of a particular market. It will influence the marketing strategy and technical. For example, which is a type of advertising and communication to be used that is depends on high or low on the level of education.
Belief system is one of the most sensitive elements of culture which is more concerns in religion, superstition and including power structure. Religion has a deep impact on the value systems of a society and upon to people's habits and belief and the product their buy also the way they buy. A certainly type of food they consume, clothes and everyday behavior are mostly affected by religion. In some country this might effected to the acceptance or objection of promotion message or advertisement that would be judged immoral or improper in one culture and the products would be rejected in another culture. As same as superstition that plays a large role in a belief system of social of many part of the world especially in Eastern culture such as in many parts of Asia country ghost, fortune telling, palmistry and phase of the moon are all whole parts of certain cultures. For example, in Thailand their people belief that the number of the room in the house should be odd number for their luck and in some personal case Thai people not allow another people to touch their head this is because of the belief that head is the highest part in the body and belonging place of god.
Aesthetics refer to the ideas in culture which concerning for beauty and good taste as expressed in the music, art, drama and traditional dancing and the particularly on color and form such as African music is different in form to Western music. Aesthetic shows a difference affect in design, colors, packaging, brand names and media messages. For example, the brand name FAVCO would mean nothing to Western importers on the other hand in Zimbabwe most people would instantly recognize FAVCO as the brand of horticultural product.
In my point of view, people generally are not aware of their culture this is due to the way while people interact and do things in daily lives seems as a natural way.Â This is the reason why people are unaware of culture since they are so close to it and know it very well. Only when they come into contact with foreigner from a different culture so that they become aware of their patterns of behavior are not universal. In the same way of doing business if the company is doing business in foreigner country company should be more concern and focus on elements of each culture which is different. Identify and learn to understand culture elements which may involve in marketing plans or policies to satisfy the needs and wants of the target customers. Including marketing policy may concentrate on the production of particularly products or items that can be specific to a various culture as well as for the promotion plans should be base on the targeted natively customer and their interest even though, some of those elements are direct impact or may only involve however, if the marketing plan is responding to the market target and products are needs also not contrast or interrupted the elements of native culture that marketing plan will become a successful.
Question B. Cateora and Ghauri (2006) state that 'for the inexperienced marketer, the 'similar but different' aspect of culture creates an illusion of similarity that usually does not exist'. What do they mean by this statement? Explain and give specific examples to illustrate the points made.
According to Cateora and Ghauri state in my point of view this state concerning in the point of culture similarity and different. Even though several countries around the world can speak the same language like England and United State or other countries which having a similar culture, region, traditional, and the way of life but in their similarity still difference in some details of each nationalities, socials and communities not only country and country but also into a small community as well. For instance, similarities in one culture does not means acceptable in another culture therefore, some products only can be accepted in one culture as well as the promotional message, plan or policy which succeeds in one culture on the other hand, it may or may not succeeds in another. Although people start with the same idea or nearly the same approach in this case British and American are English speaking but their own culture are totally different. Sometime even the same word but the pronunciation and spelling are different as a unique. A common language is not always interpretation in same meaning which it may cause a completely misunderstood.
There are many examples of the language such as in UK sometime people often use other word instead the real one like lift more than an elevator, American prefers to use toilet instead of bathroom and the word hoover is more frequently use in England than a vacuum. Not only the languages that shows a similarity but also including the alphabet in each culture. For example, in some Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea are using a similar alphabet this is because of the origin of these languages had been adapted from Chinese alphabet until they have their own unique national character even though some national characters are exactly the same but difference in meaning. Another example is Thailand. Thai people have their own language and unique alphabet however, people from the North, East, West and the South divided their own language by the way they speaking and using different pronunciation which separate them from each other including use their own local words and pronunciation that brought a totally different meaning even same spelling with an official language.
In conclusion, in the world of business, marketers can control many areas in planning market policy and strategy such as product offered, Promotion plan and price and distribution methods. In fact there is only one that cannot be control is a culture environment, domestic market may not have many influence on the other have if company is playing an international marketing then the new culture environment will be influence to their marketing plan. New culture is always a big issues for many marketers whose just entered into the new environment which sometimes are familiar to the native one, However, for the unfamiliar culture may affect to marketing plan and influence to the product of the company. According to the new challenges so marketers have to plan a new strategy also learning by absorb into new environment from local people or hiring native staff to follow and learn to understanding those elements of culture and traditionally way. Marketer should open your mind and easy to learn and to adapt and absorb new environments and pay more attention to needs and wants of new culture consumers to bring a new marketing plan which responding and reach to a company objective.
Culture not only make the world a different also having a deep impact in marketing area according to an examples since language is one of a culture elements even though some are familiar and can be easily to understand. In my point of view, marketer should learn some basic of culture which important and must keep in mind that in some characteristic of language even a similarity but there is nothing exactly the same thing. Marketer must not easily jump into the conclusion that all similarity will come along with a common set of consumer needs and wants. One marketing and promotion plan can be accepted in one culture but unacceptable in another culture this is the result of many ways such as a misunderstanding of using language or a wrong translation of the meaning. Moreover, some case of mistakes it may accidently shows a violation to culture norms or belief of another country without being informed which may cause people an uncomfortable feeling.
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http://www.fao.org/docrep/W5973E/w5973e07.htm#the elements of culture