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KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is the worlds most popular chicken restaurant chain. It primarily sells chiken specializing in Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy®, Kentucky Grilled Chickenâ„¢ and Original Recipe Strips with home-style sides, Honey BBQ Wings, and freshly made chicken sandwiches.(www.kfc.com)
KFC was founded by Colonel Harland D. Sanders.in 1964, KFC operates restaurants in 109 countries and territories around the world. KFC operates more than 5,200 restaurants in the United States and more than 15,000 units around the world. KFC is KFC is part of Yum! Brands, Inc., the world’s largest restaurant company in terms of system restaurants, with more than 36,000 locations around the world. The company is currently ranked 239 according to Fortune 500 List, with an excess of $11 billion revenue in 2008.( http://www.kfc.com/about/)
This is a method whereby KFC utilizes a wide range of promotion tools in marketing its products to its target audience. Promotion is an essential marketing toolused by KFc in attracting chiken lovers.IT uses public relations, Tv and radio adverts, Organizing events, discounts or sales promotion depending on its target audience.
The past few decades has witnessed a growing number of businesses expanding their operations internationally. This expansion has led to a number of marketing strategies been adopted by international marketing managers regarding marketing internationally. For business to operate an international market successfully, they must understand cultural differences in their target countries respectivey. “Managers need to broaden their perspective,adapt to other cultures,and make decisions that reflect the needs and desires of those cultures.” (Rugman &Hodgetts 2003 p 126). This discussion critically gives an insight into cultural differences, conceptualization
1.1 CONCEPT OF CULTURE
Culture is a complex term that composes of different definations. Several Authors have given various definations of culture. Hofstede (1980,p87) defined culture as the “collective programming of the mind which distinguishes members of one human group from the other”. Leung et al(2005) also defined culture as the “values,beliefs,norms,and behavioural patterns of a national group”. According to Yapraka (2008), Nakata and Huang’s(2002) definition of culure as “that complex whole which includes knowledge,beliefs, arts, morals and habits acquired by man as a member of a society” defines culture from an international marketing perspective. He further said that this beliefs, customs and habits influences an international marketing managers thinking when adopting marketing strategies and adapting marketing mix.Thus Understanding culture is critical to International marketing mangers when developing marketing policies to suit a particular target market in a country.
Earlier studies on culture research focused on Gert Hofstedes four cultural dimensions and Halls High and low context culture( yakram 2008). According to yakram( 2008) article, Nakata and sivakuman(2001) developed a conceptual framework of how the concept of marketing can be applied in multinationals through hofstedes cultural dimensions.
Similarly, Rutson et al (1997) suggested that national culture plays has a huge impact on work values. He futher stresed that International managers must understand that the determinant of the success or failure of a product depends on how marketing decisions made interact with the culture of a country. For example, Kentuck Fried Chiken must realize that they way it prepares its chiken in USA for instance may not work in Islamic countries due to religious beliefs and customs.
1.2 CULTURAL FACTORS THAT AFFECTS INTERNATIONAL MARKETING
Terpstra & sarathy (2000) stated that Understanding the cultural environment of a country would assist marketers to adapt their marketing strategies if they take the ingredients(elements) of culture into consideration.The elements comprises of language,,religion,values & attitudes, education, social organizations,law &politics, Material culture and aesthetics. This elements are essential ingredients that affects the international marketing managers thinking.
According to Terpstra& sarathy (2000, p95) Language is a distinct cultural difference that must be dealt with. Therefore for international businesses to interact with employees, onsumers, customers they must understand the local language. (Terpstra& sarathy 2000) Studying a foreign language is an essential tool for obtaining information about a country. If a foreign country that has several spoken languages it therefore has several cultures. In Nigeria, they are 3 main languages, and over 50 local languages. This languages are attributed to different cultures.
However, language could pose a barrier for international marketers if they are several languages spoken in one country. For instance, marketing is highly dependent on communication so it would be difficult for markerters to advertise , brand and package their products. If managers cannot speak and understand the local language it would be difficult for them to promote their products to their target audience. Another problem could arise in wrong interpretation .Taking a look at KFC in china where English is not spoken, Management need to train and employ the locals of china in other successfully establish their market.
Religion is another aspect of culture that multinationals handle with caution. Various religions have impacts on consumer behavior and purchasing patterns of a country. In the middle east and Arabic countries Islam is the religion. According to Terpstra & Sarathy (2000) Introducing new products in the an Islamic environment could be difficult. Religious holidays or festivals such as Ramadan are strictly adhered to. Religion is important to Managers because it influences lifestyles, beliefs, values and attitudes. It also affects work and societal customs as well as politics and business in general. According to Wind & Douglas (2007) in thier article on International marketing segmentation,” Difference in beilef systems between cultures may affect consumer behavior and purchasing patterns” Dietry laws associated with one religion could affect marketing of food products and service delivery. (Wind & Douglas 2007) For example, According to Islamic religion, a chiken must be drained of blood before it is cooked or prepared( Halal).It is believed that eating a chiken with blood could affect your spirituality and deeds in islam. This affects the marketing mix of Fastfood companies that are based in Islamic countries because they have to abide by the Islamic law. Hence religion affects international marketing in a number of ways. The economic role of women in Islamic countries could affect advertising.
. Acoording to Rugman& Hodget (2003 p.131), Aesthetics refers to artistic taste of a culture. This taste could in forms, colours,music, design or packaging. Aesthetics values vary depending on the country. International companies need to be aware of the different taste in culture. This is because what is generally accepted in one country may be a taboo in another country. Aesthetic values have an impact on the production and packaging designs of manufacturing industries that operate abroad. International managers need to be aware of taste in colors and symbols when packaging and distributing their products. In 2006, KFC was heavily criticized in china for dishonouring culture by adversing an old Taoist surrounded by his followers holding a chiken burger and claiming it as a master piece. This caused KFC to change its advertising method.
Geert Hofstede, a dutch scholar discovered four cultural dimensions which is now used as a framework for understanding differences in national culture in different countries of the world today. In my research, I discovered his dimensions to culture had strengths and weaknesses. Hofstedes cultural dimesnsions didn’t focus different cultures that exist within a country. In countries like Italy, Canada, and Nigeria, different norms, values, and languages are present. This dimensions to culture only analzed people of a particular country not people within a country. To further buttress my argument,Galit Alion(2008) critized hofstedes observations. He argued that analyzing and gathering results of research on culture from a single multinational(IBM) cannot be applied to the national level.He further refuted hofsteds methodology by saying it was invalid.Hofsteds research was carried out from an organizational perspective rather than a country level perspective.
Masculinity refers to the distribution of roles between men and women and how much a society sticks with gender roles.(www.geert-hofstede.com). His studies further revealed that women roles differ less among socities than mens roles. He also revealed that mens values from various countrues have an assertive approach in business which differentiates it from womens norms and values which is have a caring or modest attitude in work,(www.geert-hofstede.com) In hofstedes Mascuniity index, Australia scored a highscore of 55 while UK sored 60.This means that they share similarities in work values.They both have a moderate masculine culure where men and women work equally in many preferences.
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