The Impact of Cultural Differences on Global Marketing Strategies: Challenges and Solutions
Cross-cultural Business Behavior: Marketing, Negotiating, Sourcing and Managing Across Cultures
The era of globalization has brought economies to expand and integrate into different economies. Companies are expanding their business globally facing significant challenges while doing so. Because different economies’ marketing mix is based on their culture, values, etc. To stay relevant and gain market share companies adapt based on the region’s culture and customer values. The challenge of navigating cultural differences when expanding into global markets companies look for different solutions, sometimes they had to even take exceptional measures just to fit into a culture. The growth of new technology has enabled marketers to reach a wide range of consumers beyond geographical boundaries. Because of that study of cultural diversities for marketers is evident. Different countries have different norms, languages, beliefs, customs, traditions, and values in their culture and way of expressing themselves. Businesses need to be aware to refrain from offending any culture.
Culture is a very complex and versatile thing. To form a successful foundation for success in the global market understanding of culture is evident. Marketers must deeply research and know the market culture even if the language is the same. For instance, both in US and UK use the same language but still, there are a lot of differences in regularly used words. Understanding the cultural dimensions, values, beliefs and customs of a particular market is essential. For example, while some cultures value individualism and personal achievements, others prioritize collectivism and community. These variations require marketers to tailor their messages, positioning and advertising to align with cultural preferences. (Gesteland, 2002)
Examples of cultural challenges of popular brands and their actions
McDonald’s expanded to the Indian market, and they encountered a major issue with their menu. Since most of the population are followers of Hinduism, cows are considered as sacred animals, and eating beef is seen as a sin. This posed quite an extraordinary challenge for Mcdonald’s since McDonald’s has an iconic beef-based menu. To stay relevant and to not offend any religious value of Hinduism McDonald’d came up with a vegetarian menu to cater in the Indian market and they have been very successful in continuing to do so. This adaptation of McDonald’s in the Indian market is a very unique solution and most pleasing too. They gained a lot of popularity with their vegetarian menu and a lot of loyalty from customers in the Indian region.
Airbnb faced a lot of cultural differences relating to the trust. Staying in a stranger’s house in some reason can be seen as very unusual and uncomfortable for people in different regions. Strangers’ homes can be perceived as unsafe and not trustworthy. As solution, Airbnb provided its user with in-depth details of the host to build trust and spread awareness about the security of the Airbnb platform. They introduced verification, reviews, secure payment process. They prioritized safety and focused on trust-building campaigns to spread awareness in those regions about Airbnb. They are now the leading company in the global accommodation market.
Originally founded in the USA, Nike when expanded to the global market they faced a lot of relevance problems. As global sports are different in different nations. In the US where baseball and basketball are famous, but in Europe football is immensely popular. What Nike does is wherever they expand they try to promote and improve that region’s popular sports by sponsoring local teams and athletes. They associate themselves with locally popular sports personas to gain market loyalty. Their localization strategy allowed them to successfully expand to the global market in so many countries with different sports and cultures.
Consumer behavior and preferences is vital in crafting effective global marketing strategies, cultural influences change consumer behavior and preferences in different regions. Adapting products, packaging, and pricing strategies to align with cultural preferences and local market demands. This approach demonstrates a company’s commitment to understanding and meeting the needs and desires of local consumers. (Keegan & Green, 2015) Studying consumers purchasing behavior can tell marketers how to present or produce their product or service to reach the maximum impact on consumers. Understanding consumer buying behavior can be different in different cultures. In some cultures, people might have a lot of options so they often research a lot before buying anything. In another region, it can be very different. Pricing according to buying behavior is also different, in some cultures, it may seem that cheap products are seen as bad quality whereas they are not and people are still buying the expensive ones thinking that they might use better materials. A lot of things influence consumers buying behavior, In different regions it’s different. Brands only focus on some factors that they can control. Thanks to technology brands now use a lot of data to influence more factors as much as possible to bring out the maximum potential in sales.
Understanding of cultural differences in the global market is very important for the marketing effort. Understanding cultural norms, languages, values, traditions, and socio-economy all of these aligns with consumer behavior to influence consumers’ purchases. To get customer loyalty embracing cultural diversity and changing efforts accordingly is the key to crafting a strong connection with audiences to build brand loyalty and achieve long-term success in the global international market.
Gesteland, RR (2002). Cross-cultural Business Behavior: Marketing, Negotiating, Sourcing and Managing Across Cultures . Copenhagen Business School Press.
Keegan, WJ, & Green, MC (2015). Global Marketing . Pearson Education.