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IMPACT OF

CULTURE ON
CONSUMER
BEHAVIOUR

Executive Summary
International marketers believe that consumers would
increasingly resemble each other and that they will eat the same
food, wear same clothes, l watch the same television programs to
an increasing proportion. But the reality is very different.
Therefore, to trade in international markets, man must
overcome the large cultural and economic boundaries. Not only
improve the worldwide competition in the market also different
traditional beliefs, preferences, habits, customs are needed to be
understood.
Culture involves society's thoughts, words, their traditions,
language, materials, attitudes and feelings. One of the elements
that make culture is
beliefs. Beliefs of the people in a community can show
similarities. For example, four, and four times in Japan are seen as
unlucky, because of that most products are sold in groups of five
leads.
Another element of culture, tradition, is related with nonverbal behaviour of individuals. In France the men use more
cosmetic products than the women, which shows the selfconscious tradition of the French men
As a result, learning of cultural properties in the analysis of
consumer behavior has been an important variable in marketing,
especially in market segmentation, target market and product
positioning.

Table of Contents
Topic
Page Number
Introduction
4
What is Culture
5
What is Consumer Behavior
6-7
Role of culture, in understanding the consumer behavior
8
Why it is important for marketers to understand the cultural
Impact on consumer behavior
9-10
Conclusion
11
References
12
Appendices

Introduction
Consumer behavior is largely dependent on cultural factors
consisting of mutually shared operating procedures, unstated
assumptions, tools, norms, values, standards for perceiving,
believing, evaluating, and communicating.
Cultural factors vary by country but become increasingly
complex when people immigrate to foreign countries that have
different cultural dimensions. In these situations, people are
subjected to a wide variety of cultural reference groups that
ultimately affect their purchase behavior. In addition, reference
groups may consist of familial groups or external peer groups with
each group providing specific and often conflicting information
that affects purchase and consumption behavior.
In
response,
marketers
must
develop
marketing
communication that addresses cultural and reference group
factors from both a domestic and global perspective. To this end,
marketers use market segmentation and micromarketing to
develop customer-centric marketing messages with the goal of
providing precisely defined marketing messages that satisfy
consumers need for personal information regarding products and
services so that consumers should be adequately stimulated to
purchase the product or service being advertised.

We define culture as the sum total of learned beliefs, values,


and customs that serve to direct the consumer behavior of
members of a particular society (Consumer Behavior, Shiffman
and Kanuk)
In a broad sense both values and beliefs are mental images
that effect a wide range of specific attitudes that, in turn,
influence the way a person uses to evaluate alternative brands in
a product category (such as Volvo versus an Audi automobile), or
his or her eventual preference for one of these brands over the
other, are influenced by both a persons general values
(perceptions as to what constitutes quality and the meaning of
country of origin) and specific beliefs (particular, perceptions
about the quality of Swedish made versus German made
automobiles)
In contrast to beliefs and values, customs are usual and
acceptable ways of behaving, where the former are guides for
behavior.
E.g.- Consumers routine behavior, such as adding a diet
sweetener to coffee, putting ketchup on scrambled eggs etc..
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What is Consumer Behavior


Consumer behavior is the study of
individuals, groups, or organizations and
the processes they use to select, secure,
and dispose of products, services,
experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and
the impacts that these processes have on
the consumer and society. It blends
elements from
psychology, sociology, social anthropolog
y and economics. It attempts to
understand the buyer decision making
process, both individually and in groups. It studies characteristics
of individual consumers such as demographics and behavioral
variables in an attempt to understand people's wants. It also tries
to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family,
friends, reference groups, and society in general.
Customer behavior study is based on consumer buying behavior,
with the customer playing the three distinct roles of user, payer
and buyer. Research has shown that consumer behavior is difficult
to predict, even for experts in the field. Relationship marketing is
an influential asset for customer behavior analysis as it has a
keen interest in the re-discovery of the true meaning of marketing
through the re-affirmation of the importance of the customer or
buyer. A greater importance is also placed on consumer retention,
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customer relationship management, personalization,


customization and one-to-one marketing. Social functions can be
categorized into social choice and welfare functions.

Black box model


ENVIRONMENTAL
FACTORS

BUYER'S BLACK BOX

Buyer
Marketing Environmenta
Characteristi
Stimuli
l Stimuli
cs

Economic
Product
Technological
Price
Political
Place
Cultural
Promotion Demographic
Natural

Attitudes
Motivation
Perceptions
Personality
Lifestyle
Knowledge

Decision
Process

Problem
recognition
Information
search
Alternative
evaluation
Purchase
decision
Postpurchase
behavior

BUYER'S
RESPONSE

Product
choice
Brand
choice
Dealer
choice
Purchase
timing
Purchase
amount

The black box model shows the interaction of stimuli, consumer


characteristics, decision process and consumer responses. It can
be distinguished between interpersonal stimuli (between people)
or intrapersonal stimuli (within people). The black box model is
related to the black box theory of behaviorism, where the focus is
not set on the processes inside a consumer, but the
relation between the stimuli and the response of the consumer.
The marketing stimuli are planned and processed by the
companies, whereas the environmental stimulus is given by social
factors, based on the economical, political and cultural
circumstances of a society. The buyers black box contains the
buyer characteristics and the decision process, which determines
the buyers response.
The black box model considers the buyers response as a result of
a conscious, rational decision process, in which it is assumed that
the buyer has recognized the problem. However, in reality many
decisions are not made in awareness of a determined problem by
the consumer.

Role of culture in understanding the market


behavior of the consumer

This model depicts the role that subjective


culture plays in determining our beliefs, practices, and values,
which in turn impact our social norms, attitudes, behavioral
intentions and ultimately our behavior.
Subjective culture reflects regional character
(e.g. People living in several nations in a particular region of
South America) and religious similarities or differences, or shared
or different languages, national factors, such as shared core
values, customs, personalities, and group level factors are
concerned with various subdivisions of a country or society (e.g. families, work groups, shopping groups, friendship groups) and
many more factors.

Why it is important for marketers to


understand the cultural impact on Consumer
Behavior
Because culture satisfies needs
Culture exists to satisfy the needs of the people
within a society. It offers order, direction and guidance in all
phases of human problem solving by providing tried and
true methods of satisfying physiological, personal, and
social needs.
e.g.:- Culture provides standards and rules
about when to eat, where to eat, what is appropriate to eat
for breakfast, lunch, dinner etc...
Because culture is learned
Unlike innate biological characteristics, culture is
learned. The three distinct forms of cultural learning are
formal learning, informal learning and technical learning.
Although a firms advertising and marketing
communications can influence all three types of cultural
learning, it is likely that many product marketing messages
enhance informal learning by providing the audience with a
model of behavior to imitate.
Because of Acculturation
Acculturation is an important concept for
marketers who plan to sell their products in foreign or
multinational markets. In such cases, marketers must study
the specific cultures of their potential target markets to
determine whether their products will be acceptable to its
members and if so, how they can best communicate the
characteristics of their products to persuade the target
market to buy.
When using Language and Symbols
To communicate effectively with their audiences,
marketers must use appropriate symbols to convey desired
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product images or characteristics. These symbols can be


verbal or nonverbal.
A symbol may have several, even contradictory
meanings, so the advertiser must ascertain exactly what the
symbol is communicating to its intended audience.
When facilitating Rituals
Most important from the standpoint of marketers
is the fact that rituals tend to be replete with ritual artifacts
that are associated with or somehow enhance the
performance of the ritual.
Because culture is shared
Various social institutions within a society
transmit the elements of culture and make the sharing of
culture a reality. Such institutions are family, educational
institutions, houses of worship and most importantly mass
media. Because consumers receive important cultural
information from advertising.
Because culture is dynamic
To fulfill its need gratifying role, culture
continually must evolve if it is to function in the best
interests of a society. For this reason, the marketer must
carefully monitor the socio-cultural environment in order to

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market

an

existing

product

more

effectively.

Conclusion
As it has been seen and said before, the
world is becoming more and more globalize. People tend to
have the same needs and wishes and that is why in some
cases, companies may have the possibility to produce the
same items and the same advertising campaigns for its
international consumers. However, thanks to the analysis
previously done, it has been realized that strong diff erences
remain according to the cultures of the citizens.
Companies
must
understand
these
diff erences, especially when they sell products that can be
considering as chocking by the population. If they
understand them and learn how consumers think according
to their cultures, they will be able to produce good ways of
communication and sell their products properly.

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References

Shiff man and Kanuk Consumer Behavior( The pages are


attached at the back)

Wikipedia
Research papers

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