Content Analysis from Malaysia and the United Kingdom
A) Background of the problem Over the last two decades advertising phenomenon has turned out to be a major area of interest in marketing, social psychology, cultural studies, mass communication, and cultural anthropology on a global scale. Of greater concern is the rising demand for cross cultural adverting globally. The cultural orientation and inculcation into the global setting provides a plethora of diverse challenges as the local cultures become more active and determinants of global progress.
Though scholars have differed over the exact niche upon which the demand lies, an agreement on the international need for particularistic harmony appears to have been reached. Clifford and Clifford (2008) argue that whether from an interpretative point of view, quantitative or qualitative notion, and the results of Cross Cultural Advertising are of growing importance. Although advertising as a discipline has been studied for long, cross cultural advertisements have been intertwined with Globalization and demand for external outsourcing, interlink, investment, coordination, competition and overall representation has shifted.
This has opened major windows for cultural imperialism with such forces that integrates and simplifies manifestation of norms, expression, strategies, and cultural values. The desires, tastes and preferences invoke modernized outlook to fit in the expanded market forces adjusted to cater for the local demands. However, the new demand poses the major question as to whether the global consumers will get more similar or the differences will continue to grow. It is also not very clear of the possible outcome that would result from the convergence of these cultures. According to Boddewyn et al (1986, pp.
69-75) semiotics has been a major connotation in advertising that shapes the overall information and dictates the reception to be attained. With correct semiotics, it is considered possible to harmonize and perpetuate varying messages with vigor and great success for various products. Psychologically, it pushes for the inner message that is communicated from the signs and interpreted on the local context to accept or reject a certain products or service. International companies have had major problems in articulating the correct semiotics due to ignorance of the local cultural affiliations in demand and choice.
B) Setting of the problem and scope of the study Though cross cultural advertisement is a relatively new term in the advertisement realms, the aspect is highly articulated at the grassroots of many countries and communities. Notably, most of the developing countries have strict demands with regard to their cultures and what they want their citizens to get at any particular moment. However, the developed world has higher levels of liberalized operations where great autonomy in the content of the advertisements is allowed.
This research explores cross cultural advertising in the developed and developing world to answer the research questions and attain the objectives outlined. Therefore, the dissertation explores advertising in the developed and developing world by exploring the operations in UK and Malaysia (Colvin eta al, 1980. pp. 73-79). The scope of the research draws international focus and the recommendations projected outwards to ensure a totally holistic overview is maintained. ? Malaysia background and cultural setting Malaysia is a federation that consists of thirteen states and three federal states located in South East Asia.
The country underwent a strong economic boom of about 8% during last decade of the 20th century which saw it grow into an industrial power to reckon with. With a high population of about 27 million, it is highly multi ethnic with Malays being the largest group. By constitution, Malaysia is a Muslim state but upholds strong ideals of human rights with regard to religion and affiliation (Clifford % Clifford, 2008. pp. 125-127). Notably, about 30% of the population in the country is of Chinese origin while 7. 1% is of Indian origin.
Though Muslim is the largest religious group, the country is highly multi religious with Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Chinese religions operating freely in the country. Similar to most of the developing countries in South East Asia and other regions globally, the country has strongly held to the ideals of the content getting to its people and particularly those of younger ages. Notably, Muslim states have strong association to their faiths and therefore prohibit direct intrusion into the ideals of their religion whatsoever.
Recently, the country has had a strong shift to the western formats of consumerism. However, it has been equally resisted making the new ideals to settle down much slower (Deng et al, 1994, pp. 153-166). Notably, the country has strong advertising codes that govern the mode and the content that can be released to the public at any particular moment. It is highly sensitive to the people’s culture and external intrusion described to be subtle. Upholding high levels of religious tolerance, the country’s leadership has indicated its concerns over the erosion of culture from the western ideals.
Though analysts have differed on the penetration of the western advertising ideals, they appear to have agreed that with rise in globalization and glocalization it is hard to seal the western aspects s from impeaching into the local influence (De Mooij, 2003, pp. 56-59). ? UK background and cultural setting United Kingdom is a unitary state that consists of four countries notably England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Unlike Malaysia, the country is highly developed with its industrial muscle tracing back to the 17th century.
Due to its earlier international influence through its expansive colonies, the country has influenced other cultures greatly especially with reference to language. Notably, the country has a large population of about 60. 9 which is highly diverse with English being the official language. Other languages include Latin, Old Nose, Old English, Celtic English, French, and western German. Due to vast industrial growth, the country has a strong affinity for external markets and thus advertising to gather market for these products (Clifford & Clifford, 2008. pp. 152-159).
Owing to the bloody history the country has had to get to the current position, it maintains a strong tolerance to religious and other cultural demands for the people in the country. Notably, the connotation of the country being one of the founding members of the European Union denotes the overall consideration of the interstate cooperation with others to enhance social-political and economic stability within the region. As a result, the country has been at the fore front in the demand for Globalization and removal of international cultural barriers by other countries to enhance trade for its mass produced goods (Lerman & Callow, 2004, pp.
510-515). Control of vast trade considerations are shifting from the country orientation to regional union demands that have opened ways for strong capitalistic demands to ensure more trade and harmonized success. However, the regional Union has strong calls and demands for quality and standards which it does to protect its citizens from harm and malpractices of the business community. The culture has been described as an emergent one where notion of boarders is ceasing with speed and advertisements designed to capture the larger regional and international appeal to gain the maximum returns.
C) Aims and objectives This dissertation explores cross cultural advertising as a new discipline with the following objectives. In to the new strategy with an aim of establishing; 1) To establish the impacts of cross cultural advertisements in the global market as a modern trend. This will establish the overall capacity to increase the predetermined aspects of Globalization by the international community. 2) To analyze the main cross cultural advertisements consideration that is used by international companies to enhance their general acceptance.
Being internationally oriented, the study will seek to know the best advertisement models and options that are applicable to the international community. 3) To establish barriers that accrues to cross cultural advertisements at the local and international level. Using varying theoretical perspectives, the dissertation will explore the ability as well as the hindrances that are uncounted by the Cross cultural advertising globally. 4) To find out the best cross cultural advertisements procedures, forms and models that have the maximum effects to the audience.
This will be a major platform in making the correct recommendations on the best cross cultural advertisements designs to the international community. D) Study questions To achieve the above objectives the dissertation was guided by the following questions that aided in enhancing the flow and harmony of the research. ? What is the main impact of culture on global advertising? ? How do organizations adjust to the effect their advertisements in the highly culturally diverse globe? ? What is the reception of the western advertising systems to the eastern countries and other fast developing countries?
? How can cross cultural barriers be addressed to ensure better and cohesive advertising is achieved on a global scale. E) Justification As indicated earlier, advertising as an international aspect was previously taken with a light touch as states and more countries focused on the local markets as opposed to the international demands. However it is becoming very important to articulate a greater focus that holistically incorporates the international ideals by supporting the local cultures through enrichment as opposed to being a major threat to it.
As indicated in the objectives of the study, the dissertation is inclined at ensuring greater articulation of the international ideals with minimal destruction of the people’s cultural ideals on a global scale. It will therefore explore the international considerations of the breaking points and how they can be harmonized with better inculcation for successful communication. ? Change over time Cross cultural advertising cuts across the national and international realms that bind together people and their traditional life modes with an intention of bringing them inline to the international demands.
This study is very essential in that the current period is largely based on change that builds up on the overall dynamics for addressing the people’s emergent consumerism patterns. Clifford and Clifford (2008, pp. 102-103) describes change as the only certain aspect in life and further calls for measures that would assist people assimilate this change with minimal corrosion and negativity. By examination of the cross cultural communication, modes and models of relaying information dependent on the local choices will be derived for convenience.
Though analysts have differed on the success of the western countries advertising and cultural connotations due to lack of sensitivity especially with regard to the younger groups, they have agreed that their models are stronger in appeal and richer in content that makes them yield better results. This notion therefore niches out the correct grove for a hybrid advertising model that has stronger focus to particular groups in terms of age, religion, season, and other phenomenon that gives maximum yields with minimal negativities. ? Need for integration and international interdependences
Notably, the current international shift and focus to enhance flow of ideals and technology from one state to another has been intertwined with the demand for grass root support. Cross cultural advertising ideals will therefore interpret and unravel the password that guarantees perfect reception for advertisements of goods and services from across the boarder. Whereas marketing has taken an international outlook, many bruises have been registered in terms of the resultant negativity that enshrines itself with such a great force to increase crime and social injustices in the community (Onkvisit & Shaw, 1987, pp.
45-55). However, the need for integration in the 21st century is the main driving force for growth and industrialization. This global outlook and orientation on interdependence will therefore be necessary in establishing the values that are acceptable to the international community as a whole. Collectively, the study gives a clear comparative framework and establishes the major woes that most of the developing countries foresee in the international advertisements.
As part of the overall design the principles of advertisements on a cross cultural basis will assist in capturing the international market for a sustained growth in the modern era. ? Standardization and technological advancements Underscoring the rising demand for communication, between the producers and the consumers at local and international levels, it has become necessary to ensure that the most appropriate coding of messages is articulated to attain the correct mission of maximizing the returns via more sales for companies.
As indicated earlier, the concept of integration as a hiding cocoon has made it hard for most companies to succeed in marketing their products in the culturally diverse countries like Malaysia (Deng et al, 1994, pp. 153-166). The idea of standardization therefore operates on a general note with emphasis on the major aspects of products and services while leaving the rest of the finer details to the advertising agents to articulate. In UK and the whole of EU region, it is a requirement of the products producers and all advertisers to ensure that all human support aspects are well guarded under their jurisdiction.
The study therefore ensures that the additional semiotics is effective and acts to enrich the products to gather popularity (Harvey, 1993, pp. 57-64). As a result, technological progress and innovativeness propagates the general concept for the overall locality and international orientation. F) Globalization and glocalization in advertisements Globalization denotes the recent trends in the world where movement of technology, goods, services, capital, and human labor freely operates internationally.
Glocalization on the other hand has a direct application in the advertisement realms for fostering the internationality of products and services with the added vigor of local orientation. Of greater notion is that the processes demands for non-restricted movement and sharing of information between states and counties globally. Though the process has vast connotations of political and administrative interests, it is mostly economically inclined with the flow of information being the core of the whole process.
Advertisers have therefore taken advantage of the process by ensuring that goods and services information is available at the local markets. As indicated earlier, international products and services intended for the local market should ensure that they articulate the local cultural demands in order to succeed (Taylor, 2003, pp. 246-247). ? Research and cost saving in cross cultural advertising Arguably, production of goods and services is a tedious process which results are determined by acceptance of the products and services in the market by the consumers.
The audiences, as the consumers are therefore the main pillars upon which the success of the former is based on. With Globalization being annotated by the drive for mass production, the need for research into the consumer buying behavior is very essential to establish their cultural umbrella under which products should be directed to. With opening of the international boundaries through reduction of tariffs and/ or total removal altogether, advertisers and producers view this as a major door to boost their market shares globally.
Notably, tastes and presences exhibited in one part of the globe may be totally inapplicable in other regions. In most of the Muslim and Hindu dominated countries like Malaysia, foods which have beef and pork contents are usually highly unwelcome (Deng et al, 1994, pp. 153-166). However, similar products have high affinity and demands in the Western countries like Britain and USA. The original advertisements should avoid all aspects that act to harm the cultural taboos and beliefs of the people.
Coca Cola’s coke side-of-life has an international appeal that is posted internationally but executed differently in different states of its operations. Ford Motors Company has had to change the orientation of its vehicles marketing in UK to reflect the target market. In UK it emphasis quality and comfort of its vehicles while in developing countries it emphasis fuel economy and toughness to beat the rugged terrain. Similarly, Volvo advertisements across the world have diverse appeals with variant appeals.
In US Volvo adverts emphasize on fuel economy, durability, and safety while in France, they denote status and leisure. In Germany, the same model is sold with considerations of performance while in Switzerland and Mexico it is sold with emphasis on safety and price respectively (Van, 1997, pp. 258-262). According to the Rasch model, the international markets success is entirely dependent on the third world countries due to their maintained high numbers. Clifford ; Clifford (2008, pp. 112-115) expresses the expected ‘invasion’ into the local cultures with marketing ideals directed at ensuring market colonization.
The perceived saving of costs will therefore shift to the normal forces of supply and demand orientation as global market internalizes the concept. To add to that, the research has to be explicitly local in content but global in design due to the local competition that has easy flowing local approach. Similarly the western advertisements have demanded more research to derive the most effective catching and appealing adverts. This made the business of advertising to revolutionize its survey and request the main appeals for people’s desire and preferences.
Due to its effective marketing strategy, Dell Company in US doubled its subsidiary UK sales in the last decade of the 20th century. The mode of contact and interaction with the people has become the direct western culture where the advertisers and the consumer are more connected than before. ? Reforming the traditional diplomacy As indicated earlier, glocalization has recently shifted a notch higher to dictate the overall consideration by the audience as a way of guaranteeing the global confidence.
The current economic crisis has been reported to be a wake up call for the producers to focus more on the consumer’s demands as opposed to the much publicized mass production. During the early 1990s global recession, poor focus on the staff was staged as the major cause for the recovery delay. Presently, companies with the correct sense of touch with their consumers through advertisement, products design and overall application have maintained their ability to survive. Traditionally, advertisements were aimed at ensuring the consumers got the information of where and when to get various goods and services both locally and internationally.
The adverts were designed with vague messages that pointed at the might of the organizations that made the products or produced the services (Ha, 1997, 148-152). Though quality was mostly not compromised and competition was much lower, the notion formed the loophole for later destruction of quality by the same producers. The modern adverts have differed greatly by focusing not only on the products, but also on the consumers and their intrinsic inclination. Advertisements and products have therefore to focus on the external demands that are not necessarily related to the products.
Due to the overall evolution of football as part of the culture in UK, companies’ advertisements have affiliated their products to it to get sales. During their annual general meeting of the year 2007, the marketing manager of Barclays Bank indicated that the major source of their consumers was the company’s affiliation to football. Due to the ability to understand the cultural demands of the people it became possible for Barclays to uphold their values. Other banks like Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) maintained strong profitability due to the direct sponsorship of golf for the top performers (Clifford ; Clifford, 2008).
Technology has on the other hand assimilated particular connotation of the people advertisements to carve the people’s overall tastes, preferences, and fashions. Being a strongly Muslim state, Malaysians have assumed the fashion and dressing code that reflects Muslim ideals. Successful advertisements therefore should assimilate the local codes and modes of consumption or risk total failure (Deng et al, 1994, pp. 153-166). International companies venturing in the countries have mostly assumed a cooperative approach as part of their guarantee.
? Adaptation to the local content and analytical review Due to the high value attached to their cultures globally, most advertisements have shifted to local inculcation and outsourcing that gives their products the local appeal. This has been adopted as a glocalization demand that shifts the ideals of a product to the local market. As a survival strategy, the products are made with the local design and advertisements designed by the local media. As indicated earlier, Malaysia like other countries have a strong backing for adverts and products that are made locally in their countries.
Whereas religious affiliates have refused to acknowledge that they are the main obstacle to globalization and glocalization in the modern era, it is a fact that their follower’s faiths have strong attachments to their actions which is in turn reflected in the market through forces of demand and supply. Christian products with high demand in Britain cannot make sense to Muslims in Malaysia (Deng et al, 1994, pp. 153-166). Community affiliation and approach by the audience in the East have served as a major form of identity as opposed to their counterparts in the west who are highly individualistic.
Products and services therefore have assumed a religious alignment either directly or indirectly to reduce confusion and guarantee progress. Lack of local affiliation has been linked to making wrong interpretation and invokes greater dislike by the audience as it turns to alternatives. In Hong Kong and Malaysia, the rugged cowboy image that was portrayed in the Marlboro man was very unsuccessful due to the local urban population inability to associate with the horseback riding in the towns. Of greater confusion was the riding man who was not from Hong Kong or Malaysia this repelled the consumers away.
According psychologists, personalities of the people in the East are so much inter-tied that even for those who understand various messages still do not go for it in solidarity to the rest. As a result, the local setting of the adverts would make more people associate with it due to familiarity that gives them pride devoid of fear (Kaynak ; Ghauri, 1986, pp. 129-135). G) Summary and conclusion of the chapter Advertisements in the new era of globalization have shifted its focus to global cross-cultural orientation that serves to give a guarantee to the host company of better audience and latter sales.
Notably, both the western and the Eastern producers have shifted their overall focus to ensuring that their audience intrinsic demands have been met. Glocalization on the other hand has carved the needed niche for ensuring that the international advertisements take local approaches that are hooked to international considerations. Notably, the Western audiences have greater autonomy and are more individualistic in approach to advertisements as opposed to the Eastern audience. The influence of culture particularly on communication has posed one of the largest challenges due to particularistic peculiarity demand that posts variant outcomes.
In his Cultural-Advertising research, Dahl (2004, pp. 45-47) has indicated the criticality of the quagmire indicated by the variant results from practitioners and other researchers. Whereas many practitioners have focused on the international demands and cultural selectivity, local and national variation in values and orientation poses a plethora of similar problems. Though the local scene has similar paucity of solutions, it is much easier to address and therefore a possible starting point (Dahl, 2004, pp. 59-62).
Notably, the Eastern cultures are at a major transition period with most of the western aspects in consumerism and technological advancements being at an early stage. Cross cultural advertising therefore forms part of this culture due to its acceptability and the progressive identity derived from it. Clifford ; Clifford (20008, pp. 201-207) noted that in the West, the advertisements beings used presently represent a long time evolutionary derivation that is entirely shaped by the people values and attitudes dependent on the stage of social-cultural and economic demands of the time.
Similarly, the semiotics of the East will progress on the same mode but in a reverted system due to the fast and vast technological application. In his trial to dissect the overall system to De Mooij (2003, pp. 74-79) argues that the semiotics in the West manifest “false actuality” a system which differs with the west where only selective aspects are released to the consumers. De Mooij continues to differ with others in that he calls for advertisements that are for and by the local people but but internationally fetched.
Local values, norms, attitudes and beliefs form the people and must be represented at all aspects of the glocalized advertisement application. To portray the minor shenanigan as depicted by the researchers, Dahl (2004, pp. 59-62) pointed out that Britain and majority of the Western advertisements deliberately use success, happiness, security, which are overrepresented via use of beautiful, young, and wealthy people. This ideology has failed to bridge the precarious lifestyles of the Easterners who view the adverts as possible abuse of their status.
In the fast growing discipline, few researchers have employed the intrinsic analysis of the content from the audience point of view and with a localized setting to derive the expected outcome. The success of the new discipline will therefore lie in the semiotics decoding that inculcates the greater outline which incorporates the people’s, views, demands, fears, focus, and the general lifestyle which dictates and guides their lives. Finally, the proximity to the cultural basement and immediate response to the dynamism connotation will fix and reciprocate the advertisement arena.
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