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The cultural framework of
consumer behaviour.
Ing. Jiří Šnajdar
Lecture 2.
Cultural influences on consumer behaviour we
understand the effects of cultural environment on the
acquisition, use and storage of consumer products. In
marketing, we trace how culture contributes
to various predispositions which
determine consumer purchase decision-making
2.1. The content of culture.
Understanding the concept can be developed in different
• artificial man-made environment - no human society is
without culture
• complex material, institutional and
spiritual creations used to satisfy human need
• personality of the group
As the second definition suggests, culture is characterized
by human creations files - cultural elements, elements.
From a marketing perspective we are trying to capture a
unifying or differentiating power of cultural elements on the
purchasing behaviour of consumers.
Consumer Culture.
In an effort to affect the culture relation to
consumer behaviour, consumer culture has an expression.
Then, the cultural factors and symptoms associated with
consumption. It is necessary to distinguish
between situations where the consumer understands the
culture of other content, namely, consumer culture, consumer
Components of culture.
For options for marketing orientation is advisable to stop
at what actually constitutes culture. In the
broadest perspective can affect both physical
and tangible results of cultural interaction,
both intangible culture.
Material components
are referred to as cultural artefekty - all consumer goods.
Reflect the intangible elements in particular:
• social regulative
• ideas and knowledge
• institutions
Cultural characteristics
The effects of culture are linked to the relevant factors that
may affect the marketing approaches to customers.¨
Culture is learned. Culture is not inherited issues genetic, not innate. Culture must be learned. The process
of acquiring culture is called enculturation. It
can be consciously andsubconsciously. (nationality, religion)
Culture is transmitted from generation to generation.
Cultural factors have a great momentum in its effect
on consumer behavior. A clear manifestation of a
cultural tradition. Another important feature
is the maintenance of cultural continuity, which makes signs
and returns the response in retromarketingu.
Culture is shared. It is a common concern groups
and therefore consumer groups. The similarity in
consumer culture leads to the application of the
same marketing approach in a given
cultural environment. Considering the cultural similarities is
to decide what size, what criteria used for evaluation
of cultural homogeneity.
Culture is different. The content varies with the culture
of the area. Cultural environment is different in content, there
are differentiated culture. At the same time, there
are distinctive in parallel cultures.
From a marketing perspective, it is essential that manifests
itself in different cultures,different consumer behavior. As an
example for the relationship to cosmetics -French
women acceding to more
coherent than Scandinavian women.
Pitfalls of a global
approach can document preview, which supported
the marketing orientation of Levi Strauss.
Jeans in France were presented in a sexy direction, in the
UK with the theme of cowboys and the Wild West,
Japan topic Heroes. Decision - no potential for all cultures is
the same.
Culture spreads in verbal and nonverbal communication.
Culture is adaptive - dynamic. Although a
relatively inertial effect that does not mean that it does not
change. Early understanding of cultural change brings:
• The potential competitive advantage
• Decrease the potential weaknesses of the company
("green behaviour")
The cultural change can be understood as a change
in some cultural elements with subsequent changes in
social behavior.
Endogenous or internal changes - cultural innovation is
based on the invention.
Exogenous or external cultural changes.
• acculturation: constant intercourse two or more
different cultures leads to changes in the original
cultural patterns.
cultural diffusion:
the dispersion from the original culture center
aggression - forcing the cultural elements
stimulation - in culture, there is a need of reception cultural elements that are part of other cultures
2.3 Marketing major groups of cultural elements
The components of marketing culture is advisable to
specify. The following, therefore,stops at some positions in
consumer marketing, rising to the forefront.
Material elements - cultural artifacts
All consumer products, all packaging waste are all
cultural artifacts. The connection between the culture
of consumer products is the closest. Consumer goods as a
cultural artifact is at the heart of marketing.
Waste as well as cultural artifact
has its place in marketing considerations:
ties within the meaning of the surroundings
within the meaning of recycling
waste monitoring may provide useful information for
marketing decision making.Interesting for municipal
authorities, food industry, real estate offices, restaurants and
the like.
"The overall motto: convicts us of our rubbish."
The intangible elements - social standards, ideas,
For considering the marketing orientation has
no cultural artifact with no ties to consumer behavior makes
sense. For this reason, marketing orientation sees the
impact of cultural influences in the area
of intangible elements of social norms, regulative - set
of cultural norms, sets of knowledge and ideas.
Consumer habits. It can be seen as consistent modes of
perception, preparation and use of products. In terms
of marketing is one of the most obvious groups of intangible
cultural elements, which binds directly to consumer
Reflect mainly the knowledge and ideas, but also standard.
Feeding habits: one of the strongest groups of consumer
habits. They are a reflection of different
national cuisines, recipe files, such as tracking the source
of these culturalelements.
Similarly, we can observe the habits of other areas of
consumption. Habits of dress, fashion, and so on.
Other habits directly related to consumer behaviour from a
marketing perspective:
- shopping
- media
Cultural values
Every culture is characterized by some basic values. Given that
cultural values change slowly, can help when considering
the long-term marketing orientation. In this respect, represent an
interesting and useful segmentation variable, shifting to the
examination of lifestyle typologies.
Value orientations can be followed with emphasis
on position classification. There are different systems
for monitoring cultural values.
One of the known views is the Rokea set of
values that distinguishes terminal and instrumental values:
Types of terminal values: a comfortable life - the excitement equality - pleasure -safety - freedom - happiness ....
Types of instrumental values: ambition - thoughtfulness cleanliness - honesty ...
Another well-known marketing and investigation is looking at
the main factors of Hofstede's value. Basically the following
categories, value orientations.
Distribution of power
Uncertainty avoidance
Long-term orientation
The above views are a strong background in the case of
consumer marketing.
The cultural value is learned, reinforced
and modified within subcultures, ethnicity, social class, family.
The point is that, their links to consumer behavior vary by
more between cultures.
The position of women, men in the cultural environment.
The most commonly used segmentation variables
include gender, associated with different conditional
expressions supplies the social circumstances in which
gender is used.
In this context, it is advisable to monitor the location
of specific cultural values that affect how the cultural
environment that reflected the position of women and men.
Generally one can observe two opposite tendencies.:
Approximation of female and male roles. In terms
of consumer marketing is primarily on the approximation:
Use products disappearing in typically female and
typically male products
- Leisure time activities in
- In the media monitoring
- In the manner in advertising
- In relation to other gender
Strengthening traditional position:
- Returns to fundamentalism
- New traditionalism - educated women become housewives
Language is a significant part of its culture is an
essential component of communication in social life one
must master it. Language is not just a tool to describe,
also shapes the events. Observers of the same event from
different cultures may interpret the facts differently in the same
From a marketing perspective it is essential to link language
and behavior that is reflected in the functions of language. It
concerns the following functions.
-Function control - impact on behavior
-Instrumental function - in the direction of meeting the
needs of material
- Function interaction
- Function impersonation - terms of personality
- Heuristic function - exploring the neighborhood
- Features imaginative
- Function representational express propositions
Most of the links of language and culture, sociolinguistics
monitors. From a marketing perspective have a greater
significance following positions:
- Language and social stratification
- Dialects, slang, argot
- The status of language, language change, linguistic
diffusion and assimilation
- Meanings - polite form of address - Be on first name terms
- Expression of men and women
Other intersections of language as a cultural environment in
marketing relate to the effect of expression, vocabulary,
abbreviations, linguistic borrowing. Significant attention to the
cultural circumstances also requires decisions
about brand names,the slogans.
Non-verbal communication
non-verbal communication is
actually any personal communication, which is based on the
content meaning of words.
Bow, a handshake
- Hand gestures - adapters, indicators, illustrators,
symbolic gestures
- Facial expression - the use of the eyes, mouth, forehead
- Relation - Organization of people in an area
The marketing orientation is clearly entering the
meanings attached to colors,shapes, flowers, animals, but
also products and brands. From there it depends on the role
of symbols in marketing and approaches:
- Symbols as a tool to emphasize product
- Product symbolism
Rituals understand the types of activities that occur
in steady order and repeated over time.
Are differentiated rituals of danger, changeovers, punishment
and reverence.
At view of consumer´s behaviour are sometimes stressed as
important :
ownership rituals, grooming rituals, divestment rituals,
endowing rituals.
Gender significance
Life style significance
Market and status - product, service - age significance
education significance
age significance
values significance
fashion and trends significance
The significance for consumable marketing obtain rituals in
case of social, emotional, psychological risk in scope of
purchase decision of customers.
From marketing view it is appropriate to warn, that in case of
rituals is proved cultural dynamics : rituals have life cycle, one
are missing other are new created in the culture.
Taboo :
Taboo means prohibited behaviour, means not only
misdoing, but also profanation (incest, necrophilia) :
• customs : delimit propriety and impropriety (rules of decent
behaviour, bon ton, fashion). Sanctions : irony, taunts.
• morals : delimit moral and immoral,
• rules,
• taboo.
Fables :
For following of tendencies in consumer behaviour it
is essential to investigate sense of fables proving in given
culture ambience.
Their importance for consumable marketing is for
example in :
• Show the value orientation of consumers and its dynamic.
• Enter importantly into content of media communication.
• In case of some products (for example sphere of free time,
entertainment) become directly the heart of the product.
• Advertisement announcements often use structure of
• Specific aspect of fables´ display in consumers behaviour
is sacral consumption. Products thanks to connection
with fable become symbolical more important that would
correspond with their practical value.
Body image
The expression body image means culturally
qualified conception about human body. This is conditioned
by penetration of especially cultural aesthetics, social
statement (reputation, solidarity), healthy life style.
• Body weight : slenderness/plumpness – usually is
measured with help of Body Mass Index - BMI .
• Body forms, proportions : example currently phenomenon
of long legs.
• Physiological characters : colour of eyes, skin.
• Body ornamentation : tattoos, piercing and other
techniques with marked connection on different cultures.
Time and space perception
Different cultures can differ in time perception, lengths etc.
Work ideas
Religion represents connected circle comprising different
groups of cultural elements in certain ideological orientation.
Main functions of religion are :
• cognitive (understanding)
• substantive (reaching the target)
• psychological (compounding with fear, worries)
• sociable.
Inspiration from view of possible rate of religion influence on
behaviour of member of certain cultures is following of
connection between religion, that operates in given culture
and general level of economical development of given society.
Relation between religion and economical development :
Level of economical development
Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam
Catholics (France, Spain, Italy)
over average
(North America, Germany,
Great Britain, North Europe)
Attributes of religions show also in consumers´ behaviour :
• Buddhism (revised Hinduism) – karma (destiny), nirvana
(reconciliation), human suffering is result of longing for
• Islam – prohibitions (following from Koran and Sharia)
• Catholics – rules, orders, hierarchy, rituals, stress on
liturgy, tradition.
• Protestantism – direct approach to God, individual
responsibility, work is the mission.
Art is the style how a certain culture expresses its symbols.
Cultures differ with their art expressions. Differentiation
proves to level of specifics subcultures.
Art and marketing on consumers´ markets have few mutually
mingling aspects :
• Way to aimed segment.
• Usage of artistic expressive means (Absolut).
• Sponsoring (art is one of standard spheres of “sponsor
Other immaterial cultural elements and configurations
The listing of cultural anthropology is not complete – were
stated especially those categories that we can markedly meet
in marketing speculations.
Cultural wheel
Relations of culture wheel
• Relation to nature, naturalness : human superiority to
nature (USA), harmony (Asia), subordination (Latin
• Time - sequence (North America), plurality (South Europe)
- past (East Asia, Middle East) / present (North America) /
future (East Asia)
• Activity : active (“doers” – USA) / passive (“bear” – Latin
America, Europe)
• Communication : influence of context for coding and
decoding of communication announcement big (Japan,
Arabian countries) / small (Switzerland).
• Space : allowable distance in personal communication
bigger (North America, Australia) / smaller (Arabian).
• Power : equality (USA, UK, Australia) / inequality (Arabian,
Latin America, East Asia, Spain).
• Individuality / collectivism : collectivism strong (Greece) /
individualism strong (Holland).
• Structure : needs of regulation, rules high (Latin America,
Mediterranean, Germany) / low (USA, UK, Canada,
• Competitiveness : higher (USA, UK, Germany, Japan).
• Formality : formal (pressure on protocol and social
convention: Latin America, Arabian, Europe) / informal
(USA, Australia).
Searching of cultural content with help of culture wheel
concept is connected with following of culture of organisations.
2.4 Subculture dimensions
Subculture can be understand as :
• specific “before cultural” base (biological characteristics),
• cores of culture,
• set of cultural elements specific for chosen part of larger
• set of cultural elements of any smaller identifiable group,
• set of cultural elements of groups that deviates from
normative and values of given society.
Typical dimensions of subculture :
nationality – religion – geographic region – race – age – sex –
Following of subculture is very important for marketing
2.5 Usage of cultural anthropology in marketing
Cultural anthropology is science dealing with following of
different cultures (originally oriented especially on primitive
and ethnic faraway societies). Similar content has concept
“social anthropology” (used for example in Great Britain).
Position of cultural anthropology is close to sociology and
also psychology.
Cultural anthropology follows cultural elements, has some
sub-spheres and some sections of contact with other
disciplines (linguistics, new archaeology, …).
There is no a questionnaire appointed to customers that would
not bring knowledge of cultural anthropological character.
Evidence of growing importance of usage of cultural
anthropology processes at following the purchase behaviour is
research done on commercial basis by P. Underhill.
But also biological anthropology, that creates connected
anthropological discipline, is important for marketing (design).
Currently arise culturally anthropological assets in scope of
growing importance of ethnographic research in marketing.
Among main spheres belong :
Decision about product :
• Distinguishing of opportunities for new products.
• Orientation of communication tool. Ethnographically
discovered unwillingness of manuals reading.
• Sphere of sales power (business deal)
• Choice of distribution ways – retail navigation, category
• Strategic importance at knowing of ethnic cultures to
market segments.
• Mystery shopping.
2.6 Possibilities of market culture searching
Question : Is it possible to measure the culture ? The answer
is Yes if we understand “measure” as monitoring of a culture.
Among methods of monitoring, investigation of culture
influence on consumable behaviour and marketing orientation
Content analysis (verbal or picture communication).
Terrain researches – questionnaires.
Group dialogues.
Projective techniques.
Observing :
• The most used technique in cultural anthropology or
ethnography is long-term stay in given society (its typical
• Following of secondary data : varied group of different
sources – from expert studies to fiction.
2.7 Some current cultural trends
Trends illustrating cultural trends, that show cultural adaptivity:
• nobody is old,
• time is valuable,
• money is pleasure,
• return home,
• return to traditions,
• return of life to centres,
• interest in other cultures,
• new purism,
• health,
• regionalism,
entertaining shopping,
“new father” (present at childbirth),
green marketing,
consumer skills,
experience consumption,
mixing of local with foreign into new forms. (acculturation)