Cross Cultural Consumer Behavior 101

Brand awareness and product awareness plays an immense role towards purchasing decisions, especially when the good or service is an international one. In addition, an exposure to the country’s customs, beliefs, and values influence consumers’ perception of their goods and services; whether that exposure is negative, positive, or neutral, that experience influences consumer behavior towards the product. Should a company want to go international, they must assess the similarities and differences of the foreign market compared to theirs. Understanding cultural differences and similarities enables the company to better succeed as the can better market their product to their targeted international audience.

Looking at the macro-level, through Hofstede’s founded 5 dimensions of national culture, to better compare two countries, you must identify your country and the foreign county’s level of power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and long/short-term orientation. Labeling the two countries based on the 5 dimensions allows you to make broad assumptions of their society and ultimately to better understand the target audience you are wishing to reach.

Understanding this differences and similarities between your international target group’s cultural, social, personal, psychological, and economical determinants better equips the company to produce meaningful and influential advertisements in hopes that they will willing choose and spend their money on your products over the competitors’. In order for a product to succeed internationally, the consumer must dive into the psychology, sociology, and cultural anthropology of their prospective consumers. These attributes, per Hofstede’s study, says that marketers should understand their foreign country’s concept of the self, personality, identity and image. Moreover, they must understand their consumers’ social processes of motivation and emotion, as different cultures and countries, react differently to different cues.  

It is important to note that even though the foreign country itself may be similar to the home country at face value, there may be many differences that if not accounted for, may lead to huge failure in capturing that audience and selling the good and service. Below is a video of Australians trying and reacting to typical American snacks. Although Australia is similar to the United States is shared language along with other similarities, the Australians consumer may not react the same as the American consumer to the US product; in this case, the international marketing strategy must be changed.

 In additional, marketing teams must aim to have as much quantitative data on their consumers and the foreign market to understand them, their needs and desires and satisfaction levels/ post purchase behavior, as we want them to be reoccurring customers. They do this by collecting primary research through, observation, experimentation and surveys, and through external sources like country information and news sources. 

https://www.tutorialspoint.com/consumer_behavior/consumer_behavior_quick_guide.htm
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/08961530.2011.578057?needAccess=true

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