How Cultural Awareness Can Improve Branding
People’s collective lifestyles and beliefs considerably influence their purchase decisions. Cultures play a significant role in determining people’s buying behavior in a community. Regarding brand marketing, the culture and norms of target markets greatly influence customers’ preferences. Marketers who ignore cultural and social values end up putting the brand at risk.
To make your brand survive in an environment, you must first adopt attributes of that product to that particular environment. Being aware of all the cultural differences helps companies better market their products in foreign markets. From language translations to design adaptation, everything should be befitting the local culture to create the maximum impact. When you look around, all big companies are localizing their marketing strategies to native cultures to appeal to more customers. In this blog post, we will have a detailed analysis of the cultural influence on brand marketing.
Table of Content
- Significance of Culture in Brand Marketing
- What Is the Role of Cultures in Global Branding?
- Customs and Taboos
- Religious Beliefs
- Core Social Values
- Colors Psychology
- Business Standards
- Influence of Culture on Marketing through Common Theories
- Masculinity vs. Femininity
- Individualism vs. Collectivism
Significance of Culture in Brand Marketing
The overall success of your brand totally depends on how your customers see the brand. What emotions does your brand invoke, and how does it make the customers feel about themselves? Local cultures are one of the major factors that shape the customers’ perception. Brand marketing is not just about what you are selling; it is more about how you are selling it. Understanding the local cultures gives marketers a deep perspective on customers’ behaviors and allows them to transform their marketing efforts accordingly. Localization is an excellent method used by global companies to capture the maximum market share in any region. In a localization process, companies basically make their brand seem more local by incorporating some cultural attributes to it. It makes the customers feel connected with the brand; they are less likely to hesitate to buy from a brand that resonates with their culture.
What Is the Role of Cultures in Global Branding?
When it comes to the influence of cultural factors on global brand marketing, here are some crucial factors to consider. Cultural resonance promotes brand acceptance in a marketplace, which goes a long way for brands to build a solid identity in global markets. So let’s have a closer look at the cultural and social factors in a region that marketers should consider while doing brand marketing.
Customs and Taboos
The first thing you must notice about a region is its traditions and taboos. It would allow you to get some insight into the mental models of your customers. You will get to know what makes your customers happy and what makes them afraid and insecure. For instance, in every culture, people are passionate about certain events they celebrate to the fullest. Similarly, cultures might be sensitive to certain things that are entirely normal in other cultures. Understanding the fear and fascination of people living in a region says a lot about their psychology. Knowing the traditions and prohibitions in a culture gives you some idea about how you should design your marketing campaign and what you must avoid. Make sure you are not touching the taboo topics in your brand messaging and storytelling, it may offend your customers and build a negative brand image.
The religious beliefs of a community have a huge influence on how they buy and what they look for in a product. For instance, if you are a food company that wants to market your brand in a Muslim community, you have to make them believe that your food is Halal. Muslims, just like Jews, don’t eat pork and are concerned about how you slaughter or prepare the meat. Similarly, some countries are more sensitive towards women’s clothing, such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim countries in general. Marketers should be careful about how they display females in their ads; they should not wear sleeveless or short clothes. Moreover, almost all regions around the world celebrate certain events that hold deep religious values. During the festivity of a religious event, people tend to shop more. Therefore, running a smartly localized marketing campaign could be profitable for a brand.
Language is the most comprehensive medium to express your culture and values. Marketers are now becoming more conscious about eliminating language barriers in their brand marketing. You can’t expect all of your customers to understand the first language of your brand. For instance, if you are an English brand, people in a Western country might get your brand messaging. But for most Asian countries, you can’t expect the same. From marketing copies to brand labels, you have to translate or transcreate everything into local languages to clearly deliver your brand message to target customers. Managing extensive translations could be challenging. So, to keep the translation process agile and seamless, you can partner with a language service provider. Marketers have to be very conscious about language translations for seamless brand message communication.
Core Social Values
The social values of people are the foundation of their culture. What your brand represents and what it believes in also gives people some inspiration to engage with you. Your brand values should resonate with the collective values of your targeted communities and individuals whom you are explicitly targeting. In your brand messaging and marketing, the stories that you tell your audiences make them connect with you. When customers know that a brand believes what they believe and shares the same core values, they feel passionate about buying from such brands.
The values of a society also shape the buying behavior of customers and are their preferences when it comes to making a purchase decision. Similarly, in different countries, people have different perceptions about buying. In some cultures, personal preferences are put at the top of everything else, while in others, the collective well-being of society is highly valued.
When designing a marketing campaign or localizing your game for a market, you have to be very aware of the use of symbols in your graphics. Symbols are the unspoken language through which you can deeply root your brand message in the audience’s mind. Symbolism is not universal; every culture has its own meaning and emotions attached to different symbols. Therefore, companies remain extra careful while using symbolism in video games. For instance, in Greece and Egypt, snakes symbolize fertility and immortality. However, in Christian traditions, snakes are associated with evil and lies.
Colors also have deep meanings attached to them in different cultures, so marketers must use them wisely. For example, the black color in European countries is associated with death and bad luck. While in Africa, it represents masculinity and wisdom. The green color is considered sacred among Muslim communities; this color is also associated with the environment and well-being around the globe. Red is the color of celebration and joy in most Asian countries and may symbolize danger and risk in Western countries. So, a global brand marketer must be aware of the emotions and psychologies behind different colors in different regions.
It is not just the culture of a society, but brands also have some understanding of business culture and standards in that particular marketplace. Especially if you are dealing in the B2B market, brands may find it challenging to adjust to the local business norms. Business customs may vary in different cultures. For instance, in Japan, the most senior person would lead the discussion in a business meeting, and junior members might not get to share their opinions. It is very unlike what you could expect in American culture, where the person will has more authority or dominance, whether senior or junior, will be listened to. The age factor would never be the reason to judge the credibility of a person.
Similarly, how people meet and greet each other in a professional business setting also varies. For example, in American culture, shaking hands is more common than greeting each other. However, in Islamic countries, you have to be more careful about the interaction between men and women; there should be no physical touch. So, while making marketing videos, you better not depict any unusual professional behavior that is not well-known to be tolerated in certain societies.
Influence of Culture on Marketing through Common Theories
There are different cultural theories that would give you a deeper understanding of cultural sensitivities and how social definitions impact the buying behaviors of your target audiences.
Masculinity vs. Femininity
Genders in society also greatly impact the perception and social viewpoint of your target audiences. Marketers must be aware of the gender roles in society and transform their brand marketing accordingly. It might sound weird, but when you depict strong and opinionated women in a patriarchal society would make your brand seem too Western for them to be accepted. Some cultures expect their women to be modest instead of outspoken. Such advertisements could offend the pre-established perceptions of society about how women should behave. In developing countries, feminism has become a thing now, so if your brand stands with this ideology, it would be great marketing. So, gender issues in any society are essential to consider, as they could have a positive or negative impact on your brand.
Individualism vs. Collectivism
The collectivist and individualist societies work differently, and it pretty much tells you everything about the preferences and cultural sensitivity level of individuals. In collective societies, such as Japan, India, China, or South Korea, people are more sensitive toward their culture and have a greater sense of community. On the other side, in Western countries, people are more individualistic. In such societies, the personal preferences and choices of an individual come first. Individualism also makes people less sensitive towards their cultures and customs, though they still have some level of emotional attachment to their social values. Depending on which type of region you are targeting, you have to focus on the cultural aspect of your product accordingly. For example, a collective society would appreciate shared values and familiarity, whereas an individualistic society would admire the uniqueness and innovation of your brand.
People see your brand differently in different cultures, and they may have different expectations of your brand. Considering the local cultures, you must localize your brand that cater to the core needs of your target customers. You must add more cultural elements to your brand and marketing to capture customers’ attention faster and make them build lasting relationships with your brand. People are more interested in your brand when sharing the same values gives them a sense of belonging. It would also make your brand look more familiar to target audiences, and they will feel comfortable buying from you. So, it’s high time for marketers to put their cultural understanding into action and market their brands more successfully to the target audience.