Cultural marketing: Maximising business effectiveness in a multicultural world

Marieke de Mooij, Cultural and Anthropological Research Emeritus, University of Navarre

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Abstract: Standardising marketing strategy across cultures does not contribute to a company’s bottom line. Culture influences consumers’ behaviour, thinking and perception. Many strategies and advertising messages made for one culture are not effective in another. Culture can be measured and models have been made that compare cultures on indices that help explain the various aspects of consumer behaviour. A model developed by Geert Hofstede with six dimensions is presented, together with examples of how these explain cultural differences. In advertising, concepts developed for one culture may not be understood and thus may not be effective in other cultures where people have different mindsets. Often configurations of dimensions best explain differences and cultures can be mapped. An example is a two-dimensional map of advertising styles across cultures. Understanding cultural differences will drive business results.


Keywords: culture, standardisation-adaptation, consumer behaviour, advertising styles, Geert Hofstede, cultural marketing, translating advertising

Marieke de Mooij was advertising manager for an international company, account executive at an international advertising agency, was a director at the Dutch Institute for Professional Advertising Education and director of education of the International Advertising Association. She has worked on the application of the Hofstede model to consumer behaviour and advertising since 1990. She is a consultant in cross-cultural communications and advises both companies and advertising agencies on international branding and advertising. Marieke has taught at universities worldwide. She has published several academic articles on culture and consumer behaviour.

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