The thesis has the purpose to analyze how culture influences and determinates the creation of marketing communication of enterprises and advertising agencies on international markets, with particular reference to advertising.
The concept of culture has had a long evolution and high social relevance, because it is shared by the community and it influences individual behaviours, and purchase behaviour too. Culture influences the purchase process through psychological and socio-cultural factors and they are not under the control of an enterprise, compared to controlled factors through marketing mix.
Advertising is one of the instruments of the marketing communication. Its effectiveness on international markets needs careful planning of advertising communication. Culture is important in this planning process at different levels, in particular in the definition of the message content and in the choice of the most efficient communication instruments in order to achieve the communication aims.
Starting from this context, the thesis consists of three parts: the first and the second are theoretical and the third is field research.
The first chapter introduces the concept of culture and how it influences the behaviour of people in different societies. The second chapter analyzes the influence of culture on the consumer purchase decision process and the development of an efficient communication process, with particular reference to the advertising communication instrument. The semiotic and the socio-semiotic are effective instruments in order to explain and understand many social phenomena, and they include advertising too.
The field research is made up of two case studies. The first case study analyses an Italian enterprise (Pompea) which works and offers its products at an international level. The purpose is to understand how the enterprise performs its communication on foreign markets and the importance of the adaptation of the advertising messages in different countries.
The second case study exemplifies a foreign advertising agency (VMB Express, Brazil), that produces advertising campaigns for different sectors in its country. The purpose is to understand how the agency considers cultural factors in the creation of advertising at a national level and how it develops advertising campaigns for foreign products on their markets.
These case studies show that cultural and social variables are important in the marketing communication process.
In other words, standardization of communication is only a utopia. This is true above all of the domestic and personal products that are culturally connotated and need adaptations to the different social realities. However, if the lifestyle of people can be similar, culture and values of nations are different and the awareness of the specific cultural identity becomes more and more common as the desire to affirm it increases.
The examination of socio-cultural and psychological variables need significant efforts in terms of time and costs. That is an investment in marketing research in order to efficiently segment the market, differentiate the offer and create marketing communication, coherent to the target needs and their distinctive traits (values, beliefs, traditions), depending on the countries of belonging.
The strategies used to cope with such problem in the analyzed cases.
Pompea decided to address countries with similar culture where adaptation is not necessary or it needs few efforts in order to produce economies of scale in communication. In countries with different cultures, the adaptation effort is small because of the use of forms of communication that need limited economic resources and guarantee controlled feedback. Essentially, Pompea focuses on careful market segmentation, using a wide range of variables, and among these the cultural variable is not the most important. The alternative is the target choice which permits to minimize the adaptation to the market cultural variables.
The Brazilian advertising agency uses a strategy of advertising which entails an adaptation to the culture of the country but results from a more spontaneous process than planning. The strategy focuses on images that represent the society, and it is efficient, because the public can identify with the situations of the advertisements, because they recall daily and known situation. It develops a feeling of belonging to a precise situation, which improves the attention, the possibility for the message to be remembered and the propensity to purchase the product. At the same time, it must consider that the constant recall to cultural elements can conduct to trivialize the advertising message, because it denotes little cross-cultural studies and the use of stereotypes.