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CONSUMER CULTURE

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Management

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Study Guide

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CHAPTER 8
CONSUMER CULTURE
WHAT DO YOU THINK POLLING QUESTION
Men should always pay for their date’s dinner.
Strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Strongly agree
Have students access www.cengagebrain.com to answer the polling questions for each chapter of
CB. Ask them to take the online poll to see how their answers compare with other students taking
a consumer behavior course across the country. Then turn to the last page of the chapter to find
the What Others Have Thought box feature. This graph is a snapshot of how other consumer
behavior students have answered this polling question thus far.
LEARNING OUTCOMES
After studying this chapter, the student should be able to:
L01
Understand how culture provides the true meaning of objects and activities.
L02
Use the key dimensions of core societal values to apply the concept of cultural distance.
L03
Define acculturation and enculturation.
L04
List fundamental elements of verbal and nonverbal communication.
L05
Discuss current emerging consumer markets and scan for opportunities.
SUGGESTED LECTURE OPENER
In order to tap into one of the hottest emerging consumer markets, Western marketers must tap
into the culture of China. One question marketers must consider is whether companies should try
to localize their brands in Chinese consumers’ minds, or if brands should maintain their Western
messaging. The answer for now seems to be, “both.” Companies should adjust brand messages in
order to gain access to the Chinese consumer culture while holding on to the positive
associations that are often linked to western products, such as quality and safety. [Source: Joel
Backaler. “Inside China’s Consumer Culture,” Forbes.com, August 12, 2010,
http://blogs.forbes.com.]
LECTURE OUTLINE WITH POWERPOINT
®
SLIDES
Slide 1 Slide 2
©2012 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
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LO1. Understand how culture provides the true meaning of objects and activities.
Culture and Meaning Are Inseparable
Slide 3
Grandé doppio latté, please! What language is this? A consumer can use this expression in more
than two dozen countries and get exactly what he or she wants with no translation. The chapter
opens with a Starbucks example and how a cup of coffee is translated into many cultures around
the world. The key to Starbucks’ success is to understand the impact of culture.
Q: Ask students what they think about Starbucks’s strategy for entering the
market in China.
A: Answers will vary. Differences in cultures and markets can be further
introduced.
What Is Culture?
Culture embodies meaning. Consumer culture can be thought of as commonly held societal
beliefs that define what is socially gratifying. Some consumers believe that providing coffee to a
child is unacceptable. To other consumers, however, this behavior is seen as normal. It is culture
that shapes the value of most products.
Culture is a universal phenomenon. Culture is everywhere and ultimately explains the
habits and idiosyncrasies of all groups of consumers. In fact, each consumer belongs to many
cultural groups. Exhibit 8.1 shows how behavior can have multiple meanings that are each
dependent on culture.
Slide 4 Slide 5
©2012 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
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Culture, Meaning, and Value
Culture performs important functions for consumers that shape the value of consumer activities.
These functions include the following:
1. Giving meaning to objects – Consider the degree to which culture defines the meaning
of food, religious objects, and everyday items, such as furniture. For instance, in Japan,
refrigerators are tiny by most Western standards.
2. Giving meaning to activities – Consider the role of events that are as simple as
recreational activities and even personal hygiene. A daily shower is not a universally
accepted norm.
3. Facilitating communication – The shared meaning of things facilitates communication.
When strangers meet, culture indicates whether a handshake, hug, or kiss is most
appropriate. Things as simple as making eye contact can take on dramatically different
meanings from one culture to another.
Without culture, consumers would have little guidance as to the appropriate actions in many
common consumer situations.
Slide 6
Cultural Norms
Cultural norms refer to rules that specify the appropriate behavior in a given situation within a
specific culture. Most, but not all, cultural norms are unwritten and are simply understood by
members of a cultural group. As an example, a consumer in Korea is not expected to pour a drink
for himself when out in a bar or restaurant with friends or family. The cultural norm is that one
pours a drink for friends and family while waiting for someone else to pour a drink for you. In
this way, the consumer has performed a socially rewarding (valuable) act consistent with the
norms of that society.
Cultural Sanctions
Cultural sanctions refer to the penalties associated with performing a nongratifying or culturally
inconsistent behavior. Cultural sanctions are often relatively innocuous. An extreme example of a
cultural sanction is physically or socially harming a family member for fraternizing beyond one’s
cultural group.
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