Cultural Values and Consumer Behavior

Cultural Values and Consumer Behavior

Learning Objectives 11.1 To understand culture’s dynamics and impact on consumer behavior.

11.2 To understand cultura l learning.

11.3 To understand the means t o study cultura l va lues.

11.4 To understand core cu ltural values and their market ing applications.

ULTURE is the co llective va lues, customs, norms, arts, socia l institut ions, and intel lec- tua l achievements of a particular society. Cu l- tural values express the col lective principles,

standards, and priorities of a community. Most of the promotional messages across the world reflect, to some degree, the target audiences’ cu ltura l values. For instance, th e ad for Campbel l’s Chunky soup in Fig ure 11.1 emphasizes saving t ime and tells consum- e rs th at they ca n prepare the soup qu ickly and also receive va lue fo r their appeals to consumers’ desire t o save t ime. The ad for the company’s Healthy Request focuses on health and fitness (Figure 11.2)-another p rio rity in many peop les’ lives. Marketing re lies on consumer insights about cultu ra l changes in order to

d iscover new opportunities and abandon markets that have disappeared because of cultu ral changes. Market- ing both inf luences and is inf luenced by culture by both promoting, reflecting, and rei nforcing cu lt ural va lues.

This chapter describes the societa l role and dynam- ics of cult ure, explains how cultural va lues satisfy needs, and investigates how they are learned, expressed, and measured. For example, content analysis, f ie ld observa- tion, and val ue su rveys are the most common way that marketers learn about culture. As a way to highlight t he idea of core cultural va lues, we discuss 11 American core va lues which we il lustrate w ith ads and promo- tional themes. We also p resent research t hat provides evidence that t hese American core va lues also resonate wit h consumers from ot her cu lt ures.

FIGURE 11.1 Saving Time

culture The col lective values, customs, norms, arts, socia l institutions, and intel lectua l achievements of a particu lar society wh ich express its principles, standards, and priorities.

FIGURE 11.2 Fitness and Health

CHAPTER 11 • Cu i Tu RAI V A lu Es And Consum ER BEHAVioR 273


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274 PART iV • so CiAI And Cui Tu RAI sETTinGs

Culture’s Role and Dynamics Learning Objective 11.1 To understand culture’s

dynamics and impact on consumer behavior.

We often refer to culture as an “invisible hand” that guides the actions of people of a particular society. When consumer researchers ask people why they do certain things, they frequently answer, “Because it’s the right thing to do”-a response reflecting the ingrained influence of culture on our behavior. We can truly understand and appreciate the influence of our culture only after visiting other countries and observing the local values and behaviors found in those countries. For instance, after visiting restaurants in France or Italy, many Americans may realize that they eat too much food and snack too often. Furthermore, if we travel within the United States, we will also observe differences in the norms and preferences of subcultures. For example, consumers living in the northeastern section of the United States have histori- cally preferred ketchup on their hamburgers, but consumers living in other sections have liked mustard, or a mixture of mustard and ketchup (see Chapter 12).

Some researchers conceptualized different “levels” of cultural norms:

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