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Introduction

The ability to communicate effectively with people from diverse cultures and co-cultures requires some factors to be put into consideration. It necessitates that you not only have knowledge of the principles of communication and their relationship to the dynamics culture but you also understand how intercultural communication functions in various social settings. In today’s increasing competitive markets, communication should be considered as an important factor to master since it plays an important role in helping a business to be success. To be more specific, communication is key factor for the success of organizations that operate in international markets. Profitability of an organization, to some extent, is determined by how it sets its strategies in marketing communication and the accompanying skills. Cultural factors play a key role and they function a invisible barriers. Even though the world is increasing becoming globalised, many countries have expressed their thoughts and claimed for “a right to culture” as far as international business is concerned. Many nations have envisioned national culture as a key factor in economic development and other business policies across the globe. Such claims at an international level will be an important factor in making trade policies, protection of property against infringement, and creating resources that will be of national benefit. To some extent, such claims can act as barriers for organizations that wish to expand their operations to international markets. In this regard, the main objective of this essay will be to answer “cultural diversity: obstacle or competitive advantage in transnational marketing communications?”

Definitions and theory of cultural diversity

Claims that culture will be a critical factor in international communication are likely to affect policies in international trade and might even lead to a global protectionism for international trade. As nations increase their voice on cultural rights, organizations that are operating in different nations are likely to face more challenges in other aspects of culture. Taking a look at this issue from a management perspective, companies need to realize that current markets are increasingly becoming cross-cultural and they are found in all over the world (Adler, Doktor, & Redding, 1986). Putting this factor into consideration and being sensitive to differences in culture is a major factor that can help such firms to be successful in international markets. Failure to put their marketing strategies in a cross-cultural perspective of the nations where these organizations are operating from is likely spoil their business relationships and even act as a detriment of their brands.

If organizations cannot get rid of globalization, then one thing they should note is that they cannot evade the cross-culture aspect of international business. On the other hand, global markets are increasingly becoming homogeneous, and differences between national markets are getting smaller since some products are disappearing from the market. It therefore means that marketing communication is a universal factor. On the other hand, differences in culture for nations, regions, and ethnic groups are becoming stronger each and every day and are from fading away. In this case, it is easy to assert that international communication, which is cross-cultural process, requires any person in the management position to be well informed about differences in culture at national, local, and ethnic level in order for them to win markets across the world (Adler, Doktor, & Redding, 1986).

By definition, transnational marketing communication is a type of communication that will go beyond national boundaries for reasons of succeeding in international business. In reality, it is possible to find people from the same culture having difficulties in communicating to one another. This situation is therefore when people from different cultural background interact from the point of view of values, language, and ways of reasoning about an issue. When people meet and they are from different cultures, chances of having a high degree of miscommunication are very high and cannot be run away from. Problems that arise from marketing communication carried out through cross-cultures are often caused by cases of participants from one culture not being able to understand differences in communications practices and traditions that are culturally determined. Marketing communication literature which is focused on advertising mostly supports the fact that advertising content from different countries in quite different. Research on international advertising has confirmed that there are differences in advertising differ from one country to another. The platform of these advertisements has indicated that advertisements, to some extent, reflect the social system of different countries.

Critical literature review

Business executives frequently make decisions about whether to hire additional employees or to make changes in product design or production practices or whether the company should merge with or acquire a competitor. The process by which decisions are made is a dynamic of a culture of the business organization (Adler, Doktor, & Redding, 1986). However, this business culture is strongly influenced by the deep structure of the culture of the society in which the business operates. Thus, you will find that the processes by which decisions are reached and accepted vary culturally and may be quite different from those of your culture. An excellent example of this diversity can be seen in how business decisions are made in Eastern cultures as compared to Western cultures. In this case, Bandyopadhyay and Robicheaux’s work can provide the best glimpse on differences in Eastern and Western cultures. Their work provides an extremely clear and succinct analysis Eastern collectivistic culture engage in decision making. From this essay, the reader can understand collectivism plays a large part in Japanese decision making. Their work is based on the background discussion about corporate culture in Japan and it fosters strong group orientation. Then, they discuss Japanese decision making follows group decision-making protocol. This style of decision-making is rooted in the Japanese traditions of interpersonal harmony, cooperation, and consensus. Bandyopadhyay and Robicheaux then suggest that Westerners maintain close personal contacts, that they do not rush their Western counterparts, and that they do not consider group decision-making protocol as negative, slow process. Even though the cultural diversity between Eastern and Western cultures is often troublesome, there are also important differences between U.S American and European business cultures. Tian relates how the German and American economies are similar because they are capitalist and market driven. He then shows how Germany’s position in the heart of Europe, which placed it in the centre of wars and conflicts going back to antiquity, has influenced the development of many German business cultural values. According to Tian (2012), high uncertainty avoidance is a major characteristic of German business culture. Tian then suggests that this has led the Germans to create many rules and regulations that help minimize risks in advance and promote the successful accomplishment of any task at hand (Tian, 2012).

Case situation summary

The important role played by cross-cultural communication is evidenced in marketing China and China marketing, since there are other factors that influence the relationship between the Chinese and non-Chinese business people. As Hedley and Harrison (2008) argue out, it is important to find out how Chinese markets need to be marketed. In this case, the Chinese companies consist of both those that are already operational in China and the new market entrants. Several factors such as plenty of negotiation, patience, and flexibility are pointed out as the underlying factors for preparations to adapt the new business environment.

It is undoubtedly clear that China has continued to record an economic growth for the last three decades. According to Harrison & Hedley (2008), there has been an increase of more than ten times in the Chinese GDP since 1978. In 2008, for example, the country’s foreign direct investment (FDI) increased by more than $108 billion. By recording such economic growth, it is evident that China marketing is not only dependent on export side where the growth is more pronounced, but also on the growth in domestic marketing.

Critical analysis on cultural diversity

Cross-cultural marketing communication makes it an obligation for firms to determine if markets are favorable and studying the culture of the nation or region in which the firm has the intention of operating from. Doing this may involve critical factors such as identifying all cultural factors the firm can employ to support its marketing communication in the intended market. To be successful in the new market, the business will uses preexisting factors and even create new ones that will suit the situation.

Just the same way culture influences marketing communication, so does marketing communication influences culture. It therefore means that firms can serve as agents of change for a given culture. The examinations of perspectives of interaction between culture and marketing communication are threefold. First, culture determines the purchasing power of consumers and the business. According to Brunso and Grunet (1998), cross-cultural factors are the main determinants of what people shop as food. Secondly, it is easier to indentify the impact of culture on marketing communication than any other business variable (Brunso and Grunet, 1998). Taking the case of advertising, for example, is hugely determined by language as a key component of culture. Third, marketing communication can equally influence culture in the sense that it contributes to change and cultural borrowing.

Conclusion

The importance of marketing communication is increasingly becoming evident in international markets that are getting competitive day by day. Well set strategies for marketing communication determine the amount of profits made by business organizations. One important and obvious point to note is that culture is something that someone is born with and greatly influences how one behaves. Differences in culture can greatly impact on the results of any business deal. Therefore, creating awareness of both visible and invisible culture is critical in determining how to conduct marketing communications from an international and cross-cultural perspective.

 

Bibliography

 

Adler, N. J., Doktor, R., & Redding, S. G. (1986). From the Atlantic to the Pacific Century: Cross-Cultural Management Reviewed. Journal of Management, 12, 295-318

Bandyopadhyay, S. & Robicheaux, R. (1993). The Impact of the Cultural Environment on Interfirm Communications. Journal of Marketing Channels, 3, (2), 59-82.

Brunso, K. & Grunet, K. (1998). Cross-Cultural Similarities and Differences in Shopping for Food. Journal of Business Research, 42, 145-150

Harrison, M. & Hedley, M. (2008). Marketing and Selling to Chinese Businesses – Part 1. China Success Stories. Retrieved April 28, 2015 from http://www.chinasucessstories.com/2008/06/13/chinese-attitudes-toward-marketing-sales/

Tian, G. (2012). Key issues in cross-cultural business communication: Anthropological approaches to international business. AFRICAN JOURNAL OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT, 6(22).