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Chapter 15 Cultural Influences on Consumer BehaviorCONSUMER BEHAVIOR, 9e Michael R. Solomon Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Chapter Objectives When you finish this chapter, you should understand why: A culture is a society’s personality; it shapes our identities as individuals. Myths are stories that express a culture’s values, and in modern times marketing messages convey these values. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Chapter Objectives (continued)Many of our consumption activities including holiday observances, grooming, and gift giving are rituals. We describe products as either sacred or profane, and it’s not unusual for some products to move back and forth between the two categories. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
What is Culture? Culture is the accumulation of shared meanings, rituals, norms, and traditions Culture is a society’s personality Culture includes abstract ideas such as values and ethics and material objects like cars and clothing. It is the shared meaning of our rituals, norms, and traditions among members of a society or organization. The effects of culture on consumer behavior can be so powerful that it’s sometimes difficult to grasp the importance and relevance of culture. We typically notice cultural effects the most when we are immersed in a different one and feel the effects of culture shock. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Discussion If your culture were a person, how would you describe its personality traits? Now, select another culture you’re familiar with. How would those personality traits differ from your own? Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Understanding CultureProducts can reflect underlying cultural processes of a particular period: The TV dinner for the United States Cosmetics made of natural materials without animal testing Pastel carrying cases for condoms Consumers are more likely to want products that resonate with a culture’s priorities at any given time. The slide lists some examples of products that became successful because they reflected the dominant values at the time. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Functional Areas in a Cultural SystemEcology Social structure Culture is not static. It continually evolves. Old ideas are merged with new ones. A cultural system consists of three functional areas, as noted in the slide. Ecology refers to the way a system adapts to its habitat. The technology a culture uses to obtain and distribute resources shapes its ecology. Social structure refers to the way people maintain an orderly social life. This includes the domestic and political groups that dominate the culture. Ideology refers to the mental characteristics of a people and the way they relate to their environment and social groups. This relates to the idea of a common worldview. Members of a culture tend to share ideas about principles of order and fairness. Ideology Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Cultural Dimensions Power Distance Uncertainty Avoidance MasculineWay members perceive differences in power when they form interpersonal relationships Uncertainty Avoidance Degree to which people feel threatened by ambiguous situations Masculine versus Feminine Degree to which sex roles are clearly delineated Every culture is different but much of these differences can be explained by four dimensions of culture. Power distance explains the way members perceive differences in power when they form interpersonal relationships. Some cultures emphasize strict, vertical relationships while others have more informality and equality. For instance, the U.S. differs substantially from Japan on this dimension. Uncertainty avoidance is the degree to which people feel threatened by ambiguous situations and have beliefs and institutions that help them to avoid this uncertainty. The degree to which a culture clearly defines sex roles is described by the dimension of masculinity versus femininity. Traditional societies are more likely to be very explicit about what is acceptable for men and women. Individualism is the extent to which the culture values the welfare of the individual versus that of the group. In collectivist cultures, people put their personal goals and wishes behind that of the group. Individualist cultures think of their own wants as more important than those of the group. Individualism versus Collectivism Extent to which culture values the welfare of the individual versus that of the group Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Norms in Culture Enacted norms are specifically chosenCrescive norms are discovered as we interact Customs: norms handed down from the past that control basic behavior Mores: custom with a strong moral overtone Conventions: norms regarding the conduct of everyday life Norms flow from values about what is good and bad. Norms then act like rules dictating what is right or wrong and acceptable or unacceptable. We explicitly decide upon enacted norms such as that a green traffic light means go and a red one means stop. Other norms though are more subtle and they are called crescive norms. Crescive norms are determined as we interact with others. Customs, mores, and conventions are all types of crescive norms. A custom is a norm that controls basic behaviors such as division of labor in a household or how we practice ceremonies. A more is a custom with a strong moral overtone. It involves a taboo or forbidden behavior. Conventions are norms that regulate how we conduct our everyday lives. These rules often deal with subtleties of consumer behavior like the right way to host a dinner. All three types work together to guide our culturally appropriate behavior. Because norms are culture based, they vary from place to place. Some cultures eat dog, for instance, while that would be taboo in the U.S. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Discussion When you go out on a first date, identify the set of crescive norms that are operating. Describe specific behaviors each person performs that make it clear he or she is on a first date. What products and services are affected by these norms? Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Cultural Stories Every culture develops stories and ceremonies that help members make sense of the world Lucky rabbit’s foot Lucky numbers (e.g., 7) Magic remedies Every society has superstitious beliefs that help people to deal with feeling powerless. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Myths Myths are stories with symbolic elements that represent the shared emotions/ideals of a culture Story characteristics Conflict between opposing forces Outcome is moral guide for people Myth reduces anxiety by providing guidelines Most of us know a variety of myths that we grew up hearing but we may not know their origins. Typically myths came about to serve as a guide for the listeners. From hearing the story, we can learn right from wrong and how to deal with wrong when we face it. The origins of myths can be surprising. For instance, the original Little Red Riding Hood told the story of a girl who meets a werewolf on the way to her granny’s house. The werewolf has killed granny, and stored her flesh and blood. Red Riding Hood snacks on granny’s remains and then sleeps with the wolf! Some versions even suggest that the wolf was grandpa. Thus, Little Red Riding Hood is a myth that guides the reader from partaking in incest and loose behavior. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Functions of Myths Metaphysical Cosmological SociologicalHelp explain origins of existence Cosmological Emphasize that all components of the universe are part of a single picture Sociological Maintain social order by authorizing a social code to be followed by members of a culture Myths serve four interrelated functions in a culture. These are noted on the slide. Psychological Provide models for personal conduct Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Myths Abound in Modern Popular CultureMyths are often found in comic books, movies, holidays, and commercials Monomyths: a myth that is common to many cultures (e.g., Spiderman and Superman) Many movies/commercials present characters and plot structures that follow mythic patterns Gone With the Wind E.T.: The Extraterrestrial Star Trek Myths are very popular. One example is the popularity of Disney weddings. Brides dress as princesses and ride to the wedding pavilion in a horse-drawn carriage complete with footmen. Some fictional figures embody such fundamental properties that they become a monomyth. A monomyth is a myth that is common to many cultures. For instance, Superman is a monomyth. Many famous movies and television shows build on mythic themes. Gone With the Wind builds upon the romance of war and illustrates a lost era where man and nature existed in harmony. E.T. represents a familiar myth of messianic visitation. Star Trek builds on the story of the New England Puritans who explored the final frontier. Even ads can represent mythic themes. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Rituals Rituals are sets of multiple, symbolic behaviors that occur in a fixed sequence and that tend to be repeated periodically Many consumer activities are ritualistic Trips to Starbucks Sunday brunch When you hear the word, ritual, you may think of something formal and serious like the ritual of taking communion at church. In reality, consumers have many ritualistic activities. Having Sunday brunch, going daily to Starbucks, and tailgating before football games are all examples of commonplace rituals. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Rituals and Brands Fortress brands are those that have become embedded in our ceremonies Consider these rituals: Getting ready for bed Checking Shaving Putting on makeup Do you use the same brands every time you perform the ritual? BBDO Worldwide conducted a study of brands and their role in our rituals. The found that worldwide we tend to conduct the same rituals every day. 89% of people always use the same brands in their rituals. We all have everyday rituals that tend to be brand-specific. Think about the brands you use in your rituals of getting ready for work, checking , and so on. How do you feel when your favorite brands are not available? Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Table 15.1 Types of Ritual ExperiencePrimary Behavior Source Ritual Type Examples Cosmology Religious Baptism, meditation Cultural Values Rites of passage Cultural Graduation, holidays, Super Bowl Group Learning Civic Parades, elections Group Fraternity initiation, office luncheons Family Mealtimes, bedtimes, Christmas Individual Aims and Emotions Personal Grooming, household rituals Table 15.1 notes that rituals can occur at several levels. Some reinforce religious values. Others support communal activities that affirm our membership in a group. Other rituals even occur in small groups or in isolation. For example, some people eat ice cream late at night and treat the event as a ritual with their favorite spoon and bowl. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Ritual Artifacts Weddings Birthdays Graduations Ball gamesAwards ceremonies Holidays Many businesses benefit because they supply ritual artifacts to consumers. These are items we need to perform rituals, such as wedding rice, birthday candles, diplomas, trophies and plaques, and greeting cards. In addition to buying specific items that we associate with these events, we may follow a ritual script that identifies the artifacts we need, the sequence we should use them, and who uses them. Etiquette books are a ritual script. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Specific Ritual Types Grooming rituals Gift-giving ritualsHoliday rituals Rites of passage There are many types of rituals. Some of these are rituals that we perform each day like grooming rituals and others take place less often like on holidays. These are discussed further on subsequent slides. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Grooming Rituals Transition from private to public selfTransition from work self to leisure self Natural state to social world All of us practice private grooming rituals. These ceremonies help us transition from our private selves to our public selves. They help us inspire confidence before we face the world. Grooming rituals tend to focus on binary opposition between two states. We prepare to go to work or we come home and go through another ritual to prepare for our leisure time alone or with family. We dress for work or for play. We have a distinct set of preparations to make between what is our natural state and the self we show the world. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Gift-Giving Rituals Consumers procure the perfect object, meticulously remove the price tag, carefully wrap it, then deliver it to recipient Gift giving is a form of: Economic exchange Symbolic exchange Social expression Every culture prescribes certain occasions and ceremonies for giving gifts Gifts are a part of certain holidays and events. Gifts can be viewed as economic, symbolic, or social. Economic exchange notes that the gift has a value and this value is transferred from giver to recipient. Economic exchanges typically come with a sense of reciprocity. People are expected to reciprocate the kindness of the gift and to do so at about the same value level. Symbolic exchange means that the gift acknowledges the relationship between the giver and the receiver. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Stages of the Gift-Giving RitualGestation: giver is motivated by an event to procure a gift Structural event: prescribed by culture (e.g., Christmas) Emergent event: more personal Presentation: process of gift exchange when recipient responds to gift and donor evaluates response Reformulation: giver and receiver adjust the bond between them The process of gift giving includes three distinct stages. The first stage is gestation. Gestation occurs when the giver recognizes that a gift is needed due to some event and then gets the gift. The gift may be purchased or made. In the second stage, presentation of the gift takes place. The recipient responds to the gift and the donor evaluates their response. In the final stage known as reformulation, the giver and the receiver redefine their relationship based on what happened during the gift exchange. For instance, the donor might feel like the recipient was not excited or grateful at receiving the gift and this negativity may affect the relationship. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Holiday Rituals Holidays are based on a myth with a character at center of story Christmas St. Patrick’s Day Marketers find ways to encourage gift giving Secretaries’ Day and Grandparents’ Day Retailers elevate minor holidays to major ones to provide merchandising opportunities Cinco de Mayo On holidays more so than other days we perform ritualistic behavior unique to those situations. Every cultural celebration typically relates to specific characters like St. Patrick or St. Nicholas. These holidays are big opportunities for marketers, particularly because of the gift-giving components and the ritualistic artifacts we use to celebrate the occasions. However, marketers may also create new holidays or increase the perceived importance of minor holidays. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Rites of Passage Rites of passage: special times marked by a change in social status Separation Liminality Rites of passage are rituals we perform to mark a change in our social status. Some of these rites occur naturally as a part of our life cycle (e.g., puberty and death) and others are more individual. For instance, getting one’s driver’s license is a rite of passage for many teens. There are phases that take place during a rite of passage. The first stage is separation in which one detaches from their group or status state. The second stage is liminality. During this stage, the person in question is in between the two states. In the aggregation stage, the person returns to society with his or her new status. Aggregation Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Discussion Describe the three stages of the rite of passage associated with graduating from college. “Fraternity hazing is just a natural rite of passage that should not be prohibited by universities.” Do you agree? Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Sacred and Profane ConsumptionSacred consumption: involves objects and events that are set apart from normal activities that are treated with respect or awe Profane consumption: involves consumer objects and events that are ordinary and not special We can also differentiate between the sacred and profane when considering our cultural consumption patterns. Sacred consumption occurs when we set apart objects and events from normal activities and treat them with respect and awe. Note that sacred in this case does not mean religious. Profane consumption describes objects and events that are ordinary and everyday. They are not special like the sacred objects. For instance, a wedding dress is sacred but a dress for work is profane. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Sacralization Sacralization occurs when ordinary objects, events, and even people take on sacred meaning Objectification occurs when we attribute sacred qualities to mundane items, through processes like contamination Collecting is the systematic acquisition of a particular object or set of objects Anything can become sacred. Troy Aikman’s shoes sold for nearly $2,000 because fans had turned the shoes from the profane to the sacred. Contamination just means that the objects we associate with sacred events become sacred in their own right. For instance, we use ornaments and lights to celebrate the sacred event of Christmas and these ornaments may become sacred. Some people collect things that are sacred to them. Anything can be collected, it seems. Collecting involves a rational and an emotional component. Some researchers feel that collectors acquire their collections to gratify materialism in a socially acceptable way. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Domains of Sacred ConsumptionSacred places: religious/mystical and country heritage, such as Stonehenge, Mecca, Ground Zero in New York City Sacred people: celebrities, royalty Sacred events: athletic events, religious ceremonies Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Sacred Souvenir Icons Local products (e.g., regional wine)Pictorial images (e.g., postcards, photos) ‘Piece of the rock’ (e.g., seashells) Literal representations (e.g., mini icons) Markers (e.g., logo-oriented t-shirts) Tourism is an example of a sacred experience. People occupy sacred time and space when they travel on vacation. The desire of travelers to capture these sacred experiences in objects is the basis for the souvenir industry. In addition to personal mementos, there are several common types of sacred souvenir icons. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Desacralization Desacralization: when a sacred item/symbol is removed from its special place or is duplicated in mass quantities (becomes profane) Souvenir reproductions (Statue of Liberty) Religion has somewhat become desacralized Fashion jewelry Christmas and Ramadan as secular, materialistic occasions Just as objects can shift from the profane to the sacred, they can shift from the sacred to the profane. There are numerous examples including reproductions of sacred symbols like the American flag on a t-shirt or the image of the Mona Lisa. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
Chapter Summary A culture is a society’s personality.Myths are stories that express a culture’s values. Many of our consumption activities include rituals associated with holidays, grooming, rites of passage, and other events. Products may be sacred or profane and some may shift between the two categories. We’ve reviewed many concepts in this chapter. The key points are noted on the slide. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Prentice Hall
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