Consumers Rule

					Cultural Influences
  on Consumer
     Behavior

     Chapter 16
       Understanding Culture
• Culture = society’s personality
  – The accumulation of shared meanings, rituals,
    norms, and traditions among members
  – Discussion: If your culture were a person, how
    would you describe its personality traits?
• Culture is the lens through which we view
  products
  – “Culture shock”
  – One’s culture determines product priorities and
    mandates a product’s success/failure

                                                 16-2
 Understanding Culture (Cont’d)
• Products can reflect underlying cultural
  processes of a particular period:
  – The TV dinner
  – Cosmetics made of natural
    materials without animal testing
  – Pastel carrying cases for condoms




                                             16-3
Understanding Culture (Cont’d)
• Dimensions of cultural variability
  – Power distance
  – Uncertainty avoidance
  – Masculinity/femininity
  – Individualism vs. collectivism




                                       16-4
Understanding Culture (Cont’d)
• Norms
  – Enacted norms
  – Crescive norms
    • Custom
    • More
    • Conventions
  – All three crescive
    norms combine to
    define a culturally
    appropriate behavior

                           16-5
                      Myths
• A story containing symbolic
  elements that represent the
  shared emotions/ideals of
  a culture
  – Conflict between opposing
    forces
  – Outcome serves as moral
    guide for people
  – Reduces anxiety
• Little Red Riding Hood
  – Cannibalism, incest, and
    promiscuity
                                16-6
             Myths (Cont’d)
• Marketers often pattern messages along
  a mythic structure
  – McDonald’s golden arches, Ronald McDonald
    vs. the Hamburglar, and
    Hamburger University
• Myths/legends of corporations
  – Nike: “corporate storytellers”



                                      16-7
     Functions and Structure
            of Myths
• Four functions of myths
  – Metaphysical – explain origins of existence
    (e.g. Greek mythology)
  – Cosmological – all components of universe
    are part of single picture
  – Sociological – maintains social order by
    promoting a social code (Stone soup)
  – Psychological – provide models for personal
    conduct (Boy who cried wolf)
                                         16-8
             Myths Abound
        in Modern Popular Culture
• Myths are often found in comic books,
  movies, holidays, and commercials
  – Consumer fairy tales
  – Monomyths: 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
    •   La Llorona
                                           16-9
                   Rituals
• 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
  – “Pulling” the perfect pint of Guinness
• College campus rituals
• Tailgating at college/pro football games
                                             16-10
           Table 16.1 (Abridged):
         Types of Ritual Experience
Primary Behavior Source Ritual Type        Examples

Cosmology               Religious          Baptism, meditation

Cultural Values         Rites of passage   Graduation, holidays,
                        Cultural           Super Bowl
Group Learning          Civic              Parades, elections

                        Group              Fraternity initiation,
                                           office luncheons
                        Family             Mealtimes, bedtimes,
                                           Christmas
Individual aims         Personal           Grooming, household
and emotions                               rituals
                                                          16-11
             Rituals (Cont’d)
• Many businesses supply ritual artifacts
  to consumers
  – Wedding rice, birthday candles, diplomas, etc.
  – Online gift registries
• Consumers often employ a ritual script
  – Identifies artifacts as well as the sequence in
    which they are used and who uses them
     • Graduation programs, etiquette books

            WEDDINGCHANNEL.COM
                                              16-12
            Grooming Rituals
• Virtually all consumers have private grooming
  rituals
  – Sequences of behaviors that aid transition from
    private to public self (or back again)
  – Inspires confidence, cleanses body of dirt
  – Before-and-after phenomenon




                                                 16-13
              Gift-Giving Rituals
• Consumers procure the perfect
  object, meticulously remove
  price tag, carefully wrap it, then
  deliver it to recipient
   – Store-bought objects, homemade
     items, or services
• Gift giving as form of:
   – Economic exchange
   – Symbolic exchange
   – Social expression
      • Exchange-oriented in early
        relationship stages, then altruistic
        as relationship develops
      • Third-party influence on gift giving   16-14
    Gift-Giving Rituals (Cont’d)
• Japanese gift-giving rituals
   – Symbolic meaning of gift: duty to others in social
     group
   – Giri: giving is moral imperative
   – Kosai: reciprocal gift-giving obligations to
     relatives/friends
• Self-gifts
   – Socially acceptable way to reward ourselves
   – Discussion: Have you ever given yourself a gift?
      • If so, why did you do it and how did you decide what to get?

                                                           16-15
              Holiday Rituals
• Most holidays are based on a myth with a
  character at center of story
  – Consumers perform ritualistic behaviors unique to
    those occasions to appeal to their deep-seated needs
  – Ritual artifacts and scripts
• Marketers find ways to encourage gift giving
• Businesses invent new occasions to capitalize
  on need for cards/ritual artifacts
  – Secretaries’ Day and Grandparents’ Day
• Retailers elevate minor holidays to major ones
  to provide merchandising opportunities
  – Cinco de Mayo
                                               16-16
                  Christmas
• Myths/rituals: Santa’s adventures and mistletoe
• Began as a publicly rowdy celebration
• Santa = champion of materialism
  – Appears in stores and shopping malls
  – Socializes children to expect a reward when they are
    good (we get what we deserve)
• Discussion: “Christmas has become just another
  opportunity to exchange gifts and stimulate the
  economy.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

                                                16-17
                   Halloween
• Its rituals are unusual…
  – Primarily involves nonfamily members
  – Celebrates evil and death
  – Encourages threats of “tricks” for treats
• Antifestival: distorts symbols associated with
  other holidays
  – Witch = inverted mother figure; resurrection of ghosts;
    evil jack-o-lantern
  – We act out uncharacteristic behaviors and try on new
    roles
• Second most popular party night for adults
                                                  16-18
             Rites of Passage
• Special times marked by a change in social
  status
  – Every society sets aside times at which such changes
    occur
     • Puberty, death, divorce, dating, bar/bat mitzvah
• Practices vary across cultures but are rich in
  symbolic value
  – Funeral rituals negotiate social identities of deceased
    through expression of material/symbolic wealth




                                                          16-19

				
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