1: Considering exporting > The various environments
you will encounter abroad > The sociocultural
Culture is the human-made
part of the human environment - the sum total
of mankind's knowledge, beliefs, art, morals,
laws, customs and other capabilities and habits
acquired by humans as members of society. It
is the distinctive way of life of a group of
people. their complete design for living - a
mosaic of life.
(Source: P R Cateora,
Strategic International Marketing)
Humans essentially create their own cultural
and social environment. Customs, practices and traditions
for survival and development are passed down from one
generation to the next. In this way, the members of
a particular society become conditioned to accept certain "truths"
about life around them. The increasingly competitive international
business environment calls upon exporters to tailor or
adapt their business approach to the culture and traditions
of specific foreign markets. The inability or unwillingness
to do so could become a serious obstacle to success.
The task of adjusting to a new cultural environment
is probably one of the biggest challenges of export marketing.
Export marketing attempts are frequently unsuccessful because
the marketer - either consciously or unconsciously - makes
decisions or evaluations from a frame of reference that
is acceptable to his/her own culture but unacceptable in
a foreign environment. Therefore, business practices which
are successful in one group of countries may be entirely
inappropriate in another group of countries. For example,
the Marlboro Company took its famous lone cowboy advertisement
to Hong Kong in the early 1960's.However, the image of
the cowboy riding off in the distance by himself led the
Chinese to wonder what he had done wrong.
In the context of the socio-cultural environment,
there are a number of factors that you will need to consider.