Role of Cross-Cultural Analysis in Depicting Brand Message Through Advertising Globally

~Siddhant Sinha (Batch 2021-24)

Back in the early 1970s, at the peak of American motorcars’ popularity, Ford came out with a car called Ford ‘Pinto’. Indeed, a cute name for a car, but it flopped in Brazil because ‘Pinto’ is a local expression for the male genitalia.

For advertising to translate into an august brand message, their regional campaigns must convey its message to the target market for the product or service without any cultural appropriation. And given that businesses are now reaching out to a broader audience than ever before, it is crucial to do a thorough cross-cultural analysis.

In essence, this analysis aims to discover the cultural differences between different regions and countries as it is essential for brands to accommodate the values, beliefs, and attitudes of people from various cultures. The message to be relayed should coincide with the brand identity and the correct cultural context. This is also called the ‘think global, act local’ approach.

The role of the said analysis can be better understood by citing some examples. In most countries, people love brands for using humor in their advertisements. But in middle-eastern countries or Malaysia, it may not be received as well as in the rest of the world. In another example, a Procter and Gamble television commercial that was well-liked in Europe turned out to be a debacle in Japan. The commercial featured a woman bathing with her husband entering the bathroom. This advertising was viewed by the Japanese as a violation of privacy, inappropriate conduct, and inferior taste. Understanding these differences determines the success of establishing a brand image across cultures.

Not only gestures but symbols and imagery also play a role in delivering the brand message via advertising. Even colors can affect it! The color red in China signifies ‘good luck and prosperity’ but in Nigeria and South Africa, it is looked down upon as the color of violence. Even if these analyses are conducted after the campaign has ended, it provides a reference as to why they achieved more following in some countries than others.

The students of SCMS-NOIDA will collaborate with the students from Florida International University in a COIL course on ‘Role of Cross-Cultural Analysis in Depicting Brand Message Through Advertising Globally’ to learn in-depth information about how cultural differences and the effectiveness of cross-cultural communication might affect an international marketing effort’s success or failure.

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