How the Social and Cultural conditions influence foreign market selection?
An international marketer should be familiar with the Social and Cultural Conditions of the host country. Following are the main elements of social and cultural.
- Material culture.
Material culture refers to all man-made objects and its study is concerned with how man makes things and who makes what and why. Material culture will be considered as the tools, artifacts, and technology of a society. It is concerned with techniques and with physical things, but only those made or fashioned by man, as opposed to those found in nature.
For example, a tree per se is not a part of the culture but the Christmas tree is, and so is an orchard. Material culture includes economic considerations, that is, the way the society organizes its economic activities. When we speak of a “technology gap” between India and USA, for instance, we are referring of differences in the material culture of the two areas.
Language is the most obvious difference between cultures. Inextricably linked with all other aspects of a culture, language reflects the nature and values of the culture. For example, the English language has a rich vocabulary for commercial and industrial activities, reflecting the nature of the English and American societies. Many countries with less industrial and commercial activities may have richer vocabularies than the English language, but for matters important to their culture and not necessarily for industrial and commercial activities.
Esthetics refers to a community’s ideas concerning beauty and good taste, as expressed in the fine arts (music, art, drama, and dancing) and the particular appreciation of color and form. There are important international differences in esthetics, but they tend to be regional rather than national. For example, Kabuki theater is exclusively Japanese, but the Western community is its audience.
Musical tastes too tend to be regional rather than national. In the West, a great number of countries enjoy the same classical and popular music. In fact, music may become truly international. Nevertheless, there are obvious differences between Western music and that of the Middle East, Africa, or India. Likewise the dance styles of the African tribal groups of the Balinese are quietly removed from Western dance styles. The beauty of India’s Taj Mahal is different from that of the Notre Dam in Paris or the Level Building on Park Avenue in New York.
Education, in the simple sense, usually means formal training received in school. A well-educated person, for example, is one who has had many years of such training. In this normal sense, the aborigines in Australia or the Pygmies in Africa are not educated that is, they have never been to school. However, this formal definition of education is too restrictive.
Education includes the process of transmitting skills, ideas, and attitudes, as well as training in particular disciplines. Even primitive peoples have been educated in this broader sense. Another function of education is the transmission of the existing culture and traditions to the new generation. Education is also treated as tool of cultural change.
Religion includes beliefs and attitudes of a group of people that provide the best insights into their behavior.