Cross-Culture Internet Advertising

By Khare, Nidhi | Indian Journal of Economics and Business, June 2009 | Go to article overview

Cross-Culture Internet Advertising


Khare, Nidhi, Indian Journal of Economics and Business


I. INTRODUCTION

Indians are becoming more and more Net savvy: The sale of computers and also the Internet connections are increasing day by day, thus there is a drastic rise in the number of people accessing Internet on daily basis. This has given many firms in India an opportunity to advertise their products on Internet. Such a trend may be new for the Indian firms who are posting their advertisements on various websites but for multinationals working in developed countries this is an old trend. Internet is seen now as the latest mode of advertising and Internet Advertising has come out as a very powerful medium to inform, persuade or to remind the consumers. This poses a big challenge for the companies extending their ebusiness globally as well as for the advertisers to understand global consumers and to overcome cultural barriers and language differences on the web.

II. HOFSTEDE'S CULTURAL DIMENSIONS AND INFLUENCE OF CULTURE ON INTERNET ADVERTISING

Culture is a term with multidimensional interpretations Weber and Hsee (1998). While there are multifaceted definitions of culture Kroeber and Kluckhohn (1985), Hofstede defines culture as the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another Hofstede (2001). The collective programming of the mind refers to shared patterns of beliefs, values and ideas that shape human attitudes and behaviours Bochner (1994). In other words, the individual members of a group share certain ideas, values, acts, or emotions with other members of the group Mooij (1997). He explained that culturally-based values systems comprised four dimensions: power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, and uncertainty avoidance Fan et al. (2004).

Just because Internet access is available in almost all parts of the world, it doesn't mean that an organization's web site will reach all potential International customers. Just like any market or community, each country needs to be targeted strategically. For an organization to go global on the Internet really means going local in each geographic area because people respond to marketing messages through their own cultures. Marketers need to present messages that different cultures can understand, relate to, and trust. Going global on the Internet is different than in traditional media. A global presence in traditional media means offices in New York, Paris and London whereas for an Internet business, going global means having a local presence wherever the online audience clicks on to.

Internet Advertising has opened new horizons for the companies working in India as it provides them with an opportunity to reach more prospective customers at a lower cost. But the major issue involved in these advertisements is that they are accessed by people across the world for getting the required information. Once such an advertisement is placed on a website the target segment cannot be restricted. This gives rise to problem of handling cultural issues related to Internet advertisements as from country to country the cultural value keeps on changing. When interacting within our native cultures, culture acts as a framework of understanding, however, when interacting with different cultures this framework no longer applies due to cross cultural differences Dubey and Khare (2008).

III. LITERATURE REVIEW

In most previous cross-cultural research, cultural differences often follow national boundaries McDaniels and Gregory (1991), and these differences are analyzed by a number of cultural dimensions, provided by Hofstede (1991). He identified four underlying dimensions of cultural values: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism/collectivism, and masculinity/femininity. Among the four major dimensions of cultural values, uncertainty avoidance was considered the most important cross-cultural perspective of perceived risk because this dimension mirrors a culture's tolerance or intolerance of uncertainty. …

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