What is language?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: https://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/communication-for-business-success/s06-delivering-your-message.html

2.1 What Is Language?

Are you reading this sentence? Does it make sense to you? When you read the words I wrote, what do you hear? A voice in your head? Words across the internal screen of your mind? If it makes sense, then you may very well hear the voice of the author as you read along, finding meaning in these arbitrary symbols packaged in discrete units called words. The words themselves have no meaning except that which you give them.

For example, I’ll write the word “home,” placing it in quotation marks to denote its separation from the rest of this sentence. When you read that word, what comes to mind for you? A specific place? Perhaps a building that could also be called a house? Images of people or another time? “Home,” like “love” and many other words, is quite individual and open to interpretation.

Still, even though your mental image of home may be quite distinct from mine, we can communicate effectively. You understand that each sentence has a subject and verb, and a certain pattern of word order, even though you might not be consciously aware of that knowledge. You weren’t born speaking or writing, but you mastered—or, more accurately, are still mastering as we all are—these important skills of self-expression. The family, group, or community wherein you were raised taught you the code. The code came in many forms. When do you say “please” or “thank you,” and when do you remain silent? When is it appropriate to communicate? If it is appropriate, what are the expectations and how do you accomplish it? You know because you understand the code.

We often call this code “language”: a system of symbols, words, and/or gestures used to communicate meaning. Does everyone on earth speak the same language? Obviously, no. People are raised in different cultures, with different values, beliefs, customs, and different languages to express those cultural attributes. Even people who speak the same language, like speakers of English in London, New Delhi, or Cleveland, speak and interact using their own words that are community-defined, self-defined, and have room for interpretation. Within the United States, depending on the context and environment, you may hear colorful sayings that are quite regional, and may notice an accent, pace, or tone of communication that is distinct from your own. This variation in our use of language is a creative way to form relationships and communities, but can also lead to miscommunication.

Words themselves, then, actually hold no meaning. It takes you and me to use them to give them life and purpose. Even if we say that the dictionary is the repository of meaning, the repository itself has no meaning without you or me to read, interpret, and use its contents. Words change meaning over time. “Nice” once meant overly particular or fastidious; today it means pleasant or agreeable. “Gay” once meant happy or carefree; today it refers to homosexuality. The dictionary entry for the meaning of a word changes because we change how, when, and why we use the word, not the other way around. Do you know every word in the dictionary? Does anyone? Even if someone did, there are many possible meanings of the words we exchange, and these multiple meanings can lead to miscommunication.

Business communication veterans often tell the story of a company that received an order of machine parts from a new vendor. When they opened the shipment, they found that it contained a small plastic bag into which the vendor had put several of the parts. When asked what the bag was for, the vendor explained, “Your contract stated a thousand units, with maximum 2 percent defective. We produced the defective units and put them in the bag for you.” If you were the one 

reading that contract, what would “defective” mean to you? We may use a word intending to communicate one idea only to have a coworker miss our meaning entirely.

Sometimes we want our meaning to be crystal clear, and at other times, less so. We may even want to present an idea from a specific perspective, one that shows our company or business in a positive light. This may reflect our intentional manipulation of language to influence meaning, as in choosing to describe a car as “preowned” or an investment as a “unique value proposition.” We may also influence other’s understanding of our words in unintentional ways, from failing to anticipate their response, to ignoring the possible impact of our word choice.

Languages are living exchange systems of meaning, and are bound by context. If you are assigned to a team that coordinates with suppliers from Shanghai, China, and a sales staff in Dubuque, Iowa, you may encounter terms from both groups that influence your team.

As long as there have been languages and interactions between the people who speak them, languages have borrowed words (or, more accurately, adopted—for they seldom give them back). Think of the words “boomerang,” “limousine,” or “pajama”; do you know which languages they come from? Did you know that “algebra” comes from the Arabic word “al-jabr,” meaning “restoration”?

Does the word “moco” make sense to you? It may not, but perhaps you recognize it as the name chosen by Nissan for one of its cars. “Moco” makes sense to both Japanese and Spanish speakers, but with quite different meanings. The letters come together to form an arbitrary word that refers to the thought or idea of the thing in the semantic triangle.

pastedGraphic.png

Source: Adapted from Ogden and Richards.Odgen, C., & Richards, I. (1932). The meaning of meaning: A study of the influence of language upon thought and of the science of symbolism. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace & World.

This triangle illustrates how the word (which is really nothing more than a combination of four letters) refers to the thought, which then refers to the thing itself. Who decides what “moco” means? To the Japanese, it may mean “cool design,” or even “best friend,” and may be an apt name for a small, cute car, but to a Spanish speaker, it means “booger” or “snot”—not a very appealing name for a car.

Each letter stands for a sound, and when they come together in a specific way, the sounds they represent when spoken express the “word” that symbolizes the event.McLean, S. (2003). The basics of speech communication. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. For our discussion, the key word we need to address is “symbolizes.” The word stands in for the actual event, but is not the thing itself. The meaning we associate with it may not be what we intended. For example, when Honda was contemplating the introduction of the Honda Fit, another small car, they considered the name “Fitta” for use in Europe. As the story goes, the Swedish Division Office of Honda explained that “fitta” in Swedish is a derogatory term for female reproductive organ. The name was promptly changed to “Jazz.”

The meaning, according to Hayakawa,Hayakawa, S. I. (1978). Language in thought and action. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. is within us, and the word serves as a link to meaning. What will your words represent to the listener? Will your use of a professional term enhance your credibility and be more precise with a knowledgeable audience, or will you confuse them?

NL Zoetermeer, 12-06-2019

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

 

Some Sources of Misunderstandings in Intercultural Business Communication (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) T. Lázár University of Debrecen Faculty of Economics and Business, lazar.timea@econ.unideb.hu

4. Some other areas of misunderstandings in intercultural communication caused by cultural differences

In successful intercultural communication participants need to speak a common language properly, they need to be aware of the cultural differences and should take them into consideration, but in some situations misunderstandings can arise even if the participants fulfil the above-mentioned requirements. According to Larkey (1996) in culturally diverse workgroups misunderstanding may come from misinterpretations of intent, organisational practices, or interpersonal reactions, as well as simple miscommunication of ideas or values.

There are different areas of language use which might cause problems in intercultural communication. One of these areas is the language of numbers. In written communication there are differences in using decimal points in different parts of the world. In some countries they use the decimal point to separate thousands (in most European countries) while in the United States they use the comma. Another example is the use of billion and milliard for numbers with nine zeros. In some countries they use the phrase billion (US, Britain etc.) and in other countries they use milliard for the same number (Russia, Italy, Germany etc.) [7].

Although the metric system was designed to be universal all over the world, the conversion of scientific units into their SI equivalents might be problematic. There are different systems of units in use in various areas of science. For example the British system of units, known as imperial units and the similar US Customary Units, which are legal in the USA and Canada [6].

There are other aspects which are in close relation with cultural differences which can be the inward, non-verbal intercultural communication. They are gestures, facial expressions, interpersonal distance, eye contact, touch and silence. Some important areas of causing misunderstanding are listed below, but they are just examples, of course there can be a lot more [31].

The prevention or handling of possible misunderstandings can be led by philosophy and useful methodology in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Existing mentor programs, for example can protect intergeneration conflicts [3].

One of the important areas to avoid future misunderstandings is the attitude toward time because it can vary from culture to culture. For example people in Latin America, Southern Europe, and the Middle East have different attitudes toward punctuality and interruptions than people in the United States, England, Germany or Switzerland [37].

Also, the layout of the office and the arrangement of furniture play an important role in different cultures. This can convey power and show status [28].

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In an intercultural business context even using colours can cause problems because there are some cultural differences associated with colours. Just to mention one example: black is the colour of mourning in many European countries and in the United States, too. However, in Japan and some other countries it is white, and on the African continent red has similar connotations [2].

Another important area of nonverbal communication is clothing. In some cultures dressing conservatively or casually reflects different messages and can be associated with social status or wealth [24].

When doing business internationally you must apply the correct interpersonal space during conversations. There can be differences in the appropriate space in different cultures. For example people in the United States need more space than people in Latin America, but the Japanese need even more space [25].

Body language is an important part of the communication process in any culture. This may take different forms, for example facial expressions, gestures and posture. In many cases gestures depend on the culture and the context, and to avoid misinterpretations use them with care in international business settings [22]. Another difference can be found in using touches and body contacts in intercultural business communications. Shaking hands is accepted in many cultures, hugging on the other hand may seem inappropriate in some cultures. In countries like Italy, Greece, Spain touching is tolerated whereas in Hong Kong for example, any type of physical contact is best avoided [7].

In some business cultures people favour direct eye contact, for example in the US, Great Britain, Eastern Europe, while in other cultures eye contact is avoided, and for example in the Middle East there is a prolonged eye contact which can be uncomfortable for those who are not accustomed to it. There can be cultural variations concerning the eye contact with women in different cultures. If you are not familiar with these customs you can misinterpret the eye contact [4].

In many countries in business meetings there is a given amount of “small talk” before gettingdown to business. But this might be a minefield for intercultural communicators as there aredifferences concerning the topics of this “small talk”: it is appropriate to talk about some topicsin some countries but they are considered inappropriate in other countries. Problematic topics could be politics, religion and family situations [26].

The role of silence as a form of nonverbal communication is different in different cultures. Some might interpret it as a sign of agreement, while others as a lack of interest [15].

These examples illustrate that communicators should take many aspects of intercultural business communication into consideration, which requires intercultural competencies, preparation and experience. These skills can be improved and nowadays multinational companies realise how important they are and they are willing to invest in improving them.

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5. Conclusion

Intercultural communication is determined by sociocultural, and psychological considerations The success or failure of intercultural communication can depend on different factors but we can agree that culture has a very important role in it. There is a large variety of skills that communicators need to develop in intercultural communication and the more they have the better communicators they can be. The lack of a common language can act as a barrier to successful intercultural communication but this is not the only factor. There are a lot of other areas which might cause problems in intercultural communication so it is advisable to be well prepared before you communicate with people from other cultures. . Moreover, there is a growing interest in intercultural communication in international business life. Investment in exploring and developing the intercultural communication potential of employees is no longer a challenge, but should be a part of duties in everyday business operation, and also in strategical thinking.

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

NL Zoetermeer, 30-05-2019

 

Some Sources of Misunderstandings in Intercultural Business Communication (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) T. Lázár University of Debrecen Faculty of Economics and Business, lazar.timea@econ.unideb.hu

 

  • 2. The Importance of Cultural Background in Intercultural Communication
    In every form of communication the key to understanding is the meaningful context. Communicators make statements assuming that the other party has the same context of the statement. But in the case of communicators from different cultural backgrounds this is not always necessarily the case. If one understands the language and the words it is not sure that they understand the message, too. Understanding the culture can help communicators understand the context and the message. It might sound easy to achieve but in fact it is not. First of all it is not easy to define culture as such. Originally the world culture was used by ancient Roman orator Cicero and he used it for the cultivation of the soul. Culture can be defined broadly and it can affect many aspects of human life. In 1952 Kroeber and Kluckhohn collected more than 150 definitions of the term. “The essence of culture is not what is visible on the surface. It is the shared ways groups of people understand and interpret the world.” [35]
    Culture has an impact on business in different forms: there are international managers who operate on several different premises [18]. Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1993) wrote that there is a presumption that internalisation will lead to a common culture all over the world, and tastes and markets, thus culture are becoming more and more similar.
    “Whereas communication is a process, culture is the structure through which the communication is formulated and interpreted. Culture deals with the way people live.” [24] In intercultural communication different cultures interact and might influence each other, so if you
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are not familiar with the given culture at least partly, it can hinder or deteriorate successful communication. 

If people have to function in another culture it is natural that they experience difficulties. Brislin and Cushner (1996) wrote about areas of difficulties such as: dealing with anxiety whose origins are typically vague, learning new culturally appropriate behaviours, having to make decisions based on less information than one is accustomed to, recognising new clues to the role and how one is expected to interface with that role. 

When one communicates with people from another culture there might be communication barriers which are obstacles to effective communication. Chaney and Martin (2014) enlisted the following handicaps: (p. 12) physical (time, environment, comfort and needs, and physical medium), cultural (ethnic, religious, and social differences), perceptual (viewing what is said from your own mindset), motivational (the listener’s mental inertia), experiential (lack of similar life happenings), emotional (personal feelings of the listener), linguistic (different languages spoken by the speaker and listener or use of a vocabulary beyond the comprehension of the listener), nonverbal (non-word messages) and competition (the listener’s ability to do other things rather than hear the communication). 

Cultural differences obviously influence the different styles of management. Hanges et al (2016) conducted research on cross-cultural leadership and they found that culture moderates the outcomes resulting from different styles of leadership. They found that different leadership styles can be more effective if the followers are culturally homogenous at least to a certain extent. 

Artiz and Walker (2010) studied how member participation in meetings changes when teams are formed on multicultural basis using discourse analysis and observational methods. They found that there were significant differences in the discourse patterns of U.S.-born English speakers and their Asian-speaking counterparts when speaking English and working in mixed groups. Their research showed that group composition affected communication patterns. 

Shieh et al (2009) found that failures suffered by multinational enterprises generally result from neglecting cultural differences and managers must be cross-culturally trained to face the challenges of global competition. Tutar et al (2014) found that multinational company managers are aware of cultural differences and they have the skills to turn cultural differences into advantages as today multinational companies have workforce from different cultures, and managers need to take these differences into consideration in their activities. 

In the case of international companies intercultural communication differences can cause serious problems, Laurig (2011) established that differences in styles of communication could slow down the process of decision making and weaken social ties or they could make working processes more difficult. Levitt (2014) tried to explore cultural factors affecting international team dynamics and effectiveness and he found that cultural differences created more frustrations and barriers to effective teamwork than benefits. 

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Global economic crises have multicultural effects. Oliveira’s findings (2013) confirmed that even in crisis communication cultural diversity had a significant effect and understanding cultural differences was an important requirement in our society.

1) T. Lázár University of Debrecen Faculty of Economics and Business, lazar.timea@econ.unideb.hu

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Zoetermeer NL

23-03-2019

 

Some Sources of Misunderstandings in Intercultural Business Communication (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) T. Lázár University of Debrecen Faculty of Economics and Business, lazar.timea@econ.unideb.hu

1. Intercultural Communication 1)

It was Edward T. Hall who first used this term in 1959 for communication between persons of different cultures. Today it is universally accepted that different skills are needed to be able to communicate successfully with someone from another culture [12]. 

Seelye (1993) enlisted six basic skills forming intercultural competences: cultivating curiosity about another culture and empathy toward its members, recognizing that role expectations and other social variables such as age, sex, social class, religion, ethnicity, and place of residence affect the way people speak and behave, realizing that effective communication requires discovering the culturally conditioned images that are evoked in the minds of people when they think, act, and react to the world around them; recognizing that situational variables and convention shape our behaviour in important ways, understanding that people generally act the way they do because they are using options their society allows for satisfying basic physical and psychological needs, and that cultural patterns are interrelated and tend to support need satisfaction mutually, developing the ability to evaluate the strength of a generalization about the target culture, and to locate and organize information about the target culture from the library, the mass media, people, and personal observation. 

Several authors mentioned that intercultural competences are needed in the era of globalisation and they tried to define what they were. Chen and Starosta (1997) used the term intercultural sensitivity and they wrote that with the appearance of global society people need to adapt to the unfamiliar and there is a strong demand for greater understanding, sensitivity and competency among people from differing cultural backgrounds. To behave effectively and appropriately in intercultural interactions people need intercultural competence: self-esteem, self-monitoring, open-mindedness, empathy, interaction involvement and suspending judgement. Hunter et al (2006) used the phrase global competence, which is the capability to understand one’s own culture and identify cultural differences to other cultures. 

Within the wide spectrum of intercultural competences the intercultural communication competence plays a significant role. Waldeck et al (2012) defined six communication competencies important within the contemporary business environment. Spitzberg (2000) created a “Model of Intercultural Communication Competence” and he enlisted more empirically derived factors. Makela et al (2007) did research on the interpersonal similarity in multinational corporations. The different intercultural competencies are the following: 

  • 􏰀  ability to adjust to different cultures [32]
  • 􏰀  social adjustment [32]
  • 􏰀  awareness of implications of cultural differences [32]
  • 􏰀  national-cultural similarity [23]
  • 􏰀  cultural empathy [32]
  • 􏰀  cultural interaction [32]
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  • 􏰀  communication competence [32]
  • 􏰀  communication apprehension [32]
  • 􏰀  communication of enthusiasm, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit [38]
  • 􏰀  relationship and interpersonal communication skills [38]
  • 􏰀  mediated communication [38]
  • 􏰀  intergroup communication [38]
  • 􏰀  nonverbal communication [38]
  • 􏰀  interpersonal flexibility [32]
  • 􏰀  interpersonal harmony [32]
  • 􏰀  interpersonal interest [32]
  • 􏰀  speaking and listening [38]
  • 􏰀  a shared language [23]
  • 􏰀  ability to deal with psychological stress [32]
  • 􏰀  cautiousness [32]
    Steele and Plenty (2015) defined intercultural communication competence as “one’s knowledge of appropriate communication practices as well as effectiveness at adapting to the surroundings in a communication situation.”                        1) T. Lázár University of Debrecen Faculty of Economics and Business, lazar.timea@econ.unideb.hu

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Zoetermeer NL

19-01-2019

 

Was das Leben sinnvoll macht: Bedürfnisse achten – Werte schätzen-1

November 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Communication, Management, Psychology, Uncategorized 

 

Was das Leben sinnvoll macht: Bedürfnisse achten – Werte schätzen 1)

Aber mein Leben, mein ganzes Leben, wie auch immer es sich äußerlich gestalten mag, jeder Augenblick meines Lebens wird jetzt nicht zwecklos sein wie bisher, sondern zu seinem alleinigen,bestimmten Zweck das Gute haben. Denn das liegt jetzt in meiner Macht: meinem Leben die Richtung auf das Gute zu geben! (Lew Nikolajewitsch Graf Tolstoi, Anna Kerenina).

Glücklicherweise ist es normaler geworden, über Werte zu sprechen. Sie gehören zu den grundlegenden und grundgebenden Orientierungen. An ihnen messen wir, was den Einsatz lohnt. Sie bringen Klarheit, Kraft und Sinn in unser Tun und Lassen.
Werte sind unsere tiefsten Überzeugungen, Ideale und Einstellungen. Sie bilden den Maßstab für unser Denken, Reden und Handeln. Sie sind Teil unseres Gewissens. Sie sind der Motor, der uns antreibt und motiviert. Und sie sind die Fenster, aus denen wir schauen, wenn wir Entscheidungen treffen und andere Menschen und uns selbst einschätzen.
Obgleich wir ständig bewerten und Werte unser Tun massiv beeinflussen, so wirken sie doch eher untergründig. Sie sind uns als entscheidende Größe oft gar nicht bewusst. Doch unsere Sicht auf die Welt wird durch sie gefärbt. Sie sind der Kompass, mit dessen Hilfe wir unseren Lebensweg gehen.
Diesen Kompass neu zu eichen, wird immer wichtiger. Denn immer weniger finden wir selbstverständlich gemeinsame Regeln und Werte vor. Die Vielfalt möglicher Denk-, Bewertungs- und Lebensformen wächst beständig.
Wir machen uns miteinander auf die Suche nach unseren persönlichen Werten. Woraus speisen sie sich? Wie stehen sie zueinander? Wie können wir Übertreibungen vermeiden? Wie können wir wertschätzender mit eigenen Fähigkeiten und Bedürfnissen umgehen? Und wie den Mitmenschen mehr Anerkennung, Achtung und Freundlichkeit zeigen?

1) Günter W. Remmert: http://www.seminarhaus-schmiede.de/pdf/wertelust.pdf

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers
Email: beniers@mac.com
27-11-2015

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Cultural Differences In Television Advertising-6

January 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Communication, Marketing, Psychology 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Communication and Culture 1)

“Culture is a fuzzy set of attitudes, beliefs, behavioural norms and basic assumptions and values that are shared by a group of people, and that influence each member’s behaviour and his/her interpretations of the meaning of other people’s behaviour” (Spencer-Oatey, 2000). The concept of “culture” and business has been extensively researched (Hall, 1983; Hofstede, 1980; 1983; 1991; 1998), both how it affects interpersonal communication, as well as in more general terms: such as culture influences business practices, consumer choice and behaviour ( Hofstede, 1991; 1998; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1993, 1997 ).

Two models have been extensively used in the business world: Hofstede’s 5 Dimensions (1980; 1983, 1991) and Hall’s perception of time and high-context/low-context models (1983; 1989).

A number of other, sometimes more detailed, models are available (Chinese Culture Connection, 1987; Fiske, 1991; Schwarz, 1994). These models clarify and support Hall’s and Hofstede’s dimensions, and can mostly be related back to the Hofstede dimensions (Smith and Bond, 1998).

Hofstede (1991), differentiates between five cultural dimensions:

· Individualism/Collectivism

Individualist cultures typically emphasise the goals of the individual, individual initiative and achievement, more dominantly than collectivist societies, which are more concerned with collective goals and the group as a whole. In business, individualist societies rely more heavily on facts and figures to determine the optimum outcome, whereas collectivist societies put a greater emphasis on personal relationships and group harmony. This Hofstede dimensions is largely seen as connected with Hall’s High-context/Low-context dimension.

· Femininity/Masculinity

Masculine cultures typically favour assertive, competitive and tough attitudes, whereas feminine cultures are expected to emphasise caring and tender attitudes. Typically, masculine societies offer higher rewards and favour a challenging and competitive environment, whereas in feminine societies the emphasis is more on good relationships and co-operation.

· Uncertainty Avoidance

The degree of risk aversion in a society is central to this dimension. Countries that score low in uncertainty avoidance typically favour taking risks, trying new ways and using novel approaches. Societies that score high however tend to put greater emphasis on the “tried and tested” methods, are unlikely to take on high risks and are generally considered to be averse to ambiguity.

· Power Distance

This dimension is concerned with the respect for authority, hierarchy and status. The respect for authority and status are typically more dominant in high power distance countries than low power distance countries, where decisions from the top can (and should) usually be questioned and are typically based on reasoning and factual information. In extremely high power distance countries, the respect for authority figures, such as teachers, superior managers and parents, is generally so high, that their decisions are not questionable and have to be obeyed, regardless of whether or not these decisions make any sense to the recipient.

· Long Term Orientation

This dimension is typically concerned with the time frame in which the individual operates. Short-term-orientation is primarily concerned with the present and immediate future, such as favouring immediate benefits over long term gain. The emphasis in long-term-oriented cultures is more clearly on the continuity of the past to the future, such as the adaptation of traditions to modern life, and the perseverance towards slow gains.

· Polychronic / Monochronic

This dimension described by Hall and Hall (1989) is mainly concerned with the perception of time: Time is either perceived as linear and a hard guideline (monochronic), and it is only possible to handle one thing at a time, which requires full attention. In polychronic cultures time is seen as soft guideline, allowing for great flexibility and tasks are handled as they occur, often resulting in several tasks being handled at the same time.

2. Advertising and Culture

With the increase in international marketing research in recent years, an increasing number of scholars have shown interest in cross-cultural advertising research. In survey, Saminee and Jeong (1994), reported on a total of 24 cross-cultural studies in advertising for the period of 1980 to 1992. In their survey, the overwhelming majority of studies (21 out of 24) studied advertising in the US compared to at least another nation, whereas the second most studied country was Japan, with only 7 studies. The UK was included in 4 studies, Germany in 2 and the Netherlands in no study.

This section focuses on the most cited studies, and reviews them in some detail. However, there are a large number of other studies in existence that study certain aspects of advertising, or repeat other studies in different settings. For obvious reasons, those studies have not been discussed in this part. The main studies included here have been selected to represent and visualise the variety of studies that are available, but certainly, the list is not exhaustive.

Few studies examined countries because they were perceived as culturally similar (e.g. Mueller and Caillat, 1996). The majority selected the countries because they were culturally dissimilar (e.g. Katz and Lee, 1992; Culter and Javalgi, 1992; Cheng and Schweitzer, 1996).

Most of the studies published have paired two or more countries and examined the differences. The majority of the studies used either two or three countries, and only a few have extended their studies beyond this number (e.g. Zandpour, Campos and Catalano, 1994; Albers-Miller, 1996; Albers-Miller and Gelb, 1996). Some of these studies used research questions and resulting hypothesis loosely based cross-cultural theories, such as Hall (e.g. Biswass, Olsen and Carlet, 1992; Cheng and Schweitzer, 1996) in combination with economic and other data, or strictly based on cross-cultural theories, such as Hofstede (Albers-Miller and Gelb, 1996). Other studies have used country specific information, such as predominantly economic information (e.g. Tansey, Hyman and Zinkhan, 1990; Culter and Javalgi, 1992; Mueller and Caillat, 1996; Tse, Belk and Zhou, 1989; Wiles, Wiles and Tjernlund, 1996). A large number of the studies looked at advertising in general, without a directed research question, however, some studies were particularly interested in a limited number of societal phenomena, such as gender roles and work ethics (e.g. Gilly, 1988; Tansey, Hyman, Zinkhan and Chowdhury, 1997).

Resulting from this, current research can be broadly classified in three categories:

· Sociological research

Research of this type usually focuses on a certain aspect of society as portrayed in advertising. Research in this category typically tries to contrast culturally inspired norms such as gender roles between different countries. (e.g. Gilly, 1988; Tansey, Hyman, Zinkhan and Chowdhury, 1997).

· Ethnology inspired research

Studies in this category rely on a set of historic and general society values to explain perceived differences in advertising in two or more countries (e.g. Mueller and Caillat, 1996; Wiles, Wiles and Tjernlund, 1996).

· Cross-cultural psychology inspired research

This type of research aims to provide a somewhat deeper explanation of observed differences in advertising by linking appeals and observations to cultural dimensions, and hence trying to be able to forecast value and appeal differences in various countries (e.g. Albers-Miller and Gelb, 1996).

1) http://www.stephweb.com/capstone/t8.shtml

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

23-01-2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2

2713 BJ Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

Website: www.beniers-consultancy.com

Cultural Differences in Television Advertising-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CREATIVE STRATEGY 1)

Another aspect that has frequently been looked at is the overall communication or creative strategy that is used in advertising. One frequently used measurement system analyses

· if the advert presented in the form of a lecture, with a narrator speaking about the product (typical of direct sales commercials),

· or if a “story” or drama is created in the commercial. This distinction was originally developed by Wells (1988) and later adopted and expanded by Deighton, Romer and McQueen (1989).

 

Message elements
Wells Deighton Narration Character Plot
Lecture Yes No No
Drama and Lecture Demonstration Yes No Yes
Story Yes Yes Yes
Drama Drama Yes Yes Yes

· Typically, a lecture-type commercial will use hard sales strategy to convince the consumer,

· whereas a drama will be more soft sell approach. Equally, a lecture-type commercial will usually contain more information cues than a drama-type commercial, due to the nature of the presentation.

Looking at the communication style used,

· direct speech can be expected to be predominant in lecture type commercials, as the narrator usually addresses the audience directly (”Call now”).

· Indirect speech is logically more dominant in drama-type commercials, where the characters can be expected to speak to each other as the plot develops.

A slightly different flavour of creative strategy research, and more differentiated than the above, focuses on a variety of possible creative strategies that are frequently used in commercials. Most dominantly used are Simon’s Creative Strategies (1971). Martenson (1987), researching advertising in the US and Sweden, defined the strategies as follows:

Strategy Description
Information Presentation of unadorned facts, without explanation or argument, merely “news about” the product concerned
Argument Relating of facts (reasons why) in some detail to the desired purchase; logical “playing on established desires” in presenting “excuses” to buy
Motivation with psychological appeals Explicit statement of how the product will benefit the consumer; use of emotions and appeals to self-interest in creating desires not previously readily apparent; interpretation of facts in an “especially for you” framework
Repeated assertion Hard-selling repetition of one basic piece of information, often a generality, unsupported by factual proof.
Command A “non-logical” reminder (either hard-sell or soft-sell) to predispose audience favourably; maybe reinforced by an authoritative figure
Brand familiarisation Friendly, conversational feel, few or no “selling facts”, but suggestion of loyalty to and “trustworthiness” of the advertiser, keeps brand name before the public.
Symbolic assertion Subtle presentation of a single piece of information, links the product to a place, event, person or symbol (any positive connotation); sales pitch usually not explicit, copy [print ed.] usually minimal, and product, in general, not “featured”.
Imitation Testimonial, by a celebrity, by a “hidden camera” participant or by individual(s) unknown but with whom readers can readily identify (or whom they respect because of specified characteristics).
Obligation Free offer of a gift or information or a touching sentiment, some attempt to make the reader feel grateful.
Habit sharing Offer of a sample or reduced price to initiate a “regular practice or routine”; product usually featured.

This method again is clearly more differentiated, and allows for a greater variety of creative styles to be analysed than the lecture/drama method. It is however quite limited in its approach and usability to analyse the interaction between values and advertising, as it focuses more on an additional preference for a certain creative style or styles in a country. It is however well suited for that, and possibly a good tool for a more descriptive research than pure value centred research.

Again, this method makes use of communication style and the use of linguistic styles, such as a preference for indirect and direct speech, however the link is less clearly visible than with the lecture/drama method.

Another stylistic or creative method that is frequently referred to and researched is the use of humour in advertising. This stands out somewhat, as it doesn’t represent a full creative style, and is not linked directly within the area of information cue or appeals research.

As can be seen from the above examples of research instruments used, the focus of research into (cross-cultural) advertising can be radically different, though related. Research into appeals is evidently the most broadly focused research, whereas information cues and strategy research takes a far narrower, however more explicit, focus. All of theses research foci make a useful contribution to identify more clearly how advertising is influenced by culture, and if used in combination, have the potential to provide an extremely powerful analysis of advertising practice.

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

15-01-2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2

2713 BJ Zoetermeer
The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81
Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

Website: www.beniers-consultancy.com

Cultural Differences In Television Advertising-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INFORMATION CUES 1)

Other researchers focused more narrowly on the information content, rather than the appeals as a whole, in advertising. Information cues in advertising are generally understood to relate to pieces of information relating to the product or service that is being offered, the content in which the product is used or consumed is generally disregarded. A major tool for research focusing on information content is the Resnick-Stern Content Classification System (Stern, Dean & Resnick, 1981).

Information cue Descriptions
Price Value What does a product cost? What is the value-retention capability? What is the need/satisfaction capability?
Quality What are the product’s characteristics that distinguish it from competing products based on an objective evaluation of workmanship, engineering, durability, excellence of materials, structural superiority, superiority of personnel, attention to detail, or special services
Performance What does the product do, and how well does it do what it is designed to do in comparison to alternative products?
Components or contents What is the product composed of? What ingredients does it contain? What ancillary items are included with the product?
Availability Where can the product be purchased? When will the product be available for purchase?
Special offers What limited-time non-price deals are available with a particular purchase?
Taste Is evidence presented that the taste of a particular product is perceived as superior in taste by a sample of customers
Nutrition Are specific data given concerning the nutritional content of a particular product, or is a direct specific comparison made with other products?
Package or Shape What package is the product available in which makes it more desirable than alternatives? What special shapes is the product available in?
Guarantees and warranties What post-purchase assurances accompany the product?
Safety What safety features are available on a particular product compared to alternative choices?
Independent research Are results of research gathered by an “independent” research firm presented?
Company research Are data gathered by a company to compare its product with a competitor’s presented?
New ideas Is a totally new concept introduced during the commercial? Are its advantages presented?

Information cue research, such as Weinberger and Spotts (1989) or Maenaka, Miracle and Chang (1991), count either the total or the unique number of information cues presented in commercials.

Clearly, this type of research is far more limited in its approach, as it is more concerned with the product attributes that are displayed, rather than the entire message. It is however quite useful in order to evaluate the “directness” of advertising, and as such can be related more evidently to Hall’s high context/low context concepts, rather than to broader based cultural dimension concepts, such as Hofstede’s dimensions as a whole.

If counting the information cues present in advertising, a large number may suggest a low context society, whereas a low number would possibly suggest a high context culture. However, the number of information cues may equally be related to uncertainty avoidance, as it seems plausible, that in a largely risk averse culture the consumer may want to have more information about a product than in a less risk averse culture, as suggested by Usunier, 1999.

In comparison with Pollay based research, this type of research is not suitable for research into values, however it is far more differentiated in respect to the information content that is provided, and what product attributes are explained explicitly in the commercial message. As such, it provides a more detailed picture of target market consumer expectation than the more general values research, however it provides less opportunity for descriptive advertising context analysis. This is particularly evident, as certain appeals as classified by Pollay are considerably expanded. For example the “effective” appeal is split up in to three Resnick-Stern cues: Quality, performance and taste. The “safety” appeal is repeated in two cues: Guarantees and warranties and safety.

1) http://www.stephweb.com/capstone/t8.shtml

 Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

11-12-2012

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ

Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81
Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

Website: www.beniers-consultancy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cultural Differences In Television Advertising-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VALUES AND APPEALS 1)

a. Kotler (1997)

He differentiates three different types of appeals:

1. rational appeals,

He classifies rational appeals as “appealing to the audience’s self interest”. Typically they refer to the quality, value or performance of the product.

2. emotional appeals

Emotional appeals “attempt to stir up negative or positive emotions” (ibid.), and include fear, guilt, joy. Although Kotler makes a reference to negative emotions, I would argue, that these are turned into positive appeals in commercials. For example the negative “fear” appeal is used only when the product can actually provide safety.

3. moral appeals.

Finally moral appeals “are directed to the audience’s sense of what is right and proper.”(ibid.) These may include such appeals as ecological appeals and nationalism.

The often interchanging use of appeals and values by some researchers can be explained when looking at the interaction that is necessary between the two:

· Appeals are used to appeal to the values a consumer holds;

· Values are the underlying source of appeals.

b. Wells, Burnett and Moriarty (1995)

They define values and tentatively describe the interaction as: The source for norms [defined as simple rules for behaviour] is our values.

An example of a value is personal security. Possible norms expressing this value range from the bars on the window and double-locked doors in Brooklyn, New York, to unlocked cars and homes in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Values are few in number and are not tied to specific objects or situations. (…) Advertisers often refer to core values when selecting their primary appeals. Burnett and Moriarty (1995): 167.

This extract clarifies this interaction to some extent: Knowing that people value personal safety, and that a product X can enhance the personal safety, advertising for product X may use a safety appeal. So strictly argued, the safety value (or the desire to be safe) is held by the consumer – and the appeal is what is expressed in the advertisement in order to suggest to the consumer that their desired state of personal safety can be enhanced.

The appeal hence represents the underlying value.

c. Hofstede (1994):

This definition of values comes relatively close to the definition of values given by Hofstede (1994): Values are broad tendencies to prefer certain states of affairs over others.

To continue the above example: The advertising for product X, appealing for enhanced personal safety, displays a preference for a state of safety. And as such can be interpreted as displaying the preference for the state of enhanced personal safety (or in other words: the value of personal safety). Hence, if an advertisement displays a happy family, it can be understood to use the family appeal to represent family values.

In order to avoid any further confusion of the situation, for the remainder of this document:

We will refer to “appeals” as the values that are expressed in advertising, by using appeals, or the appeals that are displayed in advertising representing certain values. We will use values strictly when this represents a tendency to prefer certain states of affairs over others by human beings in the real world.

d. Pollay (1986)

The use of appeals, and with them the possibility of a distorted representation of reality, has been a topic of discussion for a considerable time. In 1983 Pollay published a coding framework for the identification of cultural appeals (actually, he called them values) in advertising, primarily as a response to the discussion over the cultural consequences of advertising appeals and what values of society these reflect.

By reviewing a variety of advertising related literature, as well as literature and values research in other disciplines, such as psychology, sociology and the humanities, Pollay created a list of 42 appeals most commonly found in advertising. He notes, that advertising does reflect a somewhat different set of values as can be found in a society in general (Pollay, 1986), a notion which he termed the “distorted mirror”, and which has lead to a significant debate over the subject matter. Clearly, advertising will attempt to have positive appeals associated with the product, and hence lead to a distorted reflection of reality. Although Kotler (1997) includes negative appeals, such as fear or guilt, in his examples, these will normally be turned “positive” in advertising, and are included as such in the Pollay list: For example the fear of an accident is resolved by demonstrating the safety features of a car (safety appeal).

Other researchers who carried out research into advertising appeals have developed different lists of possible values, often because they only tested for certain appeals rather than a complete set of appeals. For example Mueller (1996) and Cheng & Schweitzer (1996) used limited lists developed by them to reflect their line of enquiry. However, both take their definitions from Pollay’s original work.

As such, Pollay’s framework is the most complete set of possible appeals with definitions. It is also “pre-tested” as it is derived from previously published material, and is generally considered to be complete. As such may be the most suitable instrument both for probing a complete set of appeals, if used as a whole, or a limited set of appeals, if used in parts.

Clearly, in order to be effective, advertising has to appeal to the positive values that are held in the target group, or taken at large, the target society. If advertising is “out of touch” with the target group, it may alienate the target group, as the consumer can no longer identify with the product.

It is hence essential for the advertising to reflect at least a proportion of the values held by the target group, or society at large.

As Hofstede and others have demonstrated, values can vary considerably between cultures.

Some cultures may be comfortable with a relatively high level of uncertainty – if expressed in appeals, then it can be expected that advertising in these cultures will make less use of safety appeals than advertising from a culture where the culture is less comfortable with uncertainty.

Equally, in a society that holds highly individualistic values, it can be expected that advertising in general will use more appeals to individual achievement than in a society that holds dominantly collectivist values.

As such, advertising appeals are not a mere representation of a culture’s values at large, but they represent a selective sample of positive and desired values of that culture. They are in fact a “distorted mirror”, a mirror that represents idealistic, rather than realistic, values.

1) http://www.stephweb.com/capstone/t8.shtml

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

22-11-2011

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers
Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ Zoetermeer
The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81
Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

Website: www.beniers-consultancy.com

 

 

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Cultural Differences In Television Advertising-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cultural Differences in television advertising (2)

 VALUES, APPEALS, CONTENT AND STYLE 1)

In researching advertising across borders a number of terms are used to describe WHAT is said in a commercial or HOW things are said in a commercial. All of this type of research focuses primarily on the message of advertising, taking both the visual and the audible component into account. Most researchers have paid little interest in execution or objectives, which may influence the advertising message. Both execution and objectives are taken a priori as being equal across countries. This limitation should be clearly pointed out, as it may account for some of the differences observed.

I have divided four main areas of research, with all overlapping or influencing each other to some extent:

· Appeals (values) research, looking primarily at all or some of the advertising appeals used in commercials.

· Information cues research, trying to identify the amount and type of information that is presented, usually about a product, in a commercial.

· Communication strategy research

· Creative strategy research, looking at the actual advertising, communication or creative strategy, or parts thereof, used in a commercial.

Frequently researchers have combined certain areas. For example, Mueller (1996) in her study about beer advertising in the UK and the US looked for selected appeals as well as some communication styles in commercials.

The terms “appeals” and “values” are used loosely in the literature to describe the traditional notion of “advertising appeals”. In their textbook “Advertising – Principles and Practice”, Wells, Burnett and Moriarty (1995) give the following description of appeals:

Persuasion in advertising rests on the psychological appeal to the consumer. An appeal is something that makes the product particularly attractive or interesting to the consumer. Common appeals are security, esteem, fear, sex, and sensory pleasure. Appeals generally pinpoint the anticipated response of the prospect to the product and message. Advertisers also use the word appeal to describe a general creative emphasis. For example, if the price is emphasised in the ad, then the appeal is value, economy, or savings. Wells, Burnett and Moriarty (1995): 278.

1. As this definition suggests, appeals make the product attractive to the consumer, and are hence emphasised in advertising for the product.

2. However, they do not necessarily represent product attributes, nor do they have to be realistically connected to the product at all.

3. De facto they are often used to set a desired atmosphere or as a means to “connect” with the target group.

4. As such, they are “built” into the commercial and designed to represent the supposed values of the desired target group.

For example, a product that has housewives as a target group may show, as an appeal, pictures of a happy family – which is thought to represent a value of the target group, or at least a desired state. Also, for example beer in itself has little sex appeal – however this appeal is frequently used in beer advertising (Dahl, 2000). The combination of “sex appeal”, displayed in the advertising connected to the consumption of that particular brand of beer, may however make the product attractive to the potential consumer, as it may represent a widely held value in the target group. Connected to the product, this may make the product more appealing to the target group.

Clearly, not everybody will have the same values, and the appeals that are used do not necessarily actually appeal to all consumers – even within the target group.

However, they usually are chosen to represent values thought to be held by the target group as a whole.

The advertiser aims to link the set of appeals used in the commercial with the product in the mind of the consumer, in order to enhance and position the product, the product image and perception. They are used strategically to influence consumer perception of the product (such as drinking beer = success with women) and hence to increase consumer readiness to purchase – or product appeal. Understood as such, they can be regarded as an active part in positioning the product in the market place and enhance the product’s image, by associating desirable aspects to the product.

1) http://www.stephweb.com/capstone/t8.shtml

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

25-10-2012

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2

2713 BJ Zoetermeer
The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 36180834

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

Website: www.beniers-consultancy.com

 

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