Welcome to the segment Cross Cultural Analysis Platforms. Here I will attempt to do the impossible, which is to explain culture and how to compare them in only 15 minutes. So, let's get started. So what is culture? It's like asking, what is life? It's that broad, it's that complex. And not surprisingly, we have hundreds if not thousands of definitions. But the one that I like and one that's referenced by many, many marketing people is that of Geert Hofstede, who defines culture in that following way. And the two key words that we need to note here, are programming and category. And please keep this in mind in future segments, because it gets at the essential characteristic of culture. A, that it's something that's learned, and not that we're born with. And B, that it pertains to group response. Therefore individual behavior may vary. Okay, so lets think of culture in different kinds of ways, we can think of culture as being like an iceberg and it's like an iceberg because we see through the tip of the iceberg which can mask actually something much more deeply rooted. So that is sort of the complexity of culture, you cannot really sort of understand culture just by seeing what's happening at the surface. Moreover, you have environmental forces like the physical landscape, like the economy impacting culture. So there is this interaction with other environmental forces. Okay, in culture, in marketing, you have two complementary approaches. Let me say that again, complementary. And it's reflected in that word and. Because a common mistake committed by many marketers is that they assume that one school of thought is better than the other. But much more astute marketers use both approaches. One that tries to look at sort of this culture-free, transcultural understanding, and at some level, marketing is marketing. Noon Nopi of course matters regardless of where you are. But to get a better fine-tuning of that Noon Nopi, you need much more of a systematic, culture-specific understanding. So in that sense, ultimately each market is somewhat unique. We can think of this as being a sequence, where we start with the more etic approach, where we try to understand from what universal value standpoint consumers in a specific region or country are responding to, but ultimately you need that more emic or systematic kind of approach. Where you try to understand and link what you see at the surface, also with much more inherent values of that culture of that country. Here's an example, many countries here in Asia are religious and if you go to Malaysia or Indonesia, they are Islamic and therefore they have to pray, five times a day. Which can be a problem if you're putting on makeup, and so the etic understanding is that all women aspire to be healthy and beautiful, that's common. But in terms of the emic understanding, we have to be sensitive to the fact that Islamic women have to pray, and they have to use products that are Wudu sensitive, meaning that they have to be water-friendly. Because Wudu requires that they purify themselves with water. If your cosmetic or makeup is not water permeable, then it has to be removed, again, five times a day. So cosmetics that cater to this local religious need of course have become much more popular. Another useful framework in culture is that of context, and it was developed by cultural anthropologist Edward Hall, who lived in and studied many Asian countries like Japan. And it emphasizes in some countries a much more nuanced understanding, what he termed higher context. So it gets at this much more emic approach to understanding a culture. And so we can understand why literal meaning in some countries is just that, whereas in more high context countries what people say and what people mean may be very different. Even though they are saying [LAUGH] yes and sort of nodding, they actually mean no deep down inside. Because of the context such as them wanting to save face for themselves and saving face for you. And so it's not just limited to language, it could pertain to space, it could pertain to the type of contracts that's needed, it could pertain to of course, time. Whereas in lower context countries time is absolute. In more higher context countries, time is much more relative. Okay, here's an interesting example of how cultural context impacts even how we use the web. Research tells us that low context countries, countries like the US, prefer to use the web in this following manner. With a greater emphasis on more functional information, maybe using different sites for different things, such as maybe, Facebook for personal things and LinkedIn for business matters. Whereas higher context countries, countries like Brazil for instance, will have a greater emphasis on personal relations and tend to be maybe less compartmentalized. Maybe were using Facebook for all of their business and personal matters, and have a greater use of pictures. Okay, we've learned that culture's something that's acquired through acculturation. And that implies that cultures can change depending on the sources of learning. And there can be many sources to speak of, such as the ones listed here. And so from a managerial standpoint, and even from an academic standpoint, we need to understand how these cultural drivers are changing. So this is just a short list, but the ones that I've highlighted talk about how some drivers remain relatively similar. Such as maybe the influence of school, which always has been very important here in Asia. Maybe the quite active role that governments play within the country and maybe between countries such as in their soft marketing. But in terms of the impact of things like family and the impact of friends, not only offline, but also online. That is becoming I think, very strong. Excuse me, from the standpoint of social media very strong, but from the standpoint of families, weaker. What I meant by strong is that there is this very strong trend of families becoming smaller and therefore maybe the influence of families are waning. So in terms of the significance, that is very strong. Okay, let me give you some examples of how some companies are catering to this change in terms of influence of cultural driver. And you may have heard of this company called Xiaomi. And even though it started in 2010, already they are the largest smartphone seller in China, matching up with companies like Apple and already superseding Samsung. And they didn't have these bigger budgets that their rivals did, and instead they relied heavily on social media, and events like Mi Fan which is sort of a play on their brand name. And these are events where they interact with their fans and sometimes they even solicit opinions from their fan base and try to adopt them as much as they can. So they imbue their fans with the sense that this is a very collaborative effort. And foreign companies are getting into the act as well. So social sites like Facebook in some countries like Indonesia are by far the number one social network. And increasingly many people are accessing it through their smartphones. And multinationals, like Coke, like Oreo, have taken note, whereby they're using Facebook as a their primary advertising channel. So instead of doing the same old, same old, and using something like television, more and more these companies are going straight to social media. That is how fast some Asian cultures are changing. Okay, of course any talk about culture would be remiss not to mention the very famous Hofstede's model. So, I think most of these dimensions are self-explanatory. And let me also emphasize that this is just a start, this is much more of a etic kind of approach where we try to compare and contract countries, but keep in mind that, again, culture does not pertain to every individual behavior. Okay, since I talked so much about Asia, let me talk about other regions, regions like Europe, and the US. And if we use the Hofstede model to compare let's say Spain from Europe, South Korea from Asia, and the US from North America, I think one might expect that Spain and the US given their historic goal relationship will be more similar as compared to Korea. But the results as you can see here indicate otherwise. That we see in fact that Spain and Korea are much more alike than when compared to the US, such as in terms of power distance, in terms of masculinity, where the US is much higher. Also in terms of uncertainty avoidance, and of course you have individual differences across the three countries where in terms of long term orientation, South Korea is by far the highest. And individualism, whereas we might expect, the US is the highest. Though the point here I think, is that we really have to think about which dimension we're comparing when we're saying that country a and country b are similar or different. Okay so summing up, I think we learned in this segment that culture has many layers, and it depends on the layer when we argue whether a country or countries are similar or different. Because even though on the surface they may appear similar, deep down they may be very different and vice versa. We also learned that cultural meaning is very context-specific. We also learned that culture interacts with other environmental forces. So we looked at Asia here, but we can think about Europe or other regions in terms of how those environmental forces are changing to predict how culture will be like in the future. And finally we learned through a model like Hofstede that when we compare a culture that we really have to look very specifically at the cultural dimension.