Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Types of Marketing Acculturation


Lecture by Chivas Regal master blender, Colin Scott at Baretto (Fasano group), in Brazil in 2011, (in the photo: next to Luiz Pagano, with Marcelo Serrano and Mestre Derivan in the background). One of the objectives was to acculturate Scotch Whisky to Brazilian bamrans and mixologists, with the aim of creating Brazilian drink recipes.

When we talk about acculturation, the first image that usually comes to mind is that of someone migrating to another country and undergoing an instant immersion in the culture of that new place. However, when we apply the concept of acculturation to the context of marketing and branding, although there are similarities, there are some important distinctions.

In migration, acculturation refers to the process by which individuals adapt to a new culture, facing specific challenges and dealing with changes in their cultural identity. This may include learning a new language, adopting different customs, and coping with cultural shock.

On the other hand, in marketing and branding, acculturation involves the adaptation of brands or product categories to different cultures or markets. This means that companies need to adjust their marketing strategies, messages, and products to meet the needs and preferences of consumers in different regions or countries. However, unlike in migration, brands generally maintain their distinctive identity while adapting to new contexts.

In both cases, acculturation involves the interaction between cultures and the need to adapt to new environments. However, while in migration individuals undergo profound personal and cultural changes, in marketing and branding, brands seek to balance the preservation of their identity with the need to connect with new audiences and markets.

Adaptation Elements

In migration, individuals undergo a process of acculturation as they adapt to a new culture, while in marketing, brands face similar challenges when expanding into new markets or cultures. The strategies of assimilation, integration, marginalization, and segregation are ways of dealing with this adaptation and influencing how individuals or brands are perceived and accepted in their new contexts.

Adaptation Styles, by John Widdup Berry in 1997: Assimilation, Integration, Marginalization and Segmentation

Here is an analysis of how these elements can manifest in the marketing context:

Assimilation: In marketing, assimilation can occur when a foreign brand fully adapts to the local culture, abandoning its distinctive features and merging completely with the marketing practices and preferences of the local market. This can be seen, for example, when a foreign brand changes its name, logo, or messages to fit the local market without maintaining elements of its original identity.

Integration: In marketing, integration occurs when a foreign brand maintains its distinctive identity but actively engages with the local culture, incorporating local elements into its marketing strategies. This may include partnerships with local celebrities, sponsorship of cultural events, or adaptation of products to meet local preferences, while still maintaining a recognizable global identity.

Marginalization: In marketing, marginalization can occur when a foreign brand fails to effectively connect with the local market, remaining distant or irrelevant to local consumers. This can result in low brand awareness, lack of consumer engagement, and difficulty competing with established local brands.

Segregation: In marketing, segregation can occur when a foreign brand chooses to focus exclusively on a specific niche market, rather than engaging with the local culture overall. This can be seen when a foreign brand targets specific consumer groups based on shared interests or identities, rather than seeking broad acceptance in the local market.

Thus, while the elements of assimilation, integration, marginalization, and segregation can be applied similarly in the context of marketing, their interpretation and manifestation may vary depending on the specific dynamics of the market and the adopted brand strategies.

Acculturation in Marketing

Within the context of marketing and branding, acculturation refers to the process by which two or more entities, such as brands or product categories, come together and adapt to different cultures, contexts, or markets while maintaining their distinct identities. This process involves careful integration that allows for the preservation of the unique characteristics of each entity, while also seeking to achieve common goals and leverage synergies. Instead of complete absorption, acculturation aims for collaboration and harmonious coexistence, resulting in a new entity that incorporates the best of all parties involved.

There are four types of marketing acculturation: 1-brand acculturation, when, for example, Facebook bought Instagram; 2 -product acculturation, when we see a McDonald's menu in Japan: 3 -Consumer acculturation, which was the case with the increase in sushi consumption in America in the 1980's and 90's; and 4 - category acculturation, when Luiz Pagano created a new category of drinks based on an ancestral Brazilian drink, cauim.

In the study of branding and marketing, the term "acculturation" can have various connotations, each with distinct implications. Here are some of them, with examples to illustrate:

Brand Acculturation: As discussed earlier, this involves the integration of two or more brands while maintaining their distinct cultural identities. Example: Facebook and Instagram: Facebook acquired Instagram but allowed the platform to maintain its unique identity while integrating features such as targeted ads.

Product Acculturation: This refers to the adaptation of a product to fit different cultures or markets. Example: McDonald's offers specific menus for each country, incorporating items that are popular and culturally relevant in each locality.

Consumer Acculturation: Involves changes in behavior, beliefs, or consumption habits of a consumer due to exposure to a new culture or external influence. Example: The popularization of sushi in the United States, where the consumption of this Japanese food became common among Americans, adapting to local preferences.

Category Acculturation: Like the example of cauim, this involves the introduction of a product category in new cultural contexts, often preserving its original roots and traditions. Example: The creation of the new category of an alcoholic beverage called cauim, made from fermented kind of brazilian cassava called 'mandioca', based on traditional Brazilian indigenous culture.

These are just some of the ways in which the concept of acculturation can be applied in the context of branding and marketing, demonstrating how companies and consumers interact and adapt to cultural changes.


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