Tailoring Your Strategy To Fit The Cult

Topics: Brand, Branding, Brand equity Pages: 29 (5139 words) Published: November 7, 2014







Tailoring Your Strategy
to Fit the Culture






hen a company goes global,
it often doesn’t realize that
its strategy is a product of its
own culture. Culture influences every aspect of a company’s strategy, whether at the corporate level or the product/
brand level. For this reason, companies cannot
simply convert a national strategy into a global
strategy without first understanding the various cultural dynamics at play. In this article, I will discuss three aspects
of global strategy: the company’s mission, vision and identity, brand strategies, and communications. Drawing upon Geert Hofstede’s dimensions of national culture (see Five Cultural Dimensions) and my own extensive research and consultancy work, I will consider the convergence and divergence of consumer

behavior across countries, in order to help
managers better understand the relationship
between culture and strategy. Recognizing the
differences will lead to increased efficiency in
a company’s global marketing effort and will
ultimately condition the success of any multinational enterprise.

Mission, Vision & Corporate Identity
A crucial element in the strategic planning of any
organization starts with its mission statement, an
explicit formulation of what a company stands
for, and linked to this, a vision statement indicating where the company wants to be in the future, sometimes expressed as its strategic intent. Mission and vision should give focus to everyone who is involved with the company, be it directly (employees) or indirectly (shareholders).

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Canon’s corporate philosophy of kyosei. Apart
from the collectivistic values such statements
express, they also indicate a high degree of
power distance, as in the case of Toyota,
whose mission is headed: “Message from Top
Also, contrast Microsoft’s mission, “To
help people and business throughout the
world to realize their full potential,” with
Philips’ to “Improve the quality of people’s
lives through timely introduction of meaningful innovations.” The former reflects the Anglo-Saxon value of self-actualization, while the latter reflects the quality-of-life preferences
more in keeping with the Dutch character.
In all these cases, it is vital that a company
review its mission statement in light of its own
cultural biases. A company’s view of itself ultimately reflects the values of its leaders, and if these values are not shared across cultures,
then stakeholders elsewhere may have difficulties identifying with the company. A truly global company would include values that are
shared by more cultures than just its own.
Based on its mission and vision, a company
then distills its corporate identity, which also
reveals its core values. Usually the task of
creating a corporate identity begins with the
selection of an appropriate corporate name.
Other factors that contribute to corporate
identity include the logo of the organization
and marketing communications. All this, including language, lettering and associations, is logically a reflection of the home country of
the organization.
The British communications consultant
Nicholas Ind has defined corporate identity
as “an organization’s identity in its sense of
self, much like our own individual sense of
identity. Consequently, it is unique.” If we
consider this definition carefully, we see that
it is, in fact, a culturally bound concept. First,
the quality of uniqueness resonates primarily
with individualistic cultures. Furthermore,
the insistence by many organizations that
there be worldwide consistency...
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