Cross Cultural Barriers in International Marketing

By Edith Gardner,2014-05-20 23:22
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With the development of economic globalization, an enterprise wants to survive in the increasingly fierce international competition and occupy a seat in the global market; it must go out and look for market opportunities. However, the cultural barriers unavoidable become great obstacle for international marketing. In this paper, combined with the example of Euro Disneyland in France, it centers on analyzing how to cross cultural barriers in international marketing.

    Cross Cultural Barriers in International Marketing

     ——Take the Euro Disneyland Case for Example

    Submitted to:

    Global Marketing Management


    th December.18,2010



    With the development of economic globalization, an enterprise wants to survive in the increasingly fierce international competition and occupy a seat in the global market; it must go out and look for market opportunities. However, the cultural barriers unavoidable become great obstacle for international marketing. In this paper, combined with the example of Euro Disneyland in France, it centers on analyzing how to cross cultural barriers in international marketing.

    Key Words

    cultural barriers; international marketing; Euro Disneyland; localization Introduction

    In the process of cross-cultural marketing, different cultures lead to the cultural conflict. Cultural conflicts hinder the smooth process of cross-cultural marketing. Finding a way to walk out of the cross-cultural conflict trap will contribute a lot to the success of international marketing.

    Main Body

    ?. Monsieur Mickey

    (i)The problems Euro Disneyland meet.

    Walt Disney is the world leader in family entertainment and one of the most valuable brands in the world. In order to explore European marketEuro Disneyland

    was opened up in Marne Town , 23 kilometers east of the Paris suburb. Disney had high expectations about opening up a Disney Theme Park in France. They projected 500,000 visitors to be in the park on opening day and the result was only 20,000 visitors. Until September 30, the end of fiscal year, the Euro Disneyland which takes up 40% holdings of Walt Disney Company suffered 63 euros financial net loss. It leads to one of the biggest failures for the Disney Company and is today used as an example of international marketing failures.

    (ii)The reasons lead to the failure of Euro Disneyland.

    Bringing the wonders of Disneyland to a foreign country must have seemed like old hat for Disney. After all, the company had successfully opened a Disney theme park in Japan, bridging the enormous differences between Japanese and American cultures. Euro Disney, at least initially, proved to be another story entirely.

    It failed to do its cultural homework on everything from French business negotiating styles to employee flexibility and dress habits to consumer spending patterns and eating preferences. The rudenessimpatience and angry behavior in

    business negotiation are not fit for the romantic feelings of the French character. The employees in Euro Disneyland are lack of cultural breeding. The French people, who tend to wear their cultural hearts on their sleeves, howled about Yankee cultural imperialism when Disney managed to buy 1,950 hectares of prime farmland for a fraction of the market price after the government used its right of eminent domain to find Mickey and friends a home. The farmers whose families had worked the land for centuries were bounced. French newspapers


    railed at the American invaders in a very public display of anger and insult. The Euro Disneyland totally underestimated the attachment to the land of one segment of French society. All these factors result in its failure. II. Cultural factors in international marketing environment.

    Cultural environment includes the basic values, idea, preferences of a society; behavior of the customs and other factors. Social culture is the combination of a society’s national identity, values, lifestyles, customs, ethics, education level, language, social structure. The cultural content mainly composed of two parts: first, the society's basic core culture which shared by all members; Second, the social sub-culture or subculture, which is easy to be changed over time and be influenced by external factors.

     In a society of human being, it undoubtedly will form into a particular culture. Different people are from different countries and different regions; it represents different cultures and life styles. The impacts of all these differences have a complex impact on enterprise marketing, and sometimes may even become a key to success or failure. Therefore, for international marketers, social and cultural environment is a very important factor can not be ignored.

    ?. How to cross cultural barriers in international marketing?

    (i) Establishing awareness of international marketing.

    Marketers should firmly establish the awareness of international marketing, and distinguish the international marketing and domestic marketing strictly. After all, in international marketing, the marketers will face a new environment and new problems which much more difficult and complex to deal with. If you do not do as the Romans do would certainly receive a rejection, extrusion. Only in this way can the enterprises survive in the international marketing and able to overcome the impacts of various local cultures.

    (ii) Adopting the strategy of localization.

    1. The definition of localization.

    Localization should be understood as a process rather than an end. A thing turns to change in order to adapt to the current environment, popular to say is to do as the Romans. The concept of localization is also widely used in different industries. Localization is a reflection of the modern marketing concept, its core is: regarding the consumer as the core of all the business activities rather than use the business preferences and habits as the criterion, the enterprise specification must be changed with the regional changes which caused by the customer changes. The essence of "Localization" is a process which integrates the producing, marketing, management, personnel and others fully into the host economy by transnational corporations in. Generally speaking, it is finished through a comprehensive survey which aims to find out the actual local economy, culture, customs and other circumstances. On the one hand, this is better for the products which produced by multinational companies more easier to meet the needs of local consumers. Besides, it saves the high expenses for foreign expatriates and multinational companies’ operating .Whats more, it will also

    contributes to the integration of local society and culture, and reduce the local community’s emotional crisis about foreign capital, it is conducive to economic


    security of the host country. Last, it will increase employment opportunities and accelerate the speed of manageable changes and globalization.

    2. Try to achieve localization

    (1).Brand localization.

    Different countries have different culture; international marketers should

    integrate the business culture with the local culture based on different local cultural environments. In order to establish their own brands Image, it needs to meet local people's interests and hobbies, and enhance the attractiveness of the local people in global marketing.

    The Euro Disneyland did not do well in the aspect of brand localization. Learned the lesson from Euro Disneyland, the Walt Disney Company in China try to take the cultural factors into consideration, it has been successful give Chinese names to the cartoon image of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, which two are their representatives of cartoon characters. The two characters are very popular in China and be loved by people from different age groups.

    (2).Product localization

    Consumption in different countries exists in indifferent cultural environments, the corresponding preference for its products are also different. Therefore, when the international marketers extend their own brand to the international community, they should consider the cultural background and living preferences of foreign market. The introduction of local products and the usage of the same local products are also necessary. All these will contribute to achieve the product localization in the international marketing. Through the localization of product, the company can access to meet the needs of local consumers, and finally overcome cross-cultural barriers.

    As to Euro Disneyland, it can introduce a number of French restaurants according to the French eating habits and preferences, or to create their own brand of French cuisine through the investigation of favorites and tastes of local French. As a result, it certainly will leads to a win-win situation. The product localization not only meets the consumers’ demands but also make profits for the company.

    (3).Staff localization.

     When conducting international marketing, it is important to have local talents. Using local staff is the only way to a better understanding of the region. Therefore, marketers should try to hire local staff, and train them according to the local culture, avoid to transplant own training model and content to the ground, because it may give a bad impression of brainwashing on the local staff.

    Therefore, the Euro Disneyland Company employees should pay attention to the Staff localization, designing their own training programs according to European culture and enable local people to accept and agree with their own corporate culture. (4).Localization of the marketing mix.

    First of all, in the price aspect, the concept of people's consumption and consumption levels are different in different countries, therefore, the determination of the price should based on consumer attitudes and consumption levels , so it will more easily to get the local customers’ identification and acceptance. Secondly, in the promotion, whether in advertising or public relations, it should be designed according


    the European culture and not emphasize their own culture. Conclusion

    In the international marketing, it’s necessary to take cultural factors into consideration and gain a comprehensive understanding of market needs. Only in this way can the international enterprises cross cultural barriers and achieve

    marketing success.


    1[1]简明商务英语系列教程?国际商业文化 International Business Culture ?美?

    米歇尔(Mitchell, C.) 上海外语教育出版社2009

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    [3] 跨文化间的交流Communicating Across cultures Stella Ting-Toomey上海外语教育出版社2007

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