Cultural politeness in international marketing
Date of Issue2013
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
Global brands encounter either resistance or acceptance from Asian markets. Resistance from local consumers has limited the benefits global brands gain from globalization, as local consumers may resist by isolating, rejecting, or crowding out foreign businesses. To enhance local consumer acceptance of foreign brands, I propose a new marketing communication strategy called “cultural politeness.” Cultural politeness principles are applicable when local consumers discern the intention of a foreign brand engaging the local culture (i.e., intercultural context) (Study 1). The scale of cultural politeness is developed and validated (Studies 1 and 2). Exploring this newly developed concept, I find that including a local cultural symbol in a foreign brand’s marketing communication may induce negative evaluation of the brand. However, when this practice is accompanied by a potentially respectful message, local consumers perceive cultural politeness in the communication, which in turn enhances brand evaluation (Study 3). The influence of cultural politeness on increased evaluations of foreign brands is found in both Indian and American cultures (Study 4). However, the positive influences of cultural politeness on the evaluation of marketing communication decrease when local consumers perceive the global brand to be a “local” brand (Study 5). In addition, several cultural politeness strategies in marketing communication are examined in Study 6. The present results demonstrate the importance of cultural politeness in global marketing communication.