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Thursday, 20 September 2018

Characteristics of Culture

1) Culture satisfies needs:

    Why cultural exists is to satisfy the needs of the people within a society. It offers order,direction and guidance in all phases of human problem solving by providing "tried and true" methods of satisfying physiological,personal and social needs. For instance culture recommends or provides standards and "rules" concerning when to eat,where to eat,and what is appropriate to eat for breakfast,lunch and dinner and what to serve to guests at a dinner party or a wedding.

We have have to point out that cultural beliefs, values and customs continue to be followed as long as they yield satisfaction to the society. But when it becomes obvious that a particular standard,belief or value no longer satisfies the member of a society,it is modified or replaced so that the resulting standard is more in line with current needs and desires. In this way culture gradually but continually evolves to meet the needs of a society.

Within a cultural context the product being marketed by a firm can be viewed as offering appropriate or acceptable for individual or social needs. If a product is no longer acceptable because a value or custom that is related to it's use does not adequately satisfy human needs, the firm producing it,must be ready to adjust or revise it's product offering. Marketers are expected to be alert to newly embraced customs and values. For example,in recent times, many females or ladies in Nigeria are putting on trousers. This was not the case several decades ago. Especially in our institution of higher learning it has become fashionable for female students to put on trousers,even though some people belief it is wrong for females to put on trousers; but this belief is gradually changing.

2) Culture is learned:

    Unlike innate biological characteristics or behaviours,culture is learned. At an early age,every consumer begins to acquire from his social environment a set of beliefs,values,and customs that constitute his culture. According to anthropologist,there are three distinct forms of cultural learning, formal learning ,in which adult and old siblings teach a family member"how to behave" Informal learning :in which a child learns primarily by imitating the behaviour of selected others (family,friend or heroes) and technical learning in which teaches instruct the child in an educational environment as to what should be done,how it it should be done,and why it should be done (Hall 1959)

Even though,a firms advertising can influence all three forms of cultural learning,it is likely that many product advertisements enhance informal cultural learning by the audience with a model of behaviour to imitate. The repetition of advertising messages create or reinforces cultural belief and values. For instance,many advertisers continually stress the same selected benefits as integral features of their products or brands.

In discussing the acquisition of culture, anthropologists often distinguish between the learning of one's own or native culture and the learning of some other culture. The learning of one's own culture is what is known as enculturation,while the learning of a new or foreign cultures is known as acculturation. In Nigeria today consumers are both encultured and accultured and marketers must address both dimensions in their strategies.

Acculturation is also an important concept for marketers operating in foreign or multinational markets. In such cases,marketers are required to study the specific culture(s) of their potential target markets in order to determine whether their products will be acceptable to its markets,and if so,how can they best communicate the characteristics of their products to persuade or convince the target market to make purchase.

3) Culture is shared:

      To be considered a cultural characteristics,a particular beliefs,values,or practise must be shared by a significant portion of the society. In this regard, culture is viewed as group customs that link together the member of a society.

  Various social institutions and agents within the society transmits the element of culture and make the sharing of culture a reality. One of such institutions of the family,which serves as the primary agent for enculturation, that is,the passing along of basic cultural beliefs,value and customs to society's newest members.

Advertising is also an important agent that that helps in transmitting culture. Advertising is an important component of most mass media to which consumers are exposed daily. Advertising transmits much about culture without advertising it would have been almost impossible to disseminate information about products,ideas,and causes.  Consumers receive important cultural information from advertising. Thus advertising in addition to influencing the demand for specific products or services, In a cultural context reinforces established cultural values and aid in the dissemination of new tastes,habits and customs. In planning their advertising ,therefore marketers should recognise that advertising is an important agent of social change.

Culture is dynamic:

   To fulfill its need gratifying role,culture must continually evolve,if it is to function in the best interest of a society. Cultures do change overtime as the old patterns gradually give way to the new. For this reason,the marketer must carefully monitor the social cultural environment in order to market an existing product more effectively,or to develop promising new products. This is not an easy task,since many factors are likely to produce cultural changes within a given society (new technology,population shifts,resource shortage, wars changing values,customs borrowed fem other cultures). Marketers who monitor cultural changes often find new opportunities to increase corporate profitability.