A globalised marketplace is a market where companies from one country export or produce their products and services in other countries (Hassan, 1994). Diversity of consumers refers to how consumers respond to different products in the market; their differing consumption demands, interests, tastes and needs (Hassan, 1994). It also involves the different cultures that various consumers develop as a result of certain factors affecting products in the market, e.g. marketing and branding activities. Expansion to international markets creates marketplace where multinational companies compete for customers. Emerging economies such as India, China and Nigeria have provided good markets for international companies. Multinational corporations expanding to international markets brand and market their products to meet the needs of the host country. For instance, producers of consumer products such as Coca Cola have produced their products in China to meet the rising consumer demands for consumer goods in the Chinese market. As multinational corporations compete in the global market, they use different brands and marketing strategies; hence creating diversities among consumers in the global market.
The purpose of this essay is to establish how a globalised market place has increased the diversity of consumers through marketing activities and branding. In order to achieve this purpose, the essay will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the two articles by Askegaard and Eckhardt (2012) and Lysonski and Durvasula (2013). The essay will also use information from the broadcast, “Brand China” to explain the diversity of consumers in the globalized marketplace. These sources have important information on how marketing and branding activities of globalisation can result in diversity of consumers in the globalized marketplace.
Globalized marketplace has led to various marketing and branding strategies by multinational companies which target various international markets. Such companies create a diversity of consumers because they enhance consumer demand by marketing their products in sophisticated ways and provide brands that meet the needs of various consumers. For instance, crossing and re-crossing of boundaries has transformed consumption practices and ideas concerning Yoga in Indian marketplace. The introduction of Chinese Coca Cola brand in China has also influenced consumption patterns of coca cola among various consumers in Chinese Marketplace. Furthermore, consumers in Nigeria are considered to be acculturated to global consumer culture due to marketing activities of multinational organisations, cosmopolitan tendency, use of English language, exposure to global mass media, and social interactions.
Askegaard and Eckhardt (2012) argue that a vast array of global economic, cultural and technological flows in global marketplace influence consumption patterns in various ways. They also connect different consumer culture in complex ways. According to the article, cultural flows across markets through globalisation result in re-appropriation of cultural practices in their places of origin. According to Askegaard and Eckhardt (2012), consumption patterns of Yoga in the Indian Marketplace are influenced by crossing and re-crossing of boundaries (globalisation). Global consumer culture continually shapes national consumer cultures and consumers’ consumption patterns. Indeed, global forces have direct impact on local consumption patterns, especially in non-western economies. Yoga is a spiritual enlightenment practice which originated from India and has spread to the West for about a century. The globalisation of Yoga began in 1893 when Yoga practices were presented by Vivekananda in Chicago World’s fair.
Diversity of consumers can be identified in the consumption practices of Yoga in India by considering six different ways those local consumers of Yoga in India interpret the product. The six ways in which consumers interpret the product have been influenced by the branding and marketing practices of companies offering the product. Therefore, globalisation through marketing perspectives and branding issues is a key influential factor in creating diversities among consumers in the global marketplace. The circulation of Yoga around the globe has led to transformation of the product. The six ways in which Glocal Yoga is considered interpreted by Indian consumers as a fashionable practice include: as a resource management technique, as a health practice, as cultural domination, as market oriented practice, as a national heritage, and as global yoga.
As a management practice technique, Yoga has been re-appropriated by managers in modern corporations as stress-living technique. In this case, Yoga is seen as a remedy for challenges caused by work life; an enabling technique for the employee and productivity-driving force for the employer. The second way in which Yoga is re-appropriated is as health and fitness practice. Consumers of Yoga in Western countries who perceive Yoga as a health practice are influenced by the marketing practices of multinational companies which consider Yoga as a health practice. Re-appropriation of yoga in this perspective is aligned to the western ideology of the toned, well contained, and well managed body (Askegaard and Eckhardt, 2012). The third re-appropriation method of yoga is the recognition of the power of marketing as a proper means of disseminating yoga (market-oriented yoga). In this perspective, yoga is made to be customer friendly through the marketing mechanisms of multinational corporations in the global marketplace. This perspective is appropriate for the western world which is characterised by positive signs of market society.
Consumers also re-appropriate yoga through globalisation of the product itself. Yoga is adopted in the western world in a more appreciative way than in India. This is due to the idea of globalization. Askegaard and Eckhardt (2012) attributes this re-appropriation to the fact that modern marketplace inspires and generates rather than destroying cultural authenticity. They suggest that Yoga is westernized and hybridized through globalisation, appropriation and marketisation processes. The product is also easternised through juxtaposition with other Asian practices that care about the body. The fifth re-appropriation method of yoga is through the post-colonial lens of cultural domination. In this case, the Westerners are seen to be using yoga just to get the benefits and not contribute to its development. Lastly, yoga is re-appropriated as an auto-orientalist. In this case, Indians consider yoga as a contemporary sign of national and cultural identity. Auto-orientalism is the use of globalised signifies of Indian traditions to promote the aspirational consumption of culturally marked “self” by Indians (Askegaard and Eckhardt, 2012).
The six methods of re-appropriating yoga demonstrate how the global market place has influenced varying consumption patterns, leading to diversity of consumers. The practice is considered as a transformative compromise between various cultural forms and the interaction with various other related body practices in the global marketplace. Yoga has been globalised, and each society and culture has viewed it from a different perspective; creating a diversity of consumers across the world.
The second article by Lysonski and Durvasula (2013) suggests that Nigerians are acculturated to in many ways including exposure to marketing activities and global mass media exposure; hence affecting consumer ethnocentrism and materialism. The study shows that Nigerian consumers prefer products from more economically developed countries to products produced in Nigeria. This shows how globalization and international marketing has influenced consumption patterns and behaviour in the country.
Lysonski and Durvasula (2013) suggest that the convergence of tastes and preferences among consumers has transformed the global marketplace. Global marketing activities target specific market segments that have homogenized consumer tastes and preferences. Globalisation therefore introduces common lifestyles, tastes and preferences across the world. The flow of goods and services across countries through globalisation has also led to global consumer culture. For instance, global brands have caused varying mindsets of consumers. This has led to higher levels of consciousness about modern lifestyles, popular brands, and consumption preferences. This perspective of homogeneity of consumer tastes and preferences as a result of globalisation contradicts with the proposition that a globalised marketplace is leading to increased diversity for consumers.
Levitt (1988) argues that there is another force of heterogeneity of consumer tastes and preferences produced by globalisation. This interaction between homogenization and heterogenization of consumer tastes and preferences brings about groups of individual consumers, each with a different taste or preference of a given brand. This shows that globalisation causes diversity among groups of consumers, not among individual consumers.
Lysonski and Durvasula (2013) propose that urbanized, young and educated Nigerians have been transformed due to exposure to Western symbols of consumerism. This shows that groups of people in Nigeria based on whether they are young or old, rural or urban develop different consumption tastes and preferences due to globalisation. Living in urban areas exposes consumers to modern lifestyles and practices from the west while being young predisposes consumers to modern thinking, interaction, and living.
The study by Lysonski and Durvasula (2013) sought to find out whether young urban Nigerians are willing to get involved western cultures due to cosmopolitan tendency that Nigerians exhibit. Exposure to modern marketing practices in the media was also expected to motivate Nigerians to emulate global culture as they attempt to seek identification with the western culture. However, the results of the study showed that the identity of Nigerians to the western cultures was not high. This is because Nigerians developed national pride in their own culture. Furthermore, Nigeria’s confidence in its economic potential as compared to other African countries may have led Nigerians not to emulate western cultures in regards to consumerism. Instead, Nigerians tend to stick to their localised consumption practices which are compatible with structural and ideological conditions of Nigeria.
Therefore, Nigerians have not been influenced significantly by globalised mindset. This proposition supports the idea that there may be global brands but there are no global people. This shows that there may be different consumers in the global marketplace, but that is not caused by the globalisation itself; but by the different cultures that exist naturally in each society Goodwin et al, 1997). Such cultures are shared by national, regional, ethnic or racial people and may not be influenced by marketing or branding issues in the global marketplace.
The broadcast “Brand China” also provides good information about the influence of globalised marketplace on the diversity of consumers. The broadcast indicates that several world brands have chosen to market or advertise their brands in the country where hundreds millions of consumers have developed an appetite for consumer goods. For instance, coca cola brand has become highly demanded in China due to its intensified marketing by Coca Cola Company. Even though local brands are developing to compete with the international brands, people still prefer foreign brands. Coca cola devised a good way of marketing its product to China – producing a Chinese version of the product to meet the interests and needs of Chinese consumers. German Companies also have a significant number of its products in china.
Marketing is the key reason for rising consumer preference of foreign brands to local brands. One of the marketing potentials of foreign companies is ecommerce, and another is social media marketing. The broadcast suggests that most Chinese potential consumers are now on the social media, and foreign companies are taking advantage of such unpaid marketing potentials to attract consumers in china. Therefore, it is clear that globalisation produces different consumers in the global marketplace through branding and marketing.
From this discussion, it is clear that there are propositions and oppositions about the idea that A globalised marketplace is leading to increased diversity for consumers. The Broadcast “Brand China” and the article by Askegaard and Eckhardt (2012) suggest that global forces of branding and marketing in the global market create a diversity of consumers. However, the article by Lysonski and Durvasula (2013) holds that global forces do not influence consumers’ tastes and preferences because consumers’ consumption behaviours are informed by local cultures and interactions between ideological and structural conditions. According to Levitt (1988), globalisation causes both heterogeneity and homogeneity of consumer tastes and preferences. Therefore, it is plausible to conclude that the global forces of branding and marketing cause heterogeneity and homogeneity of consumer preferences and tastes; hence causing diversity of consumers in some economies and causing no diversity of consumers in other economies. This depends on how each economy views its local cultures and practices. Countries like Nigeria value their local cultures so much that global brands do not cause diversity among its consumers. In other countries like China consumers are diversified by the influence of various foreign brands.
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