How do Cultural Factors Influence Consumer Behavior? (on Example of Coca-Cola Company)

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The aim of this study is to investigate in what way factors of culture (such as values, beliefs, laws (rules of behavior) and social status) influence consumer behavior using the example of Coca-Cola Company. Additional questions were: is it still important today to take them into account in the times of globalization Or marketers do not have to pay attention to it advertising a product of mass culture. Mentioned factors were studied on already existing literature. Used materials were taken from scientific sources. Work include analysis of consumer behavior influenced by personal values, family, social status and impact of globalization on culture.

Now the consumer and his desires come to the fore and become the main subjects of study of producers. Researching the factors that influence consumer motivation and behavior allows firms to use the right marketing incentives. One of the main factors is culture. Therefore, when a company enters the international market, it must first determine the characteristics of the culture of its target market. (M. Salomon, 2006)

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Their increasing role makes it important to analyze consumer behavior and identify the factors that influence this behavior in order to further predict the level of spending.

Culture currently plays a huge role in shaping consumer behavior. (Money, Gilley, and Graham, 1998) For example, women living in West Bengal would prefer buying traditional sarees as compared to Westerns. It is one of the most important part of the world around us. Culture includes everything that distinguishes man from animals, pointing to his social essence: ideas, relationships, religions, rituals, habits, art and much more. Culture is clearly seen in stable models of behavior, especially in forms of consumption. For example, in mainstream American culture, turkey is a traditional food for Thanksgiving. This culturally specific behavior allows companies that produce poultry, along with the retailers who sell it, to prepare for increases in demand near the Thanksgiving holiday, but only in the United States. (Money, Gilley, and Graham, 1998)

Culture is a determining factor in the needs and behavior of a person who learns from childhood in the family and through other social institutions a certain set of values, stereotypes of perception and behavior , social status.

There is a progressive movement of culture, its transition from one state to another. Innovation is the invention of new images, symbols, norms and rules of behavior, new forms of activity aimed at changing the living conditions of people, the formation of a new type of thinking or perception of the world. Therefore, it is fundamental to understand the nature and importance of culture, special attention should be paid to the impact of ethnic factors on consumer behavior. No less important is the influence of individual personality, family and situation.

Culture is dynamic. It is always changing. For example, technological change has a broad impact on culture. The internet allows people to connect to social groups and media that represents a particular worldview. That is why consumption patterns, as part of culture are constantly changing. Culture is transforming with the changing elements of a particular surrounding. However, there are some elements of culture, which are unaffected by the influence of place and trends of time. It is these basic things that producers should pay attention to trying to bring any product to the market, advertising companies conducting incentive campaigns in support of this product and other structural units engaged in the production and promotion of goods. Given today's globalized world, this problem is more urgent than ever.

Consumer behavior

Consumer behavior is formed under the influence of five main situational factors: the physical environment (geographical location, design, sounds, smells, lighting, appearance), social environment (the presence or absence of other people in the moment of purchase , time (time characteristics associated with the time of purchase), the task of the consumer (what person wants to achieve in this situation),state (mood or conditions under which the consumer enters the situation for example anxiety, pleasant mood, amount of money ) (Chang, P. L., and M. H. Chieng. , 2006 )

Consumer behavior is a core motivation in the selection, purchase and use of products. This activity is directed on satisfaction of needs. It is subject to various influence from the environment and individual differences of consumers.

Consumer behavior is defined as the process of decisions and actions taken by people in purchasing and disposing of goods and services. In other words, consumer behavior is considered the science of' why people buy”. In the sense that it is easier for a seller to develop strategies to influence consumers when he knows why people buy certain products or brands (Aaker, J. L., V. Benet-Martinez, and J. Garolera,2001. )

Types of influence on consumer behavior

Thus, all factors affecting consumer behavior can be divided into two groups: internal and external. External influences on consumer behavior include culture, demography, values and norms, social status, reference groups, family and household, climate, economic and political factors. In most cases, marketers cannot manage these factors. However, they need to know and consider those factors. Internal factors include a person's self-image, personal values, cognitive processes, etc. (M. SALOMON , 2006)

Influence on consumer behavior

Every day consumers make decisions about what to buy and where. To understand what is guiding the buyers, marketers need to determine what factors affect their behavior. ( McCort, D. J., & Malhotra, N. K. , 1993). On the one hand, the consumer acts in a certain environment. On the other hand, the consumer is greatly influenced by his personal values, knowledge, emotions, lifestyle, hobbies. (McCort, D. J., & Malhotra, N. K. , 1993)

Each person has a unique set of personal characteristics that affect his purchasing behavior. There is a close connection between personal characteristics and types of consumer behavior. C. Jung suggested (1921) a person as a system of perception and processing of information, with the help of mental functions of sensation, intuition, thinking and feelings. Jung identified two main types of information perception - extroversive (there is an accumulation of undigested material from the outside) and introversive (controls the choice of information). Within these groups, individuals differ in the processes of perception and processing of information. In addition to extroversion and introversion, Jung identified the following types: thinking - feeling, touch - intuitive. Depending on belonging to a particular psychological type, buyers behave differently when they are making a decision to buy. In addition to the type of personality, marketers use such a concept as self-perception (the idea of a person about himself) ( McCort, D. J., & Malhotra, N. K. , 1993)

Social classes, roles, and status of the buyer

According to Oxford dictionary social class is a division of a society based on social and economic status. Very often marketers focus on differences in consumer behavior based on social status. Social status refers to the comparative respect that society gives to persons who hold certain social positions. Social comparisons shape our identity in terms of labeling ourselves and especially others in a category, such as “wealthy” or “poor”, “smart” or “stupid”. People compare ourselves to others and thus realize how different they are.

Differences between people in each particular society leads to a variety of relationships, roles, positions. In the study of the nature of consumer, behavior there is a problem of ordering differences in relations between people.

Absolutely in any society, there is a class division, structure. It may look different, but the essence is the same. Social classes are groups of society characterized by their stability and order, whose members occupy an approximately equal position in society. They have similar interests and behaviors. Consumer behavior is highly dependent on the social class to which the consumer belongs. This is the choice of the place of shopping, the choice of the brand, the process of buying. Social classes have a direct impact on the awareness of the need, on how the individual will evaluate it and try to satisfy it. Man is a member of a large number of social groups (family, school, work place). Its position in each of them can be characterized in terms of role and status. A role is a set of actions expected of an individual by people around him. Each role corresponds to a status that reflects the assessment given to the role of society. People often make choice to buy goods, which will prove their status in society. Market players are aware that goods turning into status symbols (De Mooij, M. , 2004)

The influence of the family

The family is the primary informal group. This is a basic social institution, the main purpose of which is the socialization of the individual in society. It has a direct impact on the formation of a person’s views, beliefs, and preferences. The family also influences consumer behavior. From an early age, a person, being under the influence of their parents tryes to copy their behavior in different situations, including in the process of buying goods. Even after growing up and not interacting closely with parents, their impact on consumer behavior can still be quite big. In countries where living with parents up to 30-35 years is considered norm like Italy or Spain, this situation is even more significant. The family is the most important unit in society involved in the process of consuming. It is subjected to constant study, trying to catch all the important points that affect the decision to purchase in such institution as family. Producers, marketers, economists are interested in how the process of consumption of goods takes place in the family. They are also interested in the roles of spouses, children and the impact that each of them has on the purchase and on variety of purchases. Culture has a major influence on human needs and behavior. Human behavior in society, as consumer behavior for the most part depends on the environment of education and upbringing. Being in this environment, the child perceives the values, behaviors, stereotypes that are common for the environment. Culture influences the self-awareness of a person, helping him understand what behavioral norms are perceived by society as acceptable. Also, to learn which will be completely rejected if they appear in a particular cultural environment

Cultural factor

Culture compromise the set of beliefs, moral values, traditions, language, and laws (or rules of behavior) held in common by a nation, a community, or other defined group of people.

These characteristics can be used to determine the culture, the differentiation of cultures and the establishment of cultural similarities. Marketing specialists use cultural characteristics for segmenting market in a global perspective or when developing advertising and strategies for selling products in different markets. .( Lındrıdge, A., Dibb, S. , 2003).

Culture (subculture) and its elements influencing consumer behavior

According to Oxford dictionary Subculture is a cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture.

Features characterizes culture of consumption as an external factor of influence on consumer behavior:

  • Consumption of goods is largely conditioned by learning and affects the satisfaction of the biological manifestations of individuals through the establishment of norms of behavior.
  • Culture sets the framework of behavior in which most people think and act without going into a detailed description of what is happening.
  • The Influence of culture is often not realized. A person behaves, thinks and feels in a manner consistent with others, because it seems natural and right to others.
  • The evolution of consumption happens together with the change of society, so it is necessary to identify and use the existing and projected opportunities

For production and sales, the culture of consumption becomes an identification mark of social status, speaking to others in a special language, to whom someone belongs or wants to be like. It can be assumed that the most important quality that unites people in the culture of consumption is the ability to learn and adapt. The range of practices is wide. If you were an Orthodox Muslim, you would cover your whole body and even your face under your clothes, otherwise you would consider it indecent. If you were a woman from one of the tribes in the Philippines, you would go naked all day and think it would be indecent to be dressed.

Each culture has its own ideas about the generally accepted behavior in the form of 'norms', as a kind of negative force that forces us to blindly follow traditions. Norms limit and control people so imperceptibly that it is difficult to realize their existence. People are so immersed in their own culture that they need to part with it in order to realize the very fact of its existence.

People are fully aware of the norms of their culture. As a tradition, when they find themselves in a different environment, where they act differently than they do in specific situations of behavior. In order not to stand out, they try to observe the behavior of others and adjust their own behavior to it, whereas in usual situations people act automatically.

The influence of culture can be traced in the difference of social norms and values, affects the roles played by people. .( Lındrıdge, A., Dibb, S. , 2003).

Culture has a strong influence on purchasing decisions. It affects both the choice of the individual consumer and the structure of consumption in society as a whole. Culture influences the stages of awareness of needs, search and evaluation of options only, because the decision-making process is purely individual. Marketing professionals can try to influence consumer decisions through advertising and retail strategies, but some cultural factors they cannot overcome.

Culture also influences the process of consumers search for information. In some cultures, for example, in post-Soviet countries, verbal feedback and advice from family members is more valuable than advertising. In other cultures, like Western countries, consumers are likely to seek unbiased advice from third parties on the social media. When evaluating options, a consumer values certain attributes of a product more than others do. This often depends on the culture to which the consumer belongs.

Culture also influences how consumers use or consume goods. When buying a product, the consumer thinks about its functions, form and content. The consumer expects that the purchased product will perform a certain function. However, in different cultures, consumers have different expectations. (Choi, I., R. E. Nisbett, E. E. Smith, 1997)

The definition of belonging to a particular subculture is the process of identifying oneself and others through ethnic labels. People make up a separate ethnic group or market segment, depending on how common to the members of the ethnic group are the features of worldview and worldview, different from the views of other ethnic groups. The choice of goods purchased by members of ethnic groups is more influenced by their purchasing power


According to Oxford dictionary, Globalization is the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale.

Globalization is a universal and multilateral process of cultural and economic integration of Western culture, national and ethnic unity, and characteristic of modern civilization. Countries and peoples around the world exist in an environment of growing mutual influence. Today, no country or community is perceived as closed and self-sufficient. The development of civilization raised the question of the inevitability of global relations, their deepening, strengthening and erasing of borders between countries and peoples.

The fact is that representatives of original cultures, consciously or not, feel that economic, political, legal and technological unity. It will be followed by side effects that cause changes in their traditions, culture and way of life. One of the essential needs of man is his own belonging to something. Among forms of identity, cultural identity is essential. It largely determines the human mentality, psychology and behavior.

One of the reasons for the destruction of national culture is the rapid spread of 'mass culture', or globalization. It acts as a universal cultural standard for all. Currently, mass culture is becoming a kind of mechanism to promote Americanization in all spheres of society. The culture of consumption devalues national characteristics and creates a universal and accessible unit, which is recognized by the culture of globalization. During this period, the ideological values and traditions of the West, focused not on the spiritual content of the individual, but on its interests and needs, are spread. Western culture is presented as the world's most developed because of active advertising of Western values, lifestyle and morality, based on the principles of individualism. In addition, thanks to the countries of the West, the era of consumption is actively spreading, in which young people are not able to appreciate, preserve and increase the already accumulated experience, they can only spend and use material benefits. (Beck, U., 2000)

Coca-Cola has long been a common name in many languages. Millions of people around the world associate the word Coca-Cola with a refreshing drink, the taste of which is familiar to them since childhood. The history of Coca-Cola has more than 120 years. Its far-sighted actions and innovative solutions that have brought the drink worldwide fame.

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest producer of non-alcoholic products, which offers consumers 450 brands of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages. Along with the Coca-Cola brand, which is recognized as the most expensive in the world, the company's portfolio includes 12 other brands. E.g. Fanta, Coca-Cola Zero, Vitaminwater, Sprite, Powerade, Diet Coke, Minute Maid and Georgia Coffee. Worldwide, Coca-Cola is the No. 1 supplier of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, juices, drinking water. To the largest distribution system in the world, consumers in more than 200 countries buy Coca-Cola drinks. Every day more than 1.5 billion portions of the company's drinks are sold in the world.

Coca-Cola employees support their particular corporate culture and values. The company's values serve as a guide to action and describe how it behaves in the world:

  • To act responsibly and to perform its obligations;
  • achieve excellence in everything the company does;
  • act as one team and win the competition;
  • train employees and develop their potential;

Cultural characteristics on the example of Coca-Cola

Faced with local culture, brands use a product localization strategy that takes into account not only regional culture , but also social, as well as gastronomic features. Traveling around the world you can find on the shelves of many familiar brands, but with an unusual taste. Well-known brands adapt their product to the preferences of people in different countries.

In those markets where tradition, culture and geography play an important role, there are special technical standards for the Corporation's products. Their goal is to increase the profitability, and in some cases, the attractiveness of the parent brand. Therefore, along with the use of global brands, corporations still retain local brands, established strong ties with customers. For example, after the purchase by Coca-Cola of the Indian brand thumb'up (brand number 1 among soft drinks in India), it was decided to keep the brand name thumb'up, mentioning only that now it belongs to Coca-Cola. Buying in Ukraine water 'fruktaym' consumers may not realize that the brand belongs to Coca-Cola.

When forming an international brand strategy, it is very important to decide which similar, similar properties of different countries can contribute to the globalization of the brand, and which differences can prevent this. The big mistake is the illusion that success in one's own country will be repeated in another. The Coca-Cola company makes a universal attractive offer for all people in the world - to freshen up and feel better, but at the same time both the offered goods, and packing the company develops under the specific region. In accordance with the preferences and culture of the inhabitants of the country, a formula for drinks is being developed. In neighboring Mexico, it is no longer the same - there is used cane sugar, not corn syrup. Many Mexicans living in the United States, believe that this recipe is 'correct' and boxes carry 'real' Cola from Mexico the Impact of American values on the example of Coca-Cola.

The strategy of minimum use of elements of culture-recipient (local culture) can be implemented in several ways, which depends on the objectives of the advertising campaign. If the main objective of the entire advertising campaign is to promote the values of any one culture, as well as the way of life of its representatives. the creators of the original advertising use powerful symbols of donor culture (in this case, American culture). These symbols remain unchanged during adaptation, as their change would lead to the failure of the entire advertising campaign. However, the lack of cultural elements, the recipient has significantly affected the perception and understanding of the advertising, so the elements of a culture of the recipient used to transmit the least important information to ensure understanding and preferred interpretation of adapted advertising. An example in this case is the advertising campaign of Coca-Cola products, which is based on the promotion of American culture and the American way of life, an integral part of which is the consumption of this product.

The impact of the company and its product on the global community is almost indeterminate. However, it is safe to say that the products with the brand Coca-Cola embodies the spirit and essence of American culture to the extent that it does not make any other product of American production. The company's products overcome language, cultural, racial, sexual and age barriers. The most important, however, is the fact that Coca-Cola advertising reflects and imposes on other cultures exclusively American values and promotes the American way of life, despite the fact that the manufacturing company itself has long been multinational.

The advertisements themselves remain unchanged regardless of the cultural community in which they are used. Brand Coca-Cola is so clearly identified. it is impossible to confuse it with any other. Elements of local culture never divert attention from the advertised product. they are either not used at all, or enhance the value of the message through an implicit comparison of the culture of the recipient with American culture. This comparison never works in favor of the culture of the recipient, as the elements of this culture are used to represent secondary information. the most important information is presented with the help of elements of American culture.

The Coca-Cola company sells a way of life, a way of seeing the world, to which people can join, using the advertised products. The main approach in this case is the introduction of the advertised product into the community with the aim of its further transformation in accordance with the values of American culture, the benefits of which are not even questioned. This can be achieved by making an element of American culture, the advertised drink, an integral part of the daily life of the recipient of the message. The result is a blending of American culture with the culture of the advertising community, with the continued dominance of American culture. .( Hofstede, G., 2001.)


Including all the above , it becomes clear that consumer behavior is influenced by culture significantly . Since the culture most influences consumer behavior , marketers, carrying out the promotion of goods to the consumer market, must know the cultural norms and preferences of consumers of the target group, audience, as the cultural environment in which the consumer lives, generates goods with a certain symbolic meaning. The transfer of the symbolism of the goods characteristic of a certain culture, in most cases, is carried out using the communication means of marketing through traditions, customs, norms.

Currently, in order to be competitive in the domestic market, an enterprise must offer a product that is competitive in the global market. When entering the foreign market, the company should evaluate the prospects of using the same marketing programs in different markets. If possible, the firm will receive significant savings from marketing standardization. Such a firm can work with the market using inter-market segmentation – identifying consumer groups that are not limited to traditional market or geographical boundaries. Thus, the Marketing activity of the company is focused on the similarity of representatives of different cultures. However, in any case, there will be differences in the markets of different cultures (primarily, of course, language). Cultural differences can affect consumers ' response to changes in the external environment, that is, affect the dynamics of market indicators.

To penetrate deeply into the foreign market, sometimes it is necessary to localize marketing based on different cultures. The effectiveness of localization can be based on the differences of such elements of culture as laws, customs, religion, values and others. Thus, the analysis of cultural, structural and ethnic similarities and differences of individual countries acquires an important role in modern marketing.

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