number of laws to prohibit English words from being used in advertising, banning terms such as crossover and showroom. 27 Cultural values are principles shared by a society that assert positive ideals. These principles are often viewed on a continuum. Consider the value of limited versus extended family. In the United States, the obligation and commitment to family are often limited to an individual's immediate family, including his or her parents, children, and siblings. Most Latin American cultures, on the other hand, have a more wide-ranging definition of family that includes extended family members such as cousins and grandparents and is also more inclusive with extended family members living together. The last cultural factor is nonverbal communication . While a number of factors fall into this category (refer to Exhibit 4.6 for a more complete discussion), let's focus on two: time and personal space. The perception of time varies across cultures. Americans and Western Europeans place a high value on time and view it in discrete blocks of hours, days, and weeks. As a result, they focus on scheduling and getting as much done in a given period as possible. Latin Americans and Asians, on the other hand, view time as much more flexible and less discrete. They are not as concerned with the amount of work that gets done in a given time block. How does this affect marketing? Salespeople who have been trained in an American sales environment are often frustrated to find their Asian and Latin American customers less concerned about specific meeting times and more concerned about spending time building a personal relationship. EXHIBIT 4.6 Nonverbal Communication
d Page 108 Personal space is another example of nonverbal communication that varies across cultures. In the United States, for example, most business conversations occur between three and five feet, which is a greater distance than in Latin American cultures. Salespeople used to a three-to-five-foot distance can find it a little disconcerting when the space shrinks to 18 inches to three feet. Not understanding these differences can lead to confusion and embarrassment and even create a problem in the business relationship.28 Subculture As consumer behavior research has discovered more about the role of culture in consumer choices, it has become evident that beyond culture, people are influenced even more significantly by membership in various subcultures. A subculture is a group within the culture that shares similar cultural artifacts created by differences in ethnicity, religion, race, or geography. While part of the larger culture, subcultures are also different from each other. The United States is perhaps the best example of a country with a strong national culture that also has a number of distinct subcultures (see Exhibit 4.7).
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