In a recent article on AdWeek, VP of strategy at 360i, Shankar Gupta-Harrison, explains the impact of social psychology in the advertising industry. These psychology trends in advertising will not only help shape brands but also help consumers respect brands.
We live in a world where people live and perceive things based on how they grew up and their culture that surrounded them throughout their lives. With these cultural differences it is only obvious that someone in China will take meaning from a sexualized Axe ad differently than someone in America. This cultural divide not only makes it difficult for advertisers, when it comes to showing ads globally, but also to consumers when it comes to understanding ads. Advertisers sometimes fail to understand these differences, which is where social psychology comes in play. Applying social psychologist, Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, these 4 elements can help advertising professionals become more culturally aware when it comes to implementing ads globally.
1. Individualism vs. Collectivism
This first element truly reflects on how cultures perceive achievement. For example, America is known to be a country where personal growth and achievement in life is highly respected, whereas Europe follows a more collectivistic culture where growing together is respected. This plays an important role in advertising because leaning a campaign towards a single person with high achievement in their career as opposed to a community coming together to build homes for the better of the community would be two different approaches that have different appreciation, depending on the culture of your audience.
2. Being vs. Doing Orientation
Considering that not all cultures focus on personal achievement, some just like to live in the moment. Knowing what type of lifestyle your audience is living can really help you form the right types of messages.
3. High Context vs. Low Context
For countries such as United States and Australia who have a low context culture, focusing on clarity, strong call-to-action and using lots of words in an ad will help reach this audience. High context cultures such as Japan and Turkey prefer more ambiguity. Including less words and taking a more playful angle will help grasp this audience’s attention more so than low context cultures.
4. Uncertainty Avoidance
There are people who always see the worst that could happen in a situation and those who look at the good that might come from it. With this way of thinking it’s not easy to send your message as glass half full or glass half empty because at the end of the day your audience makes that judgement. With those who need transparency and are paranoid, demonstrating the consequences in an ad might be helpful (i.e side effects, scientific proof, etc.). For those low uncertainty avoidance cultures, displaying benefits and other positive factors is key.
Since not everyone in the world follows their said culture, that doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid types of ads that would appeal to the opposing culture. America holds a diversified audience with a wide variety of cultures and preferences. These psychology trends in advertising are intended to help you with the overall understanding on how different cultures connect with ads. With such contrasts, it is important to know these differences in order to fully respect your audience as well as be respected. What better way to build that consumer relationship than by understanding the psychology of their culture?
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