Where the objective of advertising is to provide information (basic product/service information, benefits to the consumer, where they are available) and to achieve memorability, then a single advertising message with only minor modifications, perhaps including translation, can be used to reach consumers in different countries. By following this strategy, the planning and development costs are reduced, and improved co-ordination and control of the campaign is possible. In addition, comparisons can easily be made of the effectiveness of the campaign across different regions.
While a degree of standardization is possible when information provision and memorability are the key objectives, the situation is different when the task is to persuade the consumer to purchase. As a result of differences in the culture, economic, legal and media scene and in the product - for example, usage, positioning, life cycle - dissimilarities must be taken into account, and the message adapted to each country.
However, even when persuasiveness is the objective, it may be that a standardized message can be used if there are similarities between target groups, or in product positioning, increased mobility of consumers, limited knowledge of regional markets, or a centralized approach by management to managing the business.
The environment within which the advertiser and the agency have to operate determines the criteria for the selection of an advertising agency. Previous experience of both the ad vertiser and the agency in dealing with standardization issues will influence the selection. Research has shown that the nature, for example of television advertising messages, was influenced by the advertising environment in terms of the types of products and services available, advertising expenditure per capita, government control of advertising, availability of commercial breaks during broadcasting and the availability of advertising personnel.
The creative strategy is the overarching policy or principle which determines the character of the advertising message. Most strategies can be divided into those which elicit either rational or emotive responses. Rational appeals contain information for the customer based on the customer's language, and because language and the perception of its meaning can vary, adaptation is necessary. On the other hand, emotional advertising is focused on moods and atmosphere, which can be shared to a greater degree across national boundaries.
Simon (1971) developed a list of ten creative strategies namely: information, argument, motivation with psychological appeals, repeated assertion, command, brand familiarization, symbolic association, imitation, obligation and habit-stating. Research based on these categories has found differences across countries in the application of similar creative strategies. In. addition, the shift from mass-market appeals to niche marketing tends to require more customized communication strategies.
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