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Cultural implications of developing brand relationships on social media
By our News Team | 2023
Study highlights new opportunities for businesses to tailor their social media marketing strategies to align with cultural characteristics.
The effect of different cultural characteristics can affect the relationships consumers using social media have with different brands. This is according to research published in the International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing.
Researchers from the American University of the Middle East in Kuwait, and Cape Breton University in Canada, examined the role social media plays in the differences in the relationships between consumers and brands.
Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile from Pexels
The team used Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory to help them understand social media data gathered from users in the European nations of Albania and Turkey through online surveys. They used statistical analysis to dig deep into the data and compare the characteristics of communication on social media between these two regions.
They found a positive correlation between social media communications and the strength of consumer-brand relationships. Indeed, the more a user is engaged in social media activity, the stronger is their relationship with a given brand.
Less pronounced in the culture with the stronger collectivist tendency
However, the findings are more nuanced than that. The researchers found that the effect was less pronounced in the culture with the stronger collectivist tendency. This, they suggest, challenges the conventional wisdom with regard to cultural influences on social media behaviour.
It is worth noting that other variables such as gender and age, perhaps paradoxically, had little impact on brand relationship quality. This suggests that these relationships transcend demographic boundaries, emphasising what we might consider their universality.
The findings offer new insights for marketing. In recognising cultural similarities and differences in how consumers respond to social media communications, the work highlights possible new opportunities for businesses to tailor their social media marketing strategies to align with particular cultural characteristics, preferences, and behaviour patterns – rather than applying general principles in a region where the impact may be intrinsically weaker.
This research points to a need for companies to craft more effective and culturally sensitive strategies to connect with consumers worldwide, depending on local culture.
Future work will, however, need to extend the findings from these two areas to a wider base to help support the hypothesis and allow more general conclusions to be drawn about brand relationships, and how social media across different cultures influences them.
You can find out more about the study, titled ‘Developing brand relationships through social media communication: a cross-cultural comparison’, here.
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