Branding through cultural grounding: The keepin' it REAL curriculum



Publication Details

Hecht, M. L. & Lee, J. (2008). Branding through cultural grounding: The keepin' it REAL curriculum. In W. Evans & G. Hastings (Eds.), Public Health Branding: Applying Marketing for Social Change (pp. 161-179). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.


Health message design theory has long recognized the role of culture and the social marketing approach of branding seems particularly attuned to this viewpoint. This approach recognizes the need to build strong brands in the globalized market. However, brands are not easily transportable across cultures. For example, China's new open-door policy has created an attractive new market for western companies. Yet, many western organizations rushed into China without considering cultural differences between the Chinese and domestic markets. As a result, many failed to build successful brands in the emerging Chinese market because they adopted marketing strategies that had proven successful in the western market and applied them to the Chinese market. Many companies now realize these approaches were problematic and are blending their brands with regional and cultural concerns.

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