Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Words of wisdom

"The trouble with other cultures is that the people don't behave the way they're supposed to, that is, like us. The solution to this difficulty is to stop expecting them to."

Craig Storti, The Art of Crossing Cultures

Advertising across cultures

This would not work in Saudi Arabia, would it? (Vodka advert from Bulgaria)

SJP before arriving in Israel

and after....

McDonalds advert, India

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

My (painfully) cross-cultural PhD

It is only fair to open this blog with a brief description of my cross-cultural PhD. It has been dominating my life for the past four years, and has taken me across countries in both physical and intellectual sense. As it nears the end, I am looking forward to submitting it soon, and getting involved in more cross-cultural projects.

Let me describe where it all began and where it will all (hopefully) end (and it'd better be soon!).

It all started a relatively long time ago when I decided that I did not want to live in Poland anymore. I travelled around the world a bit, and at some point decided that the academia was a way to go. And to be more precise, cross-cultural academic research was a way to go.

Analysing advertisements and consumers' responses to a range of stimuli is challenging. Doing it across countries is even more so. Every cross-cultural researcher will tell you that. However, no-one told me, so here I am trying to make sense of all the data I have collected.

My research focuses on 1) comparing advertising messages from four countries: Poland, Hungary, England and Ireland; and 2) exploring consumers' attitudes towards a variety of different advertising messages.

However, not only the content of the PhD is cross-cultural. My supervisory team included a New Zealanader, a German and a Scot. Pretty diverse.

My initial research design included only two countries, it became four only after I consulted an expert in the field who advised me to study more countries. The process has been painful from the start. Ordering magazine subscriptions in four countries, asking my mother to buy TV listings each week, looking for English - Hungarian translators, finding someone who would spend an entire day content analysing the adverts, designing the questionnaire, looking for respondents, struggling with data analysis, loosing sleep over confirmatory factor analysis, throwing away half of my data, abandoning confirmatory factor analysis, finally t-testing the differences which then had to be done in ANOVAs, finally writing up. In between, I managed to make tonnes of great friends, have my heart broken, enjoy the cultural aspects of London life, travel to far away destination and take loads of pictures. But it's not over yet.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The world is flat. Period.

This week has been truly global. My first seminar even had this word in its name: Global Marketing. The make-up of the students was global too: British students dominated the group, followed by Poles, Slovaks, Czechs and Germans and supported by one poor Frenchman. English is the official language in the class and I forbade them to speak anything other than that.

I spent this evening with my French colleague (who is half Iranian and worked in Canada after completing her studies in the USA) sipping our soft drinks in an English pub. She says her home is in Paris. Mine is in Poland but my heart is on the other side of the pond. But my head is here. As a result I am in three different places almost simultaneously.

I need to go into Morrison's to buy some Polish bread, Basmati rice, and other 'exotic' ingredients. I will be cooking Thai curry tomorrow.

Thomas Friedman was right. The world is indeed becoming flat. At least to some extent.