The objective of the paper was to use a descriptive study to try to explain the possible similarities and differences between the culture and standards of practice in the field of marketing and advertising in the following two countries: the United Kingdom and China. In line with this, the study also aims to gather necessary information about the perception of the consumers from different cultures on the way how products and services, among other things that can be advertised, are actually advertised in their respective country; perception of the users on the content and style of advertisements in the respective country; and lastly, the perceptions of the consumers on the use of language in the advertisements in the United Kingdom, as compared to China. In this paper, the researchers studied a total of 20 respondents and their responses to the questionnaire in an effort to determine their perceptions on TV advertising. At the end of the paper, it has been found out that most consumers in the United Kingdom would prefer to watch and be more convinced by TV commercials that are made in a creative way (i.e. those that are filled with a significant volume of motion pictures, acting, and other radical ways of advertising).
Comparing UK and China Advertising: Data Analysis
An advertisement often comes in the form of a paid announcement to announce the availability and most often, the benefits and or advantages of a particular good or service either in newspapers, magazines, and other print materials that are in circulation; radio stations and commercials in televisions. Within the business setting, advertising can be classified as a form of marketing communication that businesses can use to explain, persuade, encourage, and manipulate an audience which, depending on the medium that will be used to launch the advertising campaign can be classified as readers, listeners, and or viewers, to take an action or in the case of recurring services, continue taking a specific action.
Suppose a hypothetical company which we will name Company A has recently launched a new product that it thinks should be bought by a lot of people. One of the best things that it can do to boost its sales especially when we factor in the fact that after careful analysis and pilot studies, its products would sooner or later have high demand is to launch an advertising campaign. The primary goal of the advertising campaign should be to drive consumer behavior for the benefit of the company, in accordance to the state laws and regulations that cover the field of advertising. Within the context of investment-related businesses, the purpose of advertising may be to serve as a reassurance to a certain company’s employees and or holders of its shares that the company is still continuously launching new products and services in order to secure a higher level of growth in the succeeding years, maintain its current level of growth over a period, or prevent net losses in the company’s income at the very least.
For this paper, we are going to use a customized questionnaire that has been made for the purpose of gathering information from the respondents that the researchers can use to provide a logical answer to the research question and successfully complete the research goals and objectives. The research questionnaire will be composed of 13 multiple choice questions.
The 13 multiple choice questions is a combination of open and closed ended questions. Additionally, all of the 13 multiple choice questions are aimed at extracting information about the consumers’ perceptions on the mainstream advertising contents, use of languages and other media, and on advertising strategies in their respective country in general.
For the data analysis portion of this paper we will analyze the responses of two populations. The first population will most likely be composed of the finalized list of people who will be the respondents from the United Kingdom. The second population will most likely be composed of those who are in the finalized list of people who will be the respondents from China. After all, the goal of this study is to compare the consumer’s perceptions on television advertising, in general, in the United Kingdom in comparison to China, and then vice versa.
In the methodology part of the paper, the target sample size was 20. This means that the total number of respondents that will be recruited for this study is 20 (therefore, n = 20). And since we are trying to compare the consumers’ perception on advertising, in general in the United Kingdom from that in China, and then vice versa, the researchers had to split the total sample population size into two. This means that for this study, there will be respondents who will be recruited from China and there will also be respondents who will be recruited from the United Kingdom. For China, the target sample population size will be 10.
For the United Kingdom, the number will be the same; it will also have a target sample population size of 10. Add the two and we will get two, hence, n will still be equals to 20. A convenience but randomized sampling method was used in order to save the researchers a significant amount of time in looking for respondents. Basically, the only requirement that they set was for the respondents to be a resident of their respective country for at least three straight years because being a resident of a particular country for this length of time would indicate that at some point, the subject person has been able to watch advertisements being aired in the radio, television, and newspaper, among other forms of media outlets that can be used as a channel for advertising.
The first question in the questionnaire was this: what kind of advice are you likely to take when you plan to buy something? The aim of asking this question was to know the exact factor or variable that affects consumer behavior in a particular country. The authors of the questionnaire indicated three possible choices: friends, experts, and self. The table below shows the results of the survey for both the China and United Kingdom respondent groups.
It can be seen that more than 50% of the respondent group population in China relied on the opinions and advices of experts whenever they buy a certain product. This may apply to both people who are knowledgeable about the product and also those who are not so knowledgeable; a significant portion of the population also showed possible reliance on the opinions of friends when making buying decisions; and only one out of the total number of ten respondents said that they are using their own knowledge whenever they buy a product.
What this suggests are that majority of the consumers in the Chinese market can be easily persuaded to take a consumer-based or basically a buying decision because based on the survey questionnaire; all it takes is an expert or a friendly opinion to make them take a buying action. As mentioned earlier, one of the fundamental goals of advertising is to encourage and or persuade people to take an action, often to buy or subscribe to something and in this case, in the Chinese market, most people would become easily persuaded to buy and or subscribe to something after hearing the opinions and advices of their friends and experts in the field.
The only one respondent who answered that he often uses his own knowledge whenever he picks and buys a certain product or subscribes to a certain service suggests that he is not easily persuaded or affected by the opinion of others when making consumer decisions. These people are those who conduct a thorough research about the product, take the time to do so, before making any reckless decision to buy or subscribe to something.
In the case of the consumer people that have been investigated, only one person seemed to be one that is not easily swayed the buying pressure from other consumers and experts in the field; all the others were easily swayed by the advices of their friends and experts, which can be dangerous considering the amount and level of manipulation that can already be done in the internet and other medium of communication, just for the sake of selling a product or service. In the case of those who have been interviewed in the United Kingdom, the frequency of answers in the three choices were somewhat balanced, especially for the first two choices (those who are swayed by the advices and opinions of their friends and the experts); the last choice, the one that characterizes a person who thoroughly researches for the products and services first before buying and or subscribing, got a hit of four out of the maximum number of ten.
This may indicate that compared to people in the Chinese markets, consumers in the United Kingdom would tend to be more wary of the things that they buy and subscribe to, at least based on what the table below which is basically the summary of what the respondents from the two countries’ answers, tell the researchers. However, that is not to say that people in the United Kingdom are all bound to conduct their own research before making any decision to buy a product or subscribe to a service because at least 60% of the respondents said that they buy products and subscribe to services based on the advices and opinions of their friends (30%) and of the experts with regards to the subject product or service (30%).
This finding in the first question, in fact, supports the principle which was discussed in the literature review section that suggests that advertising in the United Kingdom is more centered on personal value while that in the Chinese market are more centered on the value for the masses. Now, this, in turn may be due to the fact the advertising industry in the United Kingdom is way more advanced compared to that in China.
As mentioned in the literature review section of this paper, the United Kingdom’s advertisement industry is ahead of China’s by at least a hundred years or even several hundreds of years, all in terms of advertising strategies, the things that the consumers value, and the contents of the advertisements, among other factors that can be used to compare the two countries in terms of advertising.
Another highly relevant part of the questionnaire was the second question. By analyzing the respondents’ response to the second question which asked what the consumers care most about the products that they buy and or the services that they subscribe to, the researchers can determine whether a particular market, or in this case, the United Kingdom and the Chinese consumer markets, can be an easy target for companies that highly rely on advertising companies and various strategies for driving up their products’ sales volume or their services’ subscription volume.
Naturally, those who value or care more about the reputation of the product’s brand, and the appearance of the product or how the public perceives the product, would be more prone to the different consumer decision manipulation practices (using advertising) performed by advertising companies and even those who manufacture the products themselves. Those who care more about the function and the actual quality of the products they buy and the real intrinsic value of the services that they subscribe to, on the other hand, are less prone to the consumer decision manipulation practices performed by advertising companies, often in partnership with the companies that offer such products ands or services.
This is, in fact, what the second question tries to unravel, provide that the person analyzing the data knows what he is analyzing. In summary, there were three choices to the question: the function and quality; the reputation of the brand; and lastly, the appearance of the product. Below is a table that summarizes the respondents’ answers to the second question in the survey tool that has been used to gather primary information for this research.
For question number two, we can see that the respondents from China appear to be more utilitarian when it comes to buying products as supported by the finding that 70% of the total population of that group said that they care more about the function and quality of the product whenever they go to the stores. The group of respondents from the United Kingdom, on the other hand, appears to be considerably less utilitarian as evidenced by the only 20% of the population who said that they care about the function and quality of the product whenever they make buying decisions.
This is, in fact, in contrast to what we can find from what the group of respondents from the Chinese market said. It appears that consumers in the United Kingdom care more about the reputation of the brand and the appearance of the products and or services that they avail than the actual intrinsic value, quality, and functionality of such. The opposite of this is what is true for the Chinese consumer population, at least based on what our findings from the data gathering part of this paper would tell us.
In summary, Chinese consumers consider the functionality and the quality of the products and services that they avail more than the appearance and the brand; which means that in this aspect, they are not likely to care about the contents or the quality of the advertisement because they know that what these advertisements do is to increase the brand value of the products and services being advertised, and also to promote a positive consumer perception, without any actual increase or positive change in the functionality and quality of the products. This is one of the reasons why when the prices of commodities that are made in China and some of the developed western countries, a great price disparity can be seen (prices of products in China that offers the same value, quality, and functionality compared to their counterparts in the United Kingdom, are considerably lower).
Within the context of the consumer industry in the United Kingdom, one reason why prices of products and services in the United Kingdom are higher compared to their counterparts in China is the fact that the manufacturers and advertising agencies know that the consumers’ buying decisions can be easily swayed by high levels of brand and product appearance and consumer perception—things that can be greatly improved through effective and efficient advertising, of course, using highly effective advertising tools and strategies.
Another highly significant question asked in the questionnaire was question number five as it directly asks the respondents about their preferences when it comes to advertising. There were only two choices for this question: those with more pictures, and those with more advertising commentary. Based on the choice of words used, it can be said that the first choice indicate the more creative type of advertisements while the second choice indicate a more straight forward type of advertising.
Our review of related literature suggests that most consumers in the United Kingdom’s market segments prefer advertising programs that are more creative and not too straightforward; while most consumers in China’s market segments prefer those that are not too creative but are more straightforward. The table below shows the summary of the findings for question number five based on the two consumer respondent groups’ responses.
The table of information above suggests the following: that at least 80% (8 of 10) of the respondents reviewed in the Chinese market prefer to view advertisements that are filled with commentaries and are more straightforward when it comes to the presentation of the product or service being offered; that at least 90% (9 of 10) of the respondents reviewed in the United Kingdom’s market segment prefer to view advertisements that are less straightforward but are more creative (e.g. there are more pictures, animations, and other rather radical ways of presenting a product or a service).
Watching a TV commercial in the UK would surely give the readers an idea of the current trend in the advertising industry there. The same, in fact, goes for China. What the information in this table shows is that our primary data and findings support the findings that we have obtained from our literature review that suggests that most Chinese consumers and advertisement viewers prefer to watch and get more convinced whenever they watch TV commercials that are filled with a significant volume of commentaries—which details how the straightforward approach in advertising is done; and that most consumers in the United Kingdom would prefer to watch and be more convinced by TV commercials that are made in a creative way (i.e. those that are filled with a significant volume of motion pictures, acting, and other radical ways of advertising).
The same principle can actually be used to explain the rationale for asking questions number seven, eight, and nine. In summary, they all point to and try to analyze the same thing—whether Chinese consumers prefer advertisements that are either humorous or serious (question seven); practical or innovative (question eight); and direct or implied (question nine).
Analyzing these three practically similar questions have, in fact, led us to the same finding in question number five—that most consumers in the United Kingdom would prefer to watch and be more convinced by TV commercials that are made in a creative way (i.e. those that are filled with a significant volume of motion pictures, acting, and other radical ways of advertising). So far, majority, if not all, of the findings and interpretations made from the data analysis support the information obtained from the review of related literature regarding the perception of consumers from different cultures on TV advertisements; on content and on style, among others.
For this part of the data analysis, we will check if there is any difference between the advertising strategies being used in China and in the United Kingdom to advertise a certain product. The product that has been chosen for this part of this paper is Coca Cola, one of the most popular products of the Coca Cola Company. The discussion will focus on the television ads that the Coca Cola Company has launched in these two countries and on their existing differences, if there are any. It is worthwhile to note that this case analysis or study was written under the assumption that most consumers in the United Kingdom would prefer to watch and be more convinced by TV commercials that are made in a creative way (i.e. those that are filled with a significant volume of motion pictures, acting, and other radical ways of advertising).
The Coca Cola TV advertisement in China used the native language, which is Mandarin, in the TV advertisement. The content was rather simple. An announcer was introducing the main product via his commentaries. It is also worthwhile to note that the Coca Cola Company infused a lot of creative motion pictures and gigs in their product advertisement in China. This, of course, goes in contrast with our assumption that Chinese consumers prefer more straightforward advertisements over more creative ones. However, it can be theorized that the Coca Cola Company’s advertisement team in charge of China may not be very much aware of this or it can also be that they are just trying to make or induce some changes with regards to the advertising culture and trends in China. Overall, the Coca Cola TV advertisement in China still supports our assumptions about advertisement trends and practices in the country, except for the fact that there were more creative motion pictures and gigs used in the TV advertisement, more than the level we expected to be acceptable or perfect for Chinese TV ad viewers and consumers.
In the case of the Coca Cola TV ad that the Coca Cola Company launched in the United Kingdom, it can be said that it was considerably more creative and liberating than the one aired in the televisions in China. Now, this may be due to the idea that the Coca Cola Company knows what the consumers living in the country are looking for and the factors that can sway their buying decisions. In the case of the United Kingdom’s consumers, we found that they are more easily swayed by a product’s brand, appearance, and the people’s overall perception of the product (i.e. the more popular the product is, the more likely that the consumers will buy it).