What types of social norms or cultural differences do organizations need to consider when considering global expansion? Why is it important to consider these things?

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Different countries often have different social norms and various cultural differences. In order to appeal to a foreign market, it is important to know the cultural background of the new target group. To be successful, a company needs to give the client security and invite their trust. Adhering to a foreign country’s social customs, norms, and etiquette will help to appeal to their market and to the people of this country.

For example, it is quite common for Western countries to use nudity or sexualized content in advertising. It is not unusual to see a woman wearing a bikini for a fashion advert, for example. However, the same advertisement would cause outrage in a Muslim country, where this would be seen as extremely disrespectful and offensive. Therefore, this kind of advertisement would not be suitable for the Middle Eastern market at all.

Religious differences also need to be taken into account. For example, it would be very foolish of a company specializing in food products to advertise their goods during the fasting month of Ramadan in a Muslim country. Again, this would probably cause outrage and significantly reduce the company’s chances of success.

Lack of social and cultural awareness can make a company seem ignorant and possibly even arrogant. This will put potential customers off and will therefore result in reduced or even limited economic success.

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