Take each of the steps in the communications process and give an example of how culture differences can affect the final message received.
The information source may create a problem because the marketer does not truly understand the needs and wants of the target market. This is especially important if the marketer relies on the self-reference criterion and makes the naive assumption that “if it sells in one country it would sell in another.” An example would be bicycles designed and sold in the United States to consumers fulfilling recreational, exercise needs which cannot be successfully sold for the same reasons in a market where the primary use of the bicycle is transportation. The encoding step of the communications process can also cause problems because such factors as colors, values, beliefs, tastes and other symbols utilized by the international marketer do not correctly symbolize the message intended. For example, “Body by Fisher” which decoded meant “Corpse by Fisher” was not General Motors’ intended message. The message channel may create problems because of the difficulty of effectively reaching target markets in many countries. Problems, such as illiteracy, the availability and types of media, create problems at this level. Decoding problems are generally created by improper encoding. The decoding process is one in which the receiver interprets the message in terms of one’s own culture, thereby receiving an incorrect message. For example, Pepsi’s “Come Alive” was decoded by many as “Come Out Of The Grave.” Sometimes decoding can create problems even when the encoder purposely attempted to develop a message with no symbolism. An example was the toothpaste CUE which was decoded as a pornographic word. Finally, the feedback step can create problems in the sense that companies do not use feedback to effectively measure their communications efforts and attempt to correct any problems that may have been created by the other steps.