This paper outlines a case study which demonstrates the practicalities and benefits of using high-grade qualitative research methodology in order to understand the fundamental attitudes, aspirations, and social influences impacting upon the Eastern European consumer, and how these affect knowledge of Branding and Advertising. In 1991/92, United Distillers required in-depth research to provide the basis for a strategy for expanding their portfolio of imported Spirits brands within Central and Eastern Europe. To respond to this need, some culturally specific qualitative "Essence" studies were undertaken in Hungary, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and ex-Yugoslavia. Qualitative data was obtained from consumers, informed opinion, and multi-disciplinary published sources. The case study identifies the following factors: Evidence of emerging consumer segmentations which are directly analogous to their Western counterparts - "New European" milieus who desire autonomy, achievement and self-expression. Knowledge of "branding" is growing, which reflects these markets current cultural stage of development. Brand choice is affected by a combination of conflicting sources of influence and socio-economic factors. Evidence for consumer sophistication in "decoding" Western advertising, drawing upon shared understanding of symbolism and values. Commonalities and differences in cross-cultural comparisons. The paper concludes with practical applications for marketing and research, and shows how Cultural Essence research assists direct company initiatives and activities in these markets.
Authors: Rupert K. Tower, Peter Cooper
September 1, 1999
- This could also be of interest