Karma culture market

Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East Summary & Study Guide

(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)

Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East Summary & Study Guide Description

Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East by Gita Mehta.

This book is an exploration of and commentary on the decades-long history of the West's search for spiritual enlightenment in the teachings of Eastern religions and philosophies. As she comments on the relationship between faith and commerce in this particular set of circumstances, the author considers the tendency towards, and growth of, exploitation on both sides, particularly as manifest in the expanding practice of using spirituality as a commodity.

The author introduces her analysis of the East/West spiritual relationship with commentary on a pair of myths that, she contends, explain the circumstances from which the mutual exploitation in that relationship emerged. She then, throughout the book, explores various facets, motivations, manifestations and repercussions of that exploitation.

Prominent among the specific aspects of eastern spirituality that the author considers is the idea of karma - specifically, the belief that many aspects of an individual's current life carry with them echoes of past lives and/or the foundations of aspects of future lives. The subject of karma is discussed with particular focus in Sections One and Two. In Section Three, the author introduces another of her central contentions, one related to her initial commentary on karma. This is the idea that the true nature and implications of eastern philosophy and teachings are often too profoundly different from their "home" philosophies for western seekers to handle. This thesis is reiterated and supported, on several occasions throughout the book, by anecdotal reportage of individuals who, as the result of contemplating eastern spirituality too closely or too intently, have either lost their grip on reality or gone into forms of denial.

Sections Four through Seven discuss ways in which individuals on both sides of the spiritual equation under consideration, both seekers and teachers, see what they want to see and act in response to those perceptions. Here the author begins her consideration of the exploitation that takes place on both sides of the equation, illustrating how both seekers and teachers are willing to exploit, and be exploited, in order to get what they believe they want. Many teachers, she contends, want money. Many seekers, she further contends, want any kind of spiritual enlightenment they can get. The brief Section Eight, meanwhile, takes a mostly anecdotal look at ways in which the spiritual gap between west and east can be bridged through other, non-exploitative means. Section Nine, however, contrasts the hope implied in Section Eight with a vivid, multi-leveled portrayal on how India's long history of exploitation by a number of different western natures has created what amounts to a culture of exploitation, grounded across the (decades? centuries?) in the illegal drug trade.

Section Ten examines the role and function of sexuality in both eastern spirituality and in triggering desire for explorations of/connection with that spirituality in the west. Section Eleven deepens that consideration with an examination of the sexual/sensual appeal of those on the darker, more corrupt, and ultimately more destructive side of the equation. In Section Twelve, the author reiterates her contention that the true nature of eastern philosophy and practice is ultimately too harsh for western seekers not only to understand and accept, but to want to understand and accept. Finally, in the brief Section Thirteen, the author holds out hope for future evolution of the east/west spiritual relationship, tempering it with the implication that both cultures have responsibility for creating the damage to that relationship, and both sides have a considerable way to go before a genuine, un-exploitative communion within that relationship can, and will, be realized.


International Marketing and Culture

What is the influence of culture on international marketing?

Culture is the way that we do things around here. Culture could relate to a country (national culture), a distinct section of the community (sub-culture), or an organization (corporate culture). It is widely accepted that you are not born with a culture, and that it is learned. So, culture includes all that we have learned in relation to values and norms, customs and traditions, beliefs and religions, rituals and artefacts (i.e. tangible symbols of a culture, such as the Sydney Opera House or the Great Wall of China).

Values and attitudes vary between nations, and even vary within nations. So if you are planning to take a product or service overseas make sure that you have a good grasp the locality before you enter the market. This could mean altering promotional material or subtle branding messages. There may also be an issue when managing local employees. For example, in France workers tend to take vacations for the whole of August, whilst in the United States employees may only take a couple of week’s vacation in an entire year.

  • In 2004, China banned a Nike television commercial showing U.S. basketball star LeBron James in a battle with animated cartoon kung fu masters and two dragons, because it was argued that the ad insults Chinese national dignity.
  • In 2006, Tourism Australian launched its ad campaign entitled "So where the bloody hell are you?" in Britain. The $130 million (US) campaign was banned by the British Advertising Standards Authority from the United Kingdom. The campaign featured all the standard icons of Australia such as beaches, deserts, and coral reefs, as well as traditional symbols like the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The commentary ran:

"We’ve poured you a beer and we’ve had the camels shampooed, we’ve saved you a spot on the beach. We’ve even got the sharks out of the pool,".

Then, from a bikini-clad blonde, come the tag line:

The level and nature of education in each international market will vary. This may impact the type of message or even the medium that you employ. For example, in countries with low literacy levels, advertisers would avoid communications which depended upon written copy, and would favour radio advertising with an audio message or visual media such as billboards. The labelling of products may also be an issue.

  • In the People’s Republic of China a nationwide system of public education is in place, which includes primary schools, middle schools (lower and upper), and universities. Nine years of education is compulsory for all Chinese students.
  • In Finland school attendance is compulsory between the ages of 7 and 16, the first nine years of education (primary and secondary school) are compulsory, and the pupils go to their local school. The education after primary school is divided to the vocational and academic systems, according to the old German model.
  • In Uganda schooling includes 7 years of primary education, 6 years of secondary education (divided into 4 years of lower secondary and 2 years of upper secondary school), and 3 to 5 years of post-secondary education.

This aspect of Terpstra and Sarathy’s Cultural Framework relates to how a national society is organized. For example, what is the role of women in a society? How is the country governed – centralized or devolved? The level influence of class or casts upon a society needs to be considered. For example, India has an established caste system – and many Western countries still have an embedded class system. So social mobility could be restricted where caste and class systems are in place. Whether or not there are strong trade unions will impact upon management decisions if you employ local workers.

Technology and Material Culture

Technology is a term that includes many other elements. It includes questions such as is there energy to power our products? Is there a transport infrastructure to distribute our goods to consumers? Does the local port have large enough cranes to offload containers from ships? How quickly does innovation diffuse? Also of key importance, do consumers actually buy material goods i.e. are they materialistic?

  • Trevor Baylis launched the clockwork radio upon the African market. Since batteries were expensive in Africa and power supplies in rural areas are non-existent. The clockwork radio innovation was a huge success.
  • China’s car market grew 25% in 2006 and it has overtaken Japan to be the second-largest car market in the world with sales of 8 million vehicles. With just six car owners per 100 people (6%), compared with 90% car ownership in the US and 80% in the UK, the potential for growth in the Chinese market is immense.

As with many aspects of Terpstra and Sarathy’s Cultural Framework, the underpinning social culture will drive the political and legal landscape. The political ideology on which the society is based will impact upon your decision to market there. For example, the United Kingdom has a largely market-driven, democratic society with laws based upon precedent and legislation, whilst Iran has a political and legal system based upon the teachings and principles Islam and a Sharia tradition.

Aesthetics relate to your senses, and the appreciation of the artistic nature of something, including its smell, taste or ambience. For example, is something beautiful? Does it have a fashionable design? Was an advert delivered in good taste? Do you find the color, music or architecture relating to an experience pleasing? Is everything relating to branding aesthetically pleasing?

Terpstra, v. and Sarathy, R. (2000) International Marketing, 8th Edition, Dryden Press.

Hall, E.T. and Hall, M.R. (1986) Hidden Differences: doing business with the Japanese, Anchor Press.

Therefore international marketing needs to take into account the local culture of the country in which you wish to market.

The Terpstra and Sarathy Cultural Framework helps marketing managers to assess the cultural nature of an international market. It is very straight-forward, and uses eight categories in its analysis. The Eight categories are Language, Religion, Values and Attitudes, Education, Social Organizations, Technology and Material Culture, Law and Politics and Aesthetics.

With language one should consider whether or not the national culture is predominantly a high context culture or a low context culture (Hall and Hall 1986). The concept relates to the balance between the verbal and the non-verbal communication.

Karma culture market

In a low context culture spoken language carries the emphasis of the communication i.e. what is said is what is meant. Examples include Australia and the Netherlands.

In a high context culture verbal communications tend not to carry a direct message i.e. what is said may not be what is meant. So with a high context culture hidden cultural meaning needs to be considered, as does body language. Examples of a high context cultures include Japan and some Arabic nations.

The nature and complexity of the different religions an international marketer could encounter is pretty diverse. The organization needs to make sure that their products and services are not offensive, unlawful or distasteful to the local nation. This includes marketing promotion and branding.

  • In China in 2007 (which was the year of the pig) all advertising which included pictures of pigs was banned. This was to maintain harmony with the country’s Muslim population of around 2%. The ban included pictures of sausages that contained pork, and even advertising that included an animated (cartoon) pig.
  • In 2005 France’s Catholic Church won a court injunction to ban a clothing advertisement (by clothing designers Marithe and Francois Girbaud) based upon Leonardo da Vinci’s Christ’s Last Supper.

Marketing Teacher designs and delivers online marketing courses, training and resources for marketing learners, teachers and professionals. View all posts by Tim Friesner


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