Religions, Christmas, and International Marketing


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Historically, the religious tradition in the United States, based on Christianity and Judaism, has emphasized hard work, thrift, and a simple lifestyle. These religious values have certainly evolved over time; many of our modern marketing activities would not exist if these older values had persisted. Thrift, for instance, presumes that a person will save hard-earned wages and use these savings for purchases later on. Today, Americans take full advantage of the ample credit facilities that are available to them. The credit card is such a vital part of the American lifestyle that saving before buying seems archaic. Most Americans feel no guilt in driving a big SUV or generously heating a large house.

Christmas is one Christian tradition that remains an important event for many consumer goods industries in all Christian countries. Retailers have their largest sales around that time. However, Christmas is a good illustration of the substantial differences that still exist among even predominantly Christian societies. A large U.S.-based retailer of consumer electronics discovered these differences the hard way when it opened its first retail outlet in the Netherlands. The company planned the opening to coincide with the start of the Christmas selling season and bought advertising space accordingly for late November and December, as retailers do in the United States. The results proved less than satisfactory. Major gift giving in Holland takes place, not around December 25, Christmas Day, but on St. Nicholas Day, December 6. Therefore, the opening of the company’s retail operation was late and missed the major buying season.

From a marketing point of view, Christmas has increasingly become a global phenomenon. For many young Chinese, Christmas is not regarded as a religious holiday but simply represents “fun.” Fashionable bars charge up to $25 for entrance on Christmas Eve, and hotel restaurants charge $180 for a Christmas Eve function. The week around Christmas is the top grossing week for movie theaters in China, as young Chinese head out to theaters together instead of watching pirated DVDs at home. Santa Claus is increasing in popularity in the predominantly Sunni Muslim country of Turkey. In Istanbul shopping centers, children stand in line to sit on Santa’s lap and ask for gifts. Stores sell Santa suits and statues.

With billions of people celebrating Christmas and exchanging wishes of peace, perhaps we will see at least some of the inspired and faithful take personal steps which reduce the barbarities which humanity commits against itself in the many ongoing wars. Also, a time of remembrance of the difficult travels of Joseph and Mary, with Jesus soon to be born, might help us soften our stance against refugees and migrants in the world. Remember, we all – but for the mercy of God- could be the ones looking for succor and support.

Here is a holiday greeting from Prof. Czinkota and Prof. Skuba.

Merry Christmas!

Can We Really Delete The Past? A British Campaign Aims To Do Just That

What started as a simple idea over two years ago, has grown into a law that very well may be passed through the new Conservative leadership of Britain’s, Theresa May. The new Prime Minister of the UK has been insistent on passing “safeguards” that would allow children, once they turn 18 to delete any derogatory or incriminating former social media posts, photos, and even comments.

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Global Business: Exchange and Value

Here you are, visiting the ever beautiful London, when you come across a shop with the most beautiful pair of shoes in the window. You notice they’re designer, vintage even, and in the perfect condition, and look, the price says £150. That’s reasonable you say, until you get to the counter to pay for the shoes, only for your mom to point out that £150, is actually $200 in U.S. dollars. This is called an “exchange rate”.

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Foreword of My New Book “AS I SEE IT” By Claudia Fritsche

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Illustration by the cartoonist David Clark

H.E. Claudia Fritsche

Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary

Washington D.C.

When I met Prof. Michael Czinkota in 2003, it had been less than 2 years since I had the privilege to establish the Liechtenstein Embassy in Washington. He immediately was very generous in offering to share his knowledge and experience. Since the field of economics is not my expertise, I was immensely grateful for his support in not only raising the profile of the Embassy but also helping me become acquainted with the many nuances and layers of the U.S. economy and its global impact. Since Prof. Czinkota was born and raised in Germany and was partly educated in an Austrian school very close to Liechtenstein, he is familiar with my country, with its history, its economic system as well as the trans-Atlantic cultural differences, therefore able to understand how the U.S. economy is viewed even from the perspective of a small country. Professor Czinkota further broadened his engagement with my country by teaching at the University of Liechtenstein.

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Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Part 4: CSR Report

Porter and Kramer distinguish between shared value and corporate social responsibility by claiming that the latter mostly focuses on corporate reputation rather than on directly improving a company’s profitability and competitive posi­tion. This distinction can be misleading. Many companies have certainly used their CSR 血tiatives to build their reputations through marketing communica­tions, but that is not inimical to a strategic approach to CSR. Crucial is the CEO’s commitment to a holistic CSR program. If the CEO takes up the flag in leadership, the company is more likely to rally to the cause and integrate it deeply into the very fabric of the operation. Some deeply committed companies, like GE, reflect this approach by embedding CSR initiatives into their marketing programs as The International Marketplace 1.1 in the opening chapter illustrates.

How companies communicate their involvement and commitment to CSR is very important. Edelman advocates that companies should “practice radical transparency.” This can be done by communicating effectively with various stake­ holder groups, especially employees, about their CSR goals and their progress towards me叫ng them. Enabling employees to take that conversation further with others, individually and through the increasingly important social media channels, can be particularly convincing to other audiences.(See the Edelman report on trust in social media at http://trust.edelman.com/social-media-and -trust.)

The most common means of formal communication is through regular dedicated reports. Most large companies issue annual or periodic reports on their  CSR pactices. The reporting  procedure and the quality  of  the reports  are a good  lens to view the actual commitment of the company to responsibility programs. KPMGhas analyzed the CSR reporting practices of companies. In its ” International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2011,” KPMG reported that “while CSR reporting was once seen as fulfilling a moral obligation to society, many companies are now recognizing it as a business imperative. Today , companies are increasingly demonstrating that CSR reporting provides financial value and drives innovation, reflecting the old adage of what gets measured gets managed.”