The Cross-Cultural Implications in Global Campaigns Running on Social Media

2018 edition

Emanuela Arzeo

My project aims to study the cultural values activated in multilingual promotional campaigns run on the Facebook social media platform. The research focuses on the analysis of the branding discourse in a corpus of texts from the Facebook Summer/Autumn 2017 campaigns of several brands of consumer products. The cultural contexts in contact are the UK, Spain, and Italy.

While the common goal of any marketing campaign, regardless of the language, is to eventually convince the consumers to buy the product, the strategies that brands choose to apply for an international distribution are likely to be affected by the cultures and consequently by the unique language systems of the intended markets (De Mooij, 2014). According to the consumer-psychology model, one way of designing a marketing strategy is by creating a vocabulary of values around the products in order to generate meaningful connections between the brand and the public (Schmitt, 2012). The promotional discourse continuously appeals to the general knowledge of the world that may be conceived as organised in frames (see, e.g. Goffman 1974, Van Dijk 1977:124). As we can expect, the latter are by no means universal but tend to vary according to the country, since they represent the expression of what is characteristic or typical in a certain culture.

Among the post types identified in our corpus, product-related posts (Shen and Bissell, 2013) are expected to preserve in their multilingual versions much of the vocabulary related to features (taste, elegance, etc.). As regards posts making associations between the brand and the external world (festivities, conventional situations, cultural habits and routines), we expect to find some degrees of adaptation (Adab and Valdés, 2004).  

We analyse the macrostructure of the posts, including the relationship between picture and text, as well as microtextual aspects, namely the cultural references, the lexicon of values and the tone and mood of sentences in order to describe how brand values are activated in each language version. Findings may reveal the existence of new tendencies in the standardisation and adaptation approaches to the translation of promotional communication on social media.