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Cultural Characteristics Manifested in Branding on U.S. and China Social Networking Sites Fan Pages

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041827/00001

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Title: Cultural Characteristics Manifested in Branding on U.S. and China Social Networking Sites Fan Pages
Physical Description: 1 online resource (70 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Yang, Liuyi
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: branding, cross, fan, internet, marketing, networking, page, sites, social
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Advertising thesis, M.Adv.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS MANIFESTED IN BRANDING ON U.S. AND CHINA SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES FAN PAGES This study applies Singh et al.?s (2003) framework, a combination of Hofstede?s (1980) four dimensions and Hall?s (1976) High/low context framework, to a new media: social networking sites fan pages. Five aspects of culture are examined in this paper: (1) collectivism/individualism; (2) uncertainty avoidance; (3) power distance; (4) masculinity; (5) high/ low context. The findings showed only partial support to Singh?s framework. China SNS fan pages did not present more collectivistic features than their U.S. counterparts. The two countries showed similar use of features of collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity. With respect to the high/low context framework, the findings showed that China SNS fan pages employed significantly more high context characteristics than did those in the U.S.; however, the occurrences of low context indicators were similar in two countries? SNS fan pages. Academic and industrial implications for cross-culture advertising researchers and marketers are provided.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Liuyi Yang.
Thesis: Thesis (M.Adv.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Weigold, Michael F.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041827:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041827/00001

Material Information

Title: Cultural Characteristics Manifested in Branding on U.S. and China Social Networking Sites Fan Pages
Physical Description: 1 online resource (70 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Yang, Liuyi
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: branding, cross, fan, internet, marketing, networking, page, sites, social
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Advertising thesis, M.Adv.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS MANIFESTED IN BRANDING ON U.S. AND CHINA SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES FAN PAGES This study applies Singh et al.?s (2003) framework, a combination of Hofstede?s (1980) four dimensions and Hall?s (1976) High/low context framework, to a new media: social networking sites fan pages. Five aspects of culture are examined in this paper: (1) collectivism/individualism; (2) uncertainty avoidance; (3) power distance; (4) masculinity; (5) high/ low context. The findings showed only partial support to Singh?s framework. China SNS fan pages did not present more collectivistic features than their U.S. counterparts. The two countries showed similar use of features of collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity. With respect to the high/low context framework, the findings showed that China SNS fan pages employed significantly more high context characteristics than did those in the U.S.; however, the occurrences of low context indicators were similar in two countries? SNS fan pages. Academic and industrial implications for cross-culture advertising researchers and marketers are provided.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Liuyi Yang.
Thesis: Thesis (M.Adv.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Weigold, Michael F.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041827:00001


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CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS MANIFESTED IN BRANDING ON
U.S. AND CHINA SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES FAN PAGES




















By

LIUYI YANG


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ADVERTISING

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2010

































2010 Liuyi Yang



























To my family, the source of my strength









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I express my sincere appreciation to Professor Weigold for his wise guidance and

supervision. Also I would like to thank Dr. Treise and Dr.Goodman in helping me

broaden my knowledge.

I give my deep gratitude to Jing Wen in helping me collecting information and co-

coding data.

Finally, an honorable mention goes to my family and friends for their supports on

me in completing this thesis.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C KNOW LEDG M ENTS ............... ....................... ................ ............... 4

L IS T O F T A B LE S ........................ ................. ........... ..... .............................. 7

LIS T O F F IG U R E S .................................................................. 8

ABSTRACT .............. .. ........ .. ............ ..........................9

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION .............................. ............. .................. 10

Purpose of the Research ................................................. 10
Internet Branding ............................................................................ ........... 10
Rapid Development of Social Networking Sites Worldwide........................... 10
Expanding Cross-Culture Research .......................... ......................... 11
The Importance of Social Networking Sites Fan Pages as Research Objects........ 12
Influence of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) on Internet Marketing ................. 12
SNS Fan Pages are an Effective Internet Marketing Tool ...... ........................ 13
Implications for Marketers Interested in SNS Pages in China ...................... 14
Related Research is Lim ited .................................... ............ .. ........ 15
How Cultural Characteristics Are Examined in This Research ...... ........................ 15

2 LITERATURE REVIEW .............. .. ......................... 16

Reasons for Examining the Influence of Cultural Values to Marketing ................... 16
Research of Cultural Values' Impact on Marketing in New Media ......................... 17
Cross-Cultural Advertising Theories .............. ...... ......... ............... 18
Cross-culture Advertising Framework for This Study ....... .......... .................. 21
Development of Online Marketing......................... .............. ...... 22
Results of Information Technology Development ............. ... .......... ......... 22
Advantages the Internet Offers over Traditional Media ........................ 23
Branding on Fan Page of SNS.................................... ................ ............... 24
Definition of SNS ............................... ...................... ... ... .. ................. 24
Introduction to SNS, Online Brand Community and Fan Page ....................... 24
Influence of Online Brand Community to Marketing ............. ............... 26
The Culture and Language Difficulties .......................... .......... ..... 28
Introduction of Facebook, Kaixin001 and Renren ........................ ... ............... 29
F a c e b o o k ................ ........................... ................................................ 2 9
K a ix in 0 0 1 ......... ......... .......... ...................... ............... 2 9
R e n re n .................................................................................................. 3 0
R research Q questions ......... ......... .......................................... ............... 30
H ypotheses ...................................... ................ ............... 3 1









3 METHODOLOGY ............................ ....... ................. 32

D esign............................................ 32
Study Method Content Analysis ........... ........................ .............. 32
U n iv e rs e ................................................ .......... ... ............................... ..... 3 3
Universe: fan pages of Facebook, KaixinOO1 and Renren ............................. 33
Reasons for Choosing Facebook, Kaixin001, and Renren............................. 33
Sampling ................ ............................... ......... 35
Unit of Analysis ............... ......... .................. 37
Coding Scheme ............... ......... .................. 37
Collectivism ................ ......... ....................... 38
Uncertainty Avoidance ............... ..... ....................... 39
Power Distance ........................ ........... ......... 40
Masculinity................................ ......... 41
High Context-Low Context................................................. .................... 41
C o d in g .............. ..... ............ ................. .................................................... 4 2

4 FINDINGS..................... ...................... ............... 45

Final Sample............................................ ............... 45
Results ................ ...... ............. ........... ............... 45
Collectivism ................ ......... ........ ..... ......... 46
Uncertainty Avoidance ............... ..... ....................... 46
Power Distance ........................ ........... ......... 47
Masculinity....................... ........ 48
High vs. Low Context ....................... ........................ 48

5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ................ .............. ........ 52

D is c u s s io n .............. ..... ............ ................. ............................................. 5 2
Implications ...................... ................................. 55
Limitations and Directions for Future Research ...... ........ ..... .................. 57

APPENDIX

A CODE SHEET ............... ......... .................. 60

B CODING BOOK.............................................. ............... 61

LIST OF REFERENCES ........................ .......... ......... 65

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ...... .................. .................. 70








6









LIST OF TABLES

Table page

3-1 Top 15 social networking sites............................... ................................. 34

3-2 Comparison of the original framework of Singh (2003) and modified
framework used in this study .................. ............ .... ............... 44

4-1 Frequency and mean of items under cultural value categories: A comparison
of the U.S. and China SNS fan pages ........................... ....... ... ............ 49









LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

5-1 ELLE's Facebook page vs. Renren page ................................... .................. .. 55

5-2 Twilight's Facebook page vs. Renren page ........... ......... ............... 56









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Advertising

CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS MANIFESTED IN BRANDING ON
U.S. AND CHINA SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES FAN PAGES

By

Liuyi Yang

August 2010

Chair: Michael F. Weigold
Major: Advertising

This study applies Singh et al.'s (2003) framework, a combination of Hofstede's

(1980) four dimensions and Hall's (1976) High/low context framework, to a new media:

social networking sites fan pages. Five aspects of culture are examined in this paper: (1)

collectivism/individualism; (2) uncertainty avoidance; (3) power distance; (4) masculinity;

(5) high/ low context. The findings showed only partial support to Singh's framework.

China SNS fan pages did not present more collectivistic features than their U.S.

counterparts. The two countries showed similar use of features of collectivism,

uncertainty avoidance and masculinity. With respect to the high/low context framework,

the findings showed that China SNS fan pages employed significantly more high context

characteristics than did those in the U.S.; however, the occurrences of low context

indicators were similar in two countries' SNS fan pages. Academic and industrial

implications for cross-culture advertising researchers and marketers are provided.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Purpose of the Research

Internet Branding

The development of interactive technologies has changed the brand sphere (de

Chernatony, S. Drury & S. Segal-Horn, 2006) dramatically in the past few years

(Christodoulides, 2009). The information asymmetry (Erdem & Swait 1998) between

customers and firms with respect to brands has been reversed as a result of the Internet

and electronic interactivity. In the industrial age, brand management was a seller-centric

monopoly. "It is done by sellers, for sellers, to or at consumers or buyers" (Mitchell,

2001). The information channel was one-way, where customers were exposed to

massages designed by brand managers. With the evolution to Web 2.0, a revolution in

branding and marketing has occurred. It is changing the way brands are managed to a

bidirectional model, between customers and firms. Increasingly marketing is both for,

and by customers (Mitchell, 2001).

Rapid Development of Social Networking Sites Worldwide

Web 2.0 is defined by user exchange of ideas, information, and transactions on

websites. Page (2008) indicated that this ability to share and connect with other users is

the defining characteristic of Web 2.0. No online destination is more important in this

regard than social networks, which are "all about how users interact and co-create

content in a group setting" (Page, 2008).

Ad spending on U.S. social-networking sites in 2007 was $865 million, up from

$350 million in 2006, and it will surpass $2 billion in 2010, according to eMarketer.

Worldwide, social-network ad spending reached $1.1 billion in 2007, up from $445









million in 2006 and by 2010 spending is forecast to be $2.8 billion worldwide

(eMarketer, 2007).

Except for rapid development of ad spending on U.S. social networking sites,

Lenhart and Madden (2007) also point out that the role and growth of social networking

sites (SNS) has been enormous, especially among teens and young adults. More than

55% of teens online use social networks, and 48% of them visit SNSs daily or more.

Marketers are interested in leveraging the power of social networks for branding

activities. This requires they "create innovative brand experiences combining aspects of

social networking with personalization, building loyalty through compelling brand

experiences" (Page, 2008).

Expanding Cross-Culture Research

Advertising, like all communications, is culturally bound. Many researchers,

including Akbers-Miller and Gelb (1996) and deMooij (1998), argue that culturally

sensitive messages are more acceptable and persuasive to consumers (see also Paek,

Yu, & Bae, 2009). Although a great number of studies have examined the influence of

culture on advertising, there is no comprehensive framework for its role in new media

advertising (Taylor, 2005). Taylor (2005) called for researchers to move cross-cultural

ad research forward in three ways: first, by expanding the range of advertising topics

and channels; second, by introducing more cross-cultural contexts theories; and third,

by testing specific cultural differences reflected in advertising across countries.

In the spirit of these suggestions, Singh (1999, 2003, 2005) generated a

framework building on Hosfstede's (1980) cultural values framework and Hall's (1976)

cultural context framework. His approach has been empirically validated in several









studies. Singh's is employed in this study to examine cultural characteristics of social

network brand pages.

The Importance of Social Networking Sites Fan Pages as Research Objects

Influence of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) on Internet Marketing

SNSs are changing advertising and branding profoundly. Advertising spending in

the social networking area is rising faster than spending elsewhere (eMarketer, 2006).

In fact, SNS will attract nearly half of the overall dollars generated by all user-generated

content sites in the near future (Gangadharbatla, 2008).

SNSs have also changed the way marketers reach consumers (Gangadharbatla,

2008). For example, businesses and organizations use these sites to build community

with customers and to communicate with members of that community. In this way,

customers easily get access to businesses or organizations they are interested in,

exchange information with other business customers worldwide, and express their

opinions about these brands/businesses/organizations freely. Marketers are able to

monitor customer feedback to improve their service and share information with

customers.

However, marketers also face challenges from SNSs. "Customers are now wired

and capitalize on social networks to derive power from one another" (Levine et al.,

2001). They may share their own perspective on companies and brands, some of which

may not be positive or accurate. When customer views conflict with the image a

company wishes to convey, it poses a danger to the brand. Many will find peers

opinions to be more credible than company messages. Thus, the development of SNSs

is a double-edge sword for marketers.









SNS Fan Pages are an Effective Internet Marketing Tool

SNSs offer companies a way to build relationships with customers. SNSs provide

companies a way to collect comprehensive data use for developing and improving

customer relationships. Such data for them permits companies to "use design,

communities, personalization and co-creation of content at every opportunity to

reinforce the relationship" (Clauser, 2001).

One of the most effective marketing methods SNSs offer is the Fan Page. All Fan

Pages have the interactive characteristics of SNSs. In Facebook's own words,

"Facebook created pages when we noticed that people were trying to connect with

brands and famous artists in ways that didn't quite work on Facebook... Not only can

you connect with your favorite artists and businesses, but now you also can show your

friends what you care about and recommend by adding Pages to your personal profile"

(Facebook, 2009).

Facebook encourages celebrities, brands, businesses and organizations to create

free pages, which users can link to by becoming fans. "Fans" can follow the business or

organization and receive automatic updates. Every time someone becomes a brand's

fan, the activity is shared with friends through news feeds. Many restaurants, bars,

cafes, sports teams, artists, health and fitness centers, churches, non-profit government

organizations, politicians, celebrities, and organizations have fan pages on Facebook

(Gangadharbatla, 2008).

The potential advantage of branding on SNS pages is that the sites are highly

targeted and relevant. Gangadharbatla (2008) indicated that SNS users are more likely

to pay attention to messages that come from the news feed if the information is from a

friend they know and trust. Users are thought to be highly influenced by friends'









recommendations. Marketers try to facilitate brand conversations among customers to

achieve marketing objectives.

Implications for Marketers Interested in SNS Pages in China

According to iResearch (2009), revenue for advertising spending on the Internet in

China is $446 million for the first quarter of 2009, an increase of 5.9% from the same

quarter in 2008. The SNS market portion is still small since most internet companies are

in the investing stage, but it is increasing. In 2008, revenue from advertising in SNSs

reached $111 million, and it is estimated if will increase to $147 million for SNSs only in

2009.

KaixinOO1 and Renren, the two most popular SNSs in China, have 25 million and

15 million registered users, respectively (Alexa Traffic Details, 2009). Those numbers

were accumulated from the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2008 for the two SNSs

separately. It is obvious that SNSs are great ways to reach markets. They are also likely

to experience an exponential growth in users over the next several years.

Though SNS growth worldwide is rapid, such sites in China are not as mature as

in the U.S. For instance, Renren, a site similar to Facebook, only started a Fan Page

service in July 2009 and had just 104 pages by the end of 2009. The most popular

applications of kaixin001 are close copies of Facebook applications. The potential of

SNSs in China are not yet adequately exploited.

This paper aims to develop insights for those who want to do marketing via SNSs

pages in China. It does so by examining cultural differences in SNS branding in China

and the U.S. It also offers Chinese SNS developing strategies and marketing

suggestions that do not copy Facebook's model.









Related Research is Limited

Research related to this topic is very limited so far, since SNSs in China do not

have a long history. However, this is an important topic that needs to be explored since

China is a huge emerging market and SNSs are powerful marketing tools. Study of the

impact of cultural differences on advertising on SNSs in China and the US would help

international marketers to better use this marketing tool to communicate with their target

audiences.

How Cultural Characteristics Are Examined in This Research

Extending existing research, this study applies Singh et al.'s (2003) framework, a

combination of Hofstede's (1980) four dimensions and Hall's (1976) High/low context

framework, five aspects of culture are examined in this paper: (1)

collectivism/individualism; (2) uncertainty avoidance; (3) power distance; (4) masculinity;

(5) high/ low context.

The frameworks of Hofstede (1980) and Hall (1976) are used in many cross-

culture advertising studies, and they have been accepted by many scholars in this field.

In this paper, these two types of cultural characteristics are employed to develop a new

topic, SNSs Fan Page and new media on the Internet.









CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Reasons for Examining the Influence of Cultural Values to Marketing

Marketing and culture have always been an important issue in the marketing

literature. Hofstede (1980) stated that cultural values manifest and express the culture

and collective mental programming deepest. Kahle (1983) believes that culture values

are the intersections of individuals and societies, which are internalized from individuals,

families, teams, groups, friends and media through socialization. Culture reflects but

also influences an individual's personal values. It demonstrates how individuals in a

culture behave in certain situations, how they interact with other members in that culture,

and even shape perceptions, motivations, attitudes, behaviors, and life styles (Feather,

1995; Tse, Belk, & Zhou, 1989). Since cultural values lie in the deep structure of one's

personality, we can also understand culture by learning about media, ads and marketing

behaviors (Albers-Miller & Stafford, 1999; Tse et al., 1989).

Effective advertising and marketing are tightly linked to the underlying culture of

the markets targeted; in another words, effective advertising and marketing reflect

cultural values and culturally insensitive ads are less persuasive (Mueller, 1987;

Zandpour, et al. 1994). Thus, an important job of marketers is identifying and satisfying

the needs of consumers within different cultures (Singh et al., 2005). Many researchers

have done studies on international advertising and communication campaigns by using

country-specific values. These studies suggest that marketers should pay close

attention to cultural values in order to generate powerful ad campaigns (Pollay, 1983;

Singh et al., 2005).









In comparisons of western and eastern cultures, the U.S. typically represents the

most western and developed country and China is treated as a typical collective and

traditional society. Comparison of these two countries' marketing activities could help

find the most explicit cultural differences present in brand messages. China is currently

the fastest growing economy in the world (Wikipedia, 2008), and its more than one

billion consumers offer huge business opportunities to the world. Attention to culture

differences in marketing activity is useful for marketers interested in global success.

Research of Cultural Values' Impact on Marketing in New Media

The advent of the Internet has created a new medium that has totally changed the

way information circulates. The web is an open network available to people across

different cultures. Its focus on user-control makes it different from traditional media for

audience targeting, consumer messaging and even ad evaluation. The new media are

all about interaction.

Taylor (2005) believes that it is important to conduct research on effectiveness of

new media in various markets with different cultural values and economic development

levels. He also encourages researchers to expand the range of topic and ad channel,

import outside theories to enrich cross-culture study and do empirical test of specific

cultural characteristics reflected in ads across countries. This new topic about new

media, cultural differences and marketing has attracted close attentions by both

academics and practitioners who study the impact of culture values on international

marketing through information technology (Myers & Tan, 2002).

Culturally sensitive web content is superior for its usability, accessibility and

interactivity (Fock, 2000; Simon, 2001). Different cultural values and lifestyles influence

individuals' specific habits for information searching, categorizing, perception, product









choosing, etc. Thus, web users from different countries have distinct needs in

navigation, customer service, security, categorization, and other features (Luna et al.,

2002; Simon, 1999, 2001; Tsikriktsis, 2002). It is easier for users to process web

information and understand web content on a culturally congruent site (Luna et al.,

2002).

As a result, the importance of cultural differences in marketing on the Internet is

becoming an intriguing topic. However, no fruitful studies of marketing on social

networking sites have been done yet. Most of studies done in this field deal with the

influences of cultural values as reflected in web design (Singh & Matsuo, 2002; Singh,

2003; Singh et al., 2003; Singh et al., 2005; Paek et al., 2009). These studies examined

corporate web sites, anti-smoking Web sites, international product website, online

stores etc. To extend the study of cultural value appeals to online marketing, this study

seeks to understand cultural differences manifested in Fan Pages on social networking

sites in the U.S. and China.

Cross-Cultural Advertising Theories

The most widely acknowledged cross-culture advertising theory is Hofstede's

framework. This framework was originally defined as four dimensions, they are:

individualism-collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance, and masculinity-

femininity, but then developed to five dimensions that dimension of time orientation was

added. This framework is thought to distinguish Western and Eastern cultures (Okazaki,

2004). In particular, the Individualism/Collectivism dimension is viewed as a cultural

value construct that distinguishes western and eastern cultures. Hofstede defined I/C as

"people taking care of themselves and their immediate family only in a loosely knit social

structure, versus people belonging to in-groups to look after them in a tightly knit social









organization." Generally, this bipolar cultural typology is applied to comparisons of the

U.S. and Far East countries like China, Japan and South Korea.

Hall (1976) developed a cultural communication framework based on high context

versus low context, which is also widely used in cross-cultural advertising literatures. In

a high context society, "most of the information is either in the physical context or

internalized in the person, while very little is in the coded, explicit, transmitted part of the

message" (Hall, 1976); by contrast, in a low context society, "the mass of the

information is vested in the explicit code" (Hall, 1976). Ramaprasad and Hasegawa

(1992) supported this assumption by giving showing that soft-sell celebrity

endorsements are widely used in Japan, while hard-sell and direct promotions are more

common in the U.S.

deMooij (1999) developed a value paradoxes concept that is also popular with

cross-cultural advertising researchers. In previous cross-culture advertising and

marketing literatures, polarized views of values are dominant, which state that

advertising is congruent with the society's cultural values. A culture of collectivism and

tradition dominates in Eastern advertising and culture of individualism and modernity

manifests in Western advertising. As opposed to these opinions, deMooij argues that

values present in advertising are paradoxical to dominated cultural values in most

cultures since there is a distinction between "desirable" social norms and "desired"

individuals' choices (deMooij, 1999; Taylors, 2005). deMooij (2009) believes that this

may guide advertising to reflect values inconsistent with a society's traditional values,

and this is particularly true in countries with fast economic development.









China has experienced rapid socioeconomic changes in a short time period,

including the return of Hong Kong in 1997, the foreign money crisis of 1998 (Paek, et al.,

2002) and WTO membership in 2001. Such economic challenges, along with

corresponding social alterations, have changed Chinese consumers' values and

lifestyles (Shim & Cho 2000). Chinese society has faced an inrush of foreign retailers

and business practitioners, multinational media such as MTV and ELLE, global

advertising agencies, and so on. The most significant value change has manifested in

the Chinese X-Generation, which is young, urban adults. These Chinese regard

advertising as part of modern life; they are more receptive to advertising messages and

welcome Western values; they are likely to buy foreign goods even if they are more

expensive (Marketing Week, 1998). The Chinese X-Generation is going to be both a

profitable market and a force orienting China's cultural future (China: X-Gen Study,

1996; Zhang & Shavitt, 2003). However this image of X-Generation differs from the

conventional image of China presented in many studies, like Hsu (1953, 1981) and

Hofstede (1980) which argue that Chinese culture is defined by collectivism, and

traditional, conservative, Confucian values, and that Chinese people tend to be

moderate and modest (Zhang & Shavitt, 2003).

The differences in Generation X are consistent with deMooij's value paradoxes

concept. Similarly, Zhang and Shavitt (2003) found that both individualism and

modernity values are more common in Chinese magazine ads, and personal use

products lean to use more individualistic appeals than shared products. Lin (2001) also

suggests that Chinese ads are found to use more Western and modern appeals instead









of traditional ones. Studies in South Korea (Cho et al., 1999) also find that collectivistic

appeals are not employed more than individualistic appeals.

As early as the 1970s, Rotzoll's (1976) belief that advertising encourages change

instead of maintaining the status quo has been used to explain this phenomenon.

Marchand (1985) states that advertising is a "revolutionary force" that "heralds

modernity". McCarty (1994) puts forth an argument that advertising might not reflect

current society values but the future ones, especially in developing countries. This

argument is validated in several studies (Triandis 1995; Mueller, 1987).

Since the Internet is one the of the newest media and fan pages on social

networking site are one of the latest marketing methods, this study will examine how

cultural values are reflected in this medium.

Cross-culture Advertising Framework for This Study

An examination of cultural markets in SNS requires a framework that is grounded

in theory, is empirically validated, integrates various cultural perspectives and explains

cultural-level diversity with full understanding of values, customs, beliefs, and symbols

of a society (Singh et al., 2005). Past scholars emphasized that cultural typologies

should be employed when the objective is to study the impact of values that appear in

popular media and advertising (Schwartz, 1994; McCarty, 1994). Since this study is

about cultural differences reflected in the web, cultural-level typologies are employed

(Singh et al., 2005).

One challenge of marketing on the Internet is how to present information

effectively to people from different cultures. The wording, tone, presentation, type of

information and information content are important factors (Fock, 2000). The idea that

advertising is a form of communication which is sensitive to cultural differences has









been examined in many studies (Albers-Miller & Gelb, 1996; Fock, 2000). This study

uses Singh's (2003) framework, which borrows from Hofstede's four dimensions and

Hall's (1976) high and low context dimensions. Singh has published several studies on

cultural differences on web, and his framework is a unique and effective way to

understand cultural differences on the Internet (Singh et al., 2005).

Development of Online Marketing

Results of Information Technology Development

The rise of the Internet has brought international marketing both tremendous

opportunities and challenges (Melewar & Smith, 2003). According to "Statistical Survey

Report on Internet Development in China" published on 2010 January, the number of

Chinese internet users has now popped to 384 million, which surpasses the United

States' internet user number of 228 million and ranks No.1 in the world (Nielsen Online,

2009 August). The Internet is a global channel through which existing and potential

customers can be targeted (Melewar & Smith, 2003). Recent developments in the

Internet have made it a popular channel for self-expression and information sharing

(Jang, Olfman, Ko, Koh, & Kim, 2008). This, in turn, makes possible a powerful

electronic word-of-mouth communication.

Businesses and organizations are able to publicize themselves and present their

commercial offerings worldwide through the Internet (Melewar & Smith, 2003). Pallab

(1996) believes that this development particularly facilitates smaller organizations'

international marketing efforts and enables small companies to compete on a global

stage (Deighton, 1997). More recently, the Internet has become a mature global

marketing and communication channel that aids virtually all aspects of marketing









strategies ranging from information sharing, database building, relationship forming,

branding, customer service, etc (Czinkota & Ronkainen, 1990).

Additionally, the Internet supplies organizations a new channel of distribution

(Strauss & Frost, 1999). Both traditional companies like Wal-Mart as well as virtual

establishments such as Amazon have used the Internet to establish online stores where

products can be purchased without consumers actually visiting a physical location. Web

purchases amounted to 600 billion dollars in 2004 (Chen, 2006). With research showing

larger and more frequent shopping online and increases in household online purchase,

the incentric for organizations to build online stores is ever increasing (www.eg.com;

Melewar & Smith, 2003).

Advantages the Internet Offers over Traditional Media

Marketers always look for relationship building based on customers' perceptions of

a brand/product, specific needs, and feedback. In looking at media choices for creating

this interactive relationship with consumers, the advantages of the Internet over

traditional media are obvious (Chiagouris & Wansley, 2000).

For one thing, mass media are not able to communicate with existing and potential

customers in a customized way. In traditional media, the same messages are sent to

people irrespective of how much they know about the product/brand, and whether they

are interested or not (Chiagouris & Wansley, 2000). Prospects may not get information

they want and often cannot seek new information (Chiagouris & Wansley, 2000). On the

Internet, different messages can be crafted based on an audience's difference in

awareness, familiarity, trust and commitment (Chiagouris & Wansley, 2000). In addition,

the interactive nature of the Internet enables marketers to have two-way conversations

with their prospects, and do so inexpensively (Chiagouris & Wansley, 2000). In this









process, prospects work with marketers to improve the customer service, facilitate

product selling, and web site modification, etc. By creating a tailored and responsive

dialogue, prospects are more likely to become loyal to this marketer (Chiagouris &

Wansley, 2000).

Branding on Fan Page of SNS

Definition of SNS

Boyd and Ellison (2007) define social networking sites (SNS) as web-based

services that allow users to construct profiles that others can see and to list connections

with other users. This is differentiated from "networking," a term usually characterized

by a relationship initiated between strangers (Kelley et al., 2008).

Introduction to SNS, Online Brand Community and Fan Page

People use social networking sites for personal and professional purposes, like

making new friends, finding dates, keeping in touch with old friends, building new

business contacts, scheduling offline meetings, etc. (O'Murchu, Breslin, & Decker,

2004). Since social costs are much reduced on social networking sites, more and more

people are stimulated to join in.

People join in different social networking sites for specific purposes, which has led

to various types of social networking sites that represent different relationships.

O'Murchu et al. (2004) categorize social networking sites into three basic types. The

first type is aimed at leisure and social activities, like Facebook, orkut and Friendster.

The second type includes sites such as Linkedln, Ryze and Spoke, that caters to

professional business user. A third type organizes users for offline social events, like

Meetup (O'Murchu et al., 2004). The design of a social networking site differs according

to the aim and purpose of the site (O'Murchu et al., 2004).









As the Internet's ubiquity increases, more people find it useful for satisfying their

desire for information sharing, self-expression, connectedness and knowledge (Jang et

al., 2008). Increasingly, organizations are beginning to appreciate the importance of an

online brand community. An online brand community not only offers organizations the

opportunity to better communicate with users, it also provides valuable information

organizations can use to improve their products, brands and services (Jang et al., 2008).

Brand community is not simply an additional communication channel; it is a link

between the organization and its devoted users (Jang et al., 2008). When users can

express their personalities through a brand with others in the brand community, the

brand achieves success.

Jang et al. (2008) classify online brand communities into two major types:

member-initiated communities and organization-initiated communities. Member-initiated

communities are built by devoted volunteers who exchange valuable experiences and

provide useful information like opinions about brands (Jang et al., 2008). Negative

brand information is not be screened at such sites (Jang et al., 2008). Organization-

initiated communities are built by a company or organization that owns the brand to

strengthen relationships with consumers and to increase purchases and build loyalty

(Jang et al., 2008). Organization-initiated communities have the advantage of offering

detailed and complete information about a product or service (Jang et al., 2008).

However, unfavorable opinions are often blocked here since the community is controlled

by the organization (Jang et al., 2008).

An online brand community, both member-initiated and organization-initiated, has

some unique attributes. It is built upon a product or service shared by members (Muniz,









2001). It has no geographic limitations (Wellman, 1979). It acts as a social discussion

place that reflects a brand's ability to keep up with updated mainstream culture, and it

encourages members' interpretation of the brand (Holt, 1997). Its members usually

have strong commitments with common goals (Maffesoli, 1996; Cova, 1997).

Community members have a high level of identity and an understanding of the

commercial landscape (Muniz, 2001; Jang, et al., 2008).

One aspect of the online brand communities of a Fan Page on a social networking

site is. According to Facebook,

A Fan Page is a customizable presence for an organization, product, or
public personality to join the conversation with Facebook users... The Page
focuses on the stream of content posted by the Page administrators... By
leveraging the real connections between friends on Facebook, a Page lets
Fans become brand advocates... Posts by the Page will start to appear in
News Feed, giving Pages a stronger voice to reach their Fans... When fans
interact with a Facebook Fan Page, stories linking to that Page can go to
their friends via News Feed. As these friends interact with this Page, News
Feed keeps driving word-of-mouth to a wider circle of friends (Facebook,
2009).

Influence of Online Brand Community to Marketing

Studies of the factors influencing brand loyalty are many. Product quality, service

quality, price, corporate image, information quality and commitment all affect

consumers' loyalty to a brand (Devaraj et al., 2001; Lee & Kim, 2005; Nguyen & Leblanc,

2001). Less common is the observation that brand loyalty can be increased by online

brand community participation. In one exception, Jang et al. (2008) explored the link

between the level of brand loyalty and online brand community commitment. They

showed that community commitment increases brand loyalty. The analysis also showed

that members' community commitment is greatly influenced by their community









interaction and the rewards for their activities, rather than by system quality and

information quality (Jang et al., 2008).

Shankar et al. (2003) believe that commitment is "a set of needs to sustain a

worthwhile business-to-consumer relationship," "an enduring desire to maintain a valued

relationship" (Moorman et al., 1992) and "a tendency to resist change" (Pritchard et al.,

1999). Kotler et al. (1989) define loyalty as "a feeling of attachment to a certain set of

brands and companies." Strong loyalty from consumers helps a company to increase its

competitive strengths in marketing by reducing marketing cost, receiving great word-of-

mouth effect, increasing cross-sell rate, and so on (Griffin, 1996).

Jang et al.'s (2008) study suggests that companies can improve their financial

performance by increasing users' online brand community commitment through word-of-

mouth marketing, hence companies should prepare various strategies to support their

online brand community. For instance, they can provide physical places for community

members to have offline activities, they can support money for offline meetings, and

they could even invite community leaders and opinion leaders to visit the company to

help obtain customer's opinions about how to increase brand value (Jang et al., 2008).

Jang et al. (2008) also gave some implications for community leaders to better run

an online brand community. First of all, the leader of a consumer-initiated community

should focus on improving information quality and system quality, hence to increase

members' active participation and commitment (Jang et al., 2008). Secondly, interaction

greatly influences members' commitment, hence leaders of both consumer-initiated

community and organization-initiated community should actively provide functions and

apps that help promote members' interaction, like BBS, chat, and messenger service.









Jang et al. (2008) also point out that rewards for activities had an important impact on

community commitment. Rewards to community members help to encourage members'

commitment and sustain a community.

The Culture and Language Difficulties

Because of cultural and language differences, considerations should be given to

online global marketing strategies like all international marketing strategies do (Czinkota

& Ronkainen, 1990). Though it is argued that the Internet has shrunk the size of the

world, it still does not erase the differences that exist between different cultures,

languages and societies (Melewar & Smith, 2003). For example, various traditional

holiday scenes from different countries are employed in Coca Cola's "Open Happiness"

ad campaign in the light of different target market. Most international companies' Web

sites are built on multi-language system though English is the predominant language so

far. Hence, marketers still need to pay close attention to customs, values, norms and

attitudes of individuals from different cultures when launch online marketing strategy

(Melewar & Smith, 2003)

Some academics suggest that the use of discussion groups and online

communities can help organizations to learn about local culture, laws, and customs and

finally to avoid or capitalize cultural barriers appropriately (Samiee, 1998; Richardson,

2001; Bridgewater & Egan, 2001). Additionally, Nicovich and Cornwell (1998) propose

that this forum can help lower cultural barriers that have been traditionally difficult to

overcome. Melewar and Smith (2003) believe this is because the Internet's own

"culture" and "language" facilitate international marketing strategies of organizations.

"Spam" is a good example. The term refers to Internet jargon meaning unwanted or junk

email, usually of a commercial nature, sent out in bulk. Lots of Internet slang is









commonly understood by Internet users from all countries (Richardson, 2001). Though

the creation of its own culture and the nature of information sharing have made the

Internet become "a bridge mechanism for the transfer between cultures" (Nicovich &

Cornwell, 1998), the reality that all users inhabit a larger culture from their societies and

countries should not be ignored (Melewar & Smith, 2003).

Introduction of Facebook, KaixinO01 and Renren

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social networking site and the fourth largest website

in the world (Schonfeld, 2009). Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004 as a

Harvard-only social networking site (Cassidy, 2006). It was opened up to other colleges

and high schools in 2005, and then opened to anyone with a valid email address in late

2006 (Kelley et al., 2008). A distinct element of Facebook is its application feature which

allows outside developers to build applications or "apps" utilized through Facebook

(Kelley et al., 2008). These apps facilitate the personalization of user profiles and also

make Facebook more interesting (Kelley et al., 2008).

KaixinO01

KaixinOO1 is currently the most popular social networking site in China with

720,000 daily IP visits in August 2009. Former CTO of Sina.com.cn Binghao Cheng

launched KaixinOO1 at the end of 2007. Its membership spiked in several months due to

its popular applications like "Friends for Sale," "Happy Farm" and "Parking War." These

three apps are all "borrowed" from Facebook. Except for the applications, the website

structure and business model are also considered copies from Facebook.

Some practitioners believe Kaixin001's popularity is a result of the blockage of

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Myspace in China. As a result, Chinese nationals have









turned to domestic social networking site. According to Alexa, Kaixin001's Global Page

ranking was 1300th on July 20, 2009, and grew to 55th (Alexa, Jan 16th, 2010). Its traffic

rank in China is 9th.

Renren

The development model of Renren is similar to Facebook. It was launched as a

school-based social networking site in 2005, but opened to anyone with a valid email

address in November 2007. Renren has covered 90% of colleges in China and has

22,000,000 registered members as of March 2008. Renren ranks 92nd in Global Page

ranking and 14th in China traffic ranking (Alexa, 2010). Renren's website structure,

business model and even interface are also similar to Facebook.

Based on above introduction of this topic and related literature review, working title,

research questions and hypothesis are generated as followings:

Research Questions

RQ 1: Will branding on China SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of

Collectivism indicators in content than their U.S. counterparts?

RQ 2: Will branding on China SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of

Uncertainty Avoidance indicators in content than their U.S. counterparts?

RQ 3: Will branding on China SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of Power

Distance indicators in content than their U.S. counterparts?

RQ 4: Will branding on China SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of

Masculinity indicators in content than their U.S. counterparts?

RQ 5: Will branding on China SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of High

Context indicators in content than their U.S. counterparts?









RQ 6: Will branding on the U.S. SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of Low

Context indicators in content than their Chinese counterparts?

Hypotheses

The following are the preliminary answers to above research questions, which are

also my hypotheses:

H 1: Branding on China SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of

Collectivism indicators than U.S. SNS.

H 2: Branding on China SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of

Uncertainty Avoidance context indicators than U.S. SNS.

H 3: Branding on China SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of Power

Distance indicators than U.S. SNS.

H 4: Branding on the China SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of

Masculinity indicators than U.S. SNS.

H 5a: Branding on China SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of High

Cultural Context indicators than U.S. SNS.

H 5b: Branding on U.S. SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of Low

Cultural Context indicators than China SNS.









CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Design

Study Method Content Analysis

This study employed content analysis as a research method. Babbie (2007) stated

that it is more appropriate to address the study of communications by answering the

classic question of communications research: "Who says what, to whom, why, how and

with what effect?" than by any other method of inquiry. The overarching objective of this

study is to describe comprehensively the cultural differences manifested in branding on

fan pages of social networking site (SNS) in China and the U.S., which is part of the

study of recorded human communications and will answer what cultural differences

appear on these pages and what effect they produce. Hence, content analysis is

chosen here.

Though content analysis has been widely used, the analysis of web-based

messages is a new challenge. McMillan (2000) reviewed 19 World Wide Web studies

that applied content analysis as a research method and found out some application

problems. Challenges from sampling, unit of analysis, and work of coders comprise the

biggest difference and difficulty of web-based message content analysis compared to

traditional media. It is basically impossible to measure the number of subsequent pages

under a homepage since such numbers vary considerably by site. Furthermore, most

Web sites change content continuously. The resulting complexity and ambiguity

complicates sampling, defining units of analysis, and reliable coding.

To address these concerns, this study will follow the "seven steps in content

analysis": (1) Hypothesis and/or research questions, (2) Sampling, (3) Categories, (4)









Coders and training, (5) Coding process, (6) Reliability and validity, and (7) Analysis,

generated by Kaid and Wadsworth (1989). To be more precise, a series of pre-tests

were used to develop an effective coding scheme and improve inter-coder reliability.

Universe

Universe: fan pages of Facebook, Kaixin001 and Renren

The universe included fan pages from Facebook and its Chinese counterparts

KaixinOO1 and Renren that were established and in use by Jan 15, 2010. This time span

was chosen for two reasons; first, since new fan pages are added daily, it is impossible

to maintain a complete list of fan pages on both countries' SNS. Hence, Jan 15, 2010

was chosen as a cut-off date to restrict the universe of fan pages to those set up before

that date and that are still in use. Additionally, though Facebook has maintained its fan

page application since 2007, its Chinese counterparts KaixinOO1 and Renren did not

start this service until mid 2009. We leave more than seven months for them to develop

this new service and get enough users that we can collect comprehensive samples.

Reasons for Choosing Facebook, Kaixin001, and Renren

There are many social networking sites worldwide, each of which serves various

functions, caters to different target audiences, and is popular in different regions.

Table 3-1: Top 15 Social Networking Sites

From Table 1, we can see that seven social networking sites are dominant in the

U.S. and that they function differently from blogging, micro-blogging, photo sharing, and

business social networking sites. Only Facebook and MySpace are general function

social networking sites, though MySpace is more blogging inclined. To be more specific,

only Facebook provides the fan page service, which enables celebrities, businesses,









Table 3-1. Top 15 social networking sites
Name Global Alexa Page Description/Focus
ranking
Facebook 2 General
Windows Live 5(Alexa only Blogging (formerly MSN Spaces)
Spaces records data for
second-level
domains)
MySpace 11 General. Had lost some popularity in 2007
and 2008, but has started to experience a
slight renaissance lately.
Qzone 12 General. In Simplified Chinese; caters to
mainland China users
Twitter 14 General. Micro-blogging, RSS, updates
Flickr 33 Photo sharing, commenting, photography
related networking, worldwide
Linkedln 42 General but mainly business
hi5 51 General. Popular in India, Portugal,
Mongolia, Thailand, Romania, Jamaica,
Central Africa, and Latin America. Not
popular in the U.S.
KaixinOO1 61 General. In Simplified Chinese; caters to
mainland China users
LiveJournal 81 Blogging
Mixi 85 Japan
Odnoklassniki 92 General. Popular in Russia and former
Soviet republics
Renren 103 Significant site in China. Was known as (
A (Xiaonei) until August 2009
Orkut 109 Owned by Google. Popular in Brazil and
India
Nasza-klasa.pl 110 School, college and friends. Popular in
Poland
(Source: Alexa Traffic Details, 2009)

and organizations to share their business and products with Facebook users (Facebook,

2009). For these professional entities, Facebook's fan page application is an ideal

marketing tool because it is free and interactive. When a fan interacts with Facebook

fan page, stories, activities, and updates linking to this page can go to that fan's friends

via news feed. In this way, when more and more friends of that fan interact with this

page, news feeds keep driving word-of-mouth to a wider circle of friends. Hence,









Facebook fan page has become an active, convenient, and efficient branding tool for

many celebrities, businesses, and organizations. Its working model has been highly

valued, especially in this interactive marketing era.

In China, social networking sites did not become widely successful until the rise of

KaixinOO1 and Renren in 2008, though the first SNS in China was established on 2000.

As opposed to Facebook, which is popular among both students and older people,

KaixinOO1 targets white-collar workers, while Renren is more popular among college

students. KaixinOO1 and Renren were chosen as Facebook's counterparts in this study

for two reasons. First, these two SNSs target very specific users, white-collar workers

and students, respectively, but Facebook covers a much wider range of age groups;

46% of Facebook users are between the ages of 13-25, while 54% are between 26-55

years old (insidefacebook.com, 2009). To gather exhaustive data to reflect the

manifestation of cultural elements on SNS, the two most popular SNS in China is

chosen since only in combination are they equivalent to Facebook. On the other hand,

the business models and even interfaces of both KaixinOO1 and Renren are similar to

Facebook, as discussed in the literature review section of this study. The Facebook

business model in the U.S. is unique, and has never been successfully copied by many

Web sites in China. Hence, it will be more effective to indicate the cultural differences as

well as marketing implications by comparing the SNSs Facebook, Kaixin001, and

Renren that are rooted in different countries but have similar business model and

interfaces.

Sampling

Facebook divides its pages into 17 types: places, products, services, stores,

restaurants, bars and clubs, organizations, politicians, government officials, non-profits,









TV shows, films, games, sports teams, celebrities / public figures, musicians and Web

sites, and more than 40,000 fan pages in total. However, its Chinese counterparts have

far fewer categories, which is probably due to the still immature development of SNS

there. KaixinOO1 has only five main categories of fan pages: organizations, products

and services, celebrities, newly built, and activities, and thirty-three detailed

subcategories. There were a total of 314 fan pages by Jan 15, 2010. Renren has five

types of fan pages without subcategories: they are celebrities/public figures,

organizations, TV shows and films, media, businesses / companies, and activities, for a

total of 127 extant fan pages by Jan 15, 2010.

With the goal of including fan pages that fully reflect cultural differences, fan pages

in two countries for the same host were chosen as samples. They are official ones

established by companies/organizations that brands belonged to, rather than by fans or

unofficial groups. Pizza Hut fan page was selected, for it has fan pages on SNS in both

the U.S. and China. Those hosts that have fan pages in both the U.S. and China must

be international brands. That means they have to use standardized or localized

marketing strategies to cater to oversea markets, which requires full understanding of

local cultures to help marketers catch local audiences' attention. Hence, fan page, one

of the marketing means, would be a good mirror of efforts marketers made to adjust to

local culture.

Since the Chinese SNSs are not as developed as their American counterpart,

samples were collected based on categories of KaixinOO1 and Renren instead of

Facebook since it would be easier to get available comparison pairs. For example,

Facebook owns a great number of fan pages for politicians, but neither Kaixin001 nor









Renren has even one in this category since politics is a sensitive topic in China. That

means if samples are selected based on Facebook's categories, then many of its

Chinese counterparts would be shortened, like categories of Place, Store, Game,

Bar/Club, Politician, Website, etc.

Unit of Analysis

With the goal of including all the hosts that have fan pages on SNSs in both China

and the U.S., a full list of fan pages of KaixinOO1 and Renren was compiled. Then all

hosts of these fan pages were searched for in Facebook to determine whether

corresponding fan pages existed. If they did, then these hosts were chosen as samples.

For example, because Loreal has a fan page on both KaixinOO1 and Facebook, it is thus

qualified to join the sample set. However, because the cartoon character A Li has a fan

page on Renren, but not on Facebook, it was excluded. In this way, 30 pairs of fan

pages were selected as units of analysis. They are fan pages of ELLE, Marie Claire,

Wall Street Journal, China Daily, Loreal, MINI, BMW X1, LG, Reader's Digest, Dime,

Miss Tourism International, Pizza Hut, British Council, Switzerland Tourism, WWF, Red

Cross, MTV, Friends, Big Bang Theory, Twilight, Avatar, DotA, Harlem Globetrotters,

Adidas Soccer, NBA, UEFA Champions League And Europe League, Jackie Chan, Jet

Li, Michael Jackson, and Jane Zhang, belonging to eleven categories: Product, Service,

Restaurant, Organization, Governmental Official, Non-Profit, TV Show, Film, Sports

Team, Celebrity/Public Figure, and Musician.

Coding Scheme

The cultural categories are entirely based on previous research and publications

cited in the review of literature.









Hofstede (1980) built the foundation of the inter-culture advertising study

framework. His cultural framework has been employed widely in most culture

differences research in advertising and marketing. This framework is composed of four

independent dimensions: individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty

avoidance, and masculinity-femininity. Many studies have operationalized Hofstede's

dimensions to study cultural differences in advertising and marketing, such as Albers-

Miller and Gelb (1996), Okazaki (2004), Paek et al. (2009), etc. However, a few studies

have applied Hofstede's framework into social networking site content.

To better reflect the perspective of marketing as a form of communication that is

sensitive to differences between cultures, Singh (2003) built his framework by

combining Hall's (1976) high and low context dimensions with Hofstede's framework. In

high context communication, more visuals or symbols are employed to make indirect

messages. Conversely, low-context communications tends to use direct messages like

textual argumentation, analytical statements, facts, and data (Okazaki, 2004).

Hence, the coding scheme used in this study included (1) collectivism; (2)

Uncertainty avoidance; (3) power distance; (4) masculinity; (5) high/ low context. The

categories and indicators that comprise each category were basically adopted from

Singh (2003) framework with certain adjusting according to characteristics of social

networking sites. The following paragraphs offer operational definitions for each

indicator.

Collectivism

Collectivism is an widely used indicator of cultural values generated from

Hofstede's (1980) individual-collectivism (I/C), which can be defined as "people taking

care of themselves and their immediate family only in a loosely knit social structure,









versus people belonging to in-groups to look after them in a tightly knit social

organization" (Hofstede 1980, p.87). In individualistic society, people are centered on "I";

hence people value self-reliance, achievement, independence and freedom (Hofstede

1980). Advertisements in individualistic cultures usually emphasize individuality,

independence, self-reliance, competition, success, autonomy, non-conformity, and self-

benefit (Cha, 1994; Paek et al., 2004; Albers-Miller & Gelb, 1996; Cho et al., 1999;

Cheng & Schweitzer, 1996; Mueller, 1987; Zandpour et al., 1994). In collectivistic

cultures, the emphasis is "we." People's identities are based on the groups and society

in which they belong (Cha, 1994). In this strong group-tie society, people are

encouraged to follow group norms, group success, and even sacrifice themselves for

the betterment of society (Yau, 1988). Therefore, ads in collectivistic cultures typically

reflect family security, family ties, group belonging, group fulfillment, harmony, and

benefits to others (Lin, 2001; Han & Shavitt, 1994, Cho et al., 1999; Han & Shavitt 1994;

Miracle et al., 1992; Mueller, 1987).

In this study, Community Relations, Clubs or Chat Rooms, Family Theme, Country

Specific News, Symbols & Pictures of National Identity, Loyalty Program and Links to

Local web sites are employed as indicators of collectivism.

Uncertainty Avoidance

The extent to which a society is averse to tolerant of risk is also an indicator of

cultural values. A high uncertainty avoidance society tends to avoid uncertain situations

and risk, and values security over adventure, which reflects the culture's traditional

beliefs and conservative values (Hofstede, 1980). As Gudykunst (1998) stated,

individuals in such cultures prefer clear directions, instructions, and rules. A global

internet use study by Lynch et al. (2001) indicated that Asian consumers feel less









secure when shopping online. A study by Straub et al. (1997) also indicated that

societies high on uncertainty avoidance use electronic media less often since electronic

media are intangible, which increase feelings of uncertainty. Hence, since the Internet is

a technologically complicated new medium, marketers need to make great efforts to

help consumers in high uncertainty avoidance society to reassure and reduce

uncertainty in their online experience (Singh, 2003).

The subcategories we used to define uncertainty avoidance include: Customer

service, Guided Navigation, Tradition Theme, Local terminology, Free Trials and

Downloads, Customer Testimonials, and Toll Free Numbers.

Power Distance

Hofstede (1980) stated that the power distance indicator explains how different

cultures treat inequalities in social structure. Singh (2003) further pointed out that high

power distance societies emphasize social status, referent power, authority, and

legitimacy; conversely, low power distance societies usually care more about

egalitarianism, equally rights, and less hierarchy. Hence, people in high power distance

societies are more likely to respect authority figures and the elderly, whose opinions and

suggestions greatly influence people (Singh, 2003). Japan is famous for its strict

societal hierarchy, and Mueller's (1987) study proves that social status appeals are

used extensively in Japanese advertisements. Many previous studies have shown that

higher power distance societies usually use higher power distance related appeals.

The indicators used to address power distance are: Hierarchy Information,

Pictures of the Subject, Quality Information and Awards, Vision Statement, Pride of

Ownership Appeal, and Proper Titles.









Masculinity

According to Hofstede (1980), masculine cultures emphasize directness, power,

explicitness, decisiveness, and mastery over nature because these qualities emphasize

boldness, ambition, and success. To such culture, ads focus on showing a product's

superior performance and capacity to accomplish goals (Singh, 2003). On the contrary,

feminine cultures value nature, beauty, and ambiguity of gender roles, and are more

inclined to fantasy, imagery, and oneness with nature (Singh, 2003). We can find in

several of Hofstede's studies (1980, 1991, & 1993) that Japan is the most masculine

culture, followed by the U.S.

Indicators of masculinity: Quizzes and Games, Realism Theme, Product

Effectiveness, Clear Gender Roles.

High Context-Low Context

Hall (1976, p. 91) believed "a high context communication or message is one in

which most of the information is already in the person, while very little is in the coded,

explicit, transmitted part of the message." Accordantly, Cho et al. (1999) also pointed

out that in high-context cultures harmony, beauty, and oneness with nature are

emphasized. Hence, advertisements in these kinds of cultures are implicit, indirect,

polite, modest, and even ambiguous, and characterized by indirect verbal expressions,

and few direct comparisons (deMooiji, 1998; Mueller, 1987). According to the study by

Hall (1976) and Hall and Mildred (1990), China and Japan are high-context cultures.

Conversely, in a low context, information is expressed in explicit code. Thus,

messages conveyed in the form of discounts, sales promotions, and aggressive selling

with direct, explicit, and confrontational appeals are common in such cultures (Culter &









Raj Shekhar, 1992; Singh, 2003). The U.S. is a good example of a low-context culture,

where comparison ads and hard-sell appeals are common. (Mueller, 1987)

Indicators of high context that we will use in this study: Politeness, Soft sell,

Esthetic. Indicators of low context: Rank or Prestige of the Company, Hard Sell

Approach, Explicit Comparisons, Use of Superlatives, and Terms and Conditions.

Coding

A standard coding sheet served as a guide and orientation for the coders. Data

were recorded on the coding sheet first and then entered into an Excel database. All

units were coded by the researcher. A trained co-coder, who speaks both Chinese and

English and experiences in content analysis, co-coded a random sample of 50% of the

units. A detailed coding book (Appendix B) was used to train and guide both the coder

and co-coder through the coding process.

Since the coding scheme employed in this study is borrowed from Singh's (2005)

study on international companies' Web sites, we needed a pretest to modify this coding

scheme to apply to the study of fan pages of social networking sites specifically and

make sure that the indicators reflect the real meanings of the concepts.

A pretest was done to train the co-coder and modify the coding scheme and reveal

any inconsistence between the coder and co-coder. It found that the most challenging

thing is to identify indicators on fan page, especially abstract ones. For example,

abstract indicators like "community relations" are defined by coders' personal

understanding of whether "group well being" and "preserving the welfare of others" are

evident on certain fan pages. This, as a result, generates inconsistencies between the

coder and the co-coder since different understandings of concept like "community

relations," "family theme," "tradition theme," "hierarchy information," etc, induce









incongruent coding results. It was decided that the best way to overcome this obstacle

would be to specify all indicators with specific measures. For instance, the sub-indicator

for "community relations" is the absence of unfriendly conversations, disrespectful

speech or disputes displayed in wall and discussion boards.

Meanwhile, overlapped indicators reflected by the same phenomenon are deleted.

For example, "tradition theme" indicates the same phenomenon as "community

relations" and "family theme" does in fan pages; hence, "tradition theme" is eliminated.

Similarly, "pride of ownership" is eliminated because it overlaps with "hierarchy

information" and "quality and awards," "use of superlatives" is deleted for repeating

"ranks or prestige," "picture of the fan page owner" is screened for repeating "vision

statement," and "product/service effectiveness" is eliminated because of overlapping

"quality information and awards." Table 2 is the comparison of original framework of

Singh (2003) and modified framework used in this study. The final coding book is

showed in Appendix B.

The inter-coder reliability was measured by implementing Holsti's Coefficient of

Reliability to items co-coded when co-coding was completed with the revised codebook

and codesheet. The overall Holsti score was .80.









Table 3-2. Comparison of the original framework of Singh (2003) and modified
framework used in this study
Singh's (2003) Framework Framework of this study
Collectivism Collectivism
1. Community Relations 1. Community Relations
2. Clubs or Chat Rooms 2. Family Theme
3. Newsletter 3. Country Specific News
4. Family Theme 4. Symbols & Pictures of National/Group
5. Country Specific News Identity
6. Symbols & Pictures of National Identity 5. Loyalty Programs
7. Loyalty Program 6. Links to Local Web sites
8. Links to Local Web sites


Uncertainty Avoidance
1. Customer Service
2. Secure Payment
3. Guided Navigation
4. Tradition Theme
5. Local Stores
6. Local Terminology
7. Free Trails or Downloads
8. Customer Testimonials
9. Toll Free Numbers
Power Distance
1. Company Hierarchy Information
2. Pictures of CEO's
3. Quality Information and Awards
4. Vision Statement
5. Pride of Ownership Appeal
6. Proper Titles
Masculinity
1. Quizzes and Games
2. Realism Theme
3. Product Effectiveness
4. Clear Gender Roles
High Context
1. Politeness
2. Soft Sell Approach
3. Aesthetic
Low Context
1. Hard Sell Approach
2. Ranks or Prestige of the Company
3. Explicit Comparisons
4. Use of Superlatives
5. Terms and Conditions


Uncertainty Avoidance
1. Customer Service
2. Guided Navigation
3. Local Terminology
4. Free Trials or Downloads
5. Member Testimonials


Power Distance
1. Hierarchy Information
2. Quality Information and Awards
3. Vision Statement
4. Proper Titles


Masculinity
1. Quizzes and Games
2. Realism Theme
3. Clear Gender Roles


High Context
4. Politeness
5. Soft Sell Approach
6. Aesthetic
Low Context
1. Hard Sell Approach
2. Ranks or Prestige of the fan page
Owner
3. Explicit Comparisons
4. Terms and Conditions


Items with underline are not included in this study's coding scheme.









CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS

Final Sample

The final sample consisted of 28 pairs of fan pages. Two pairs were eliminated,

including the fan page of Switzerland Tourism, (excluded because its Facebook link

became a dead link since the day starting coding) and the fan page of the Harlem

Globetrotters, (discarded because the language on its Facebook page is not English

Overall, 28 pairs of fan pages, 56 pages in total, were coded. Among these, 28

were from Facebook, 17 were from Kaixin001, and 11 were from Renren.

Results

Paired-samples t-tests were performed to discover cultural differences in U.S. and

China SNS fan pages. All 25 cultural value variables were compared between

Facebook fan pages and Chinese social networking sites fan pages to test for cultural

differences.

For the purpose of testing the research hypotheses, an overall score of each

category (Collectivism, Uncertainty Avoidance, Power Distance, Masculinity, and High &

Low Context) was computed. Singh's (2003) method of calculating frequency of each

indicator was used, which is: "calculating the average presence of each of the sub-

categories within each dimension, and recording it as an aggregated score for that

cultural dimension" (Singh, 2003). For instance, the aggregated score for the cultural

dimension collectivism was calculated by counting the presence of all six indicators of

collectivism on a fan page: Community Relations, Family Theme, Country Specific

News, Symbols and Pictures of National/Group Identity, Loyalty Programs, and Links to

Local Web sites, and then divided the number by six (Singh, 2003). A paired-samples t-









test was then executed. Results are showen in Table 3. Each cultural dimension is

represented by the aggregated data for each dimension.

Collectivism

The first research question asked whether Chinese SNS fan pages are more

likely than U.S. SNS fan pages to have collectivistic indicators.

As shown in Table 3, the occurrence of collectivist features on Chinese SNS fan

pages (56.6%) is not more than that of U.S. pages (57.1%). A t-test revealed that the

collectivist features are common in both Chinese and U.S. SNS fan pages (U.S. = 3.43,

China =3.39, t(27) = .19, p< .91). Hence, Hypothesis 1 that China SNS fan pages will

have a greater number of collectivism indicators than U.S. SNS was not supported.

Closely examined, all indicators, except Links to Local Web sites, seem to present

in equal numbers in the two countries' fan pages: Community Relations (U.S.: 60.7% vs.

China: 75%), Family Theme (U.S.: 57.1% vs. China: 67.9%), Symbol and Pictures of

Nation/Group Identity(U.S.: 92.9% vs. China: 96.4%), Country Specific News (U.S.:

50% vs. China: 39.3%), and Loyalty Programs (U.S.: 50% vs. China: 57.1%). In

particular, Community Relations, Family Theme, Symbol and Pictures of Nation/Group

Identity and Loyalty Programs were common (frequency > 50%). However, there were

many more Links to Local Web sites (U.S.: 32.1% vs. China: 3.6%, t (27) = -.009, p< .83)

on U.S. fan pages.

Uncertainty Avoidance

It was hypothesized that Chinese SNS fan pages would show a greater number

of uncertainty avoidance features than its U.S. counterparts, due to the high uncertainty

avoidance nature among Chinese people (Singh, 2003).









The results showed that the overall frequency of occurrence of uncertainty

avoidance was similar in two countries (U.S.: 51.4% vs. China: 53.6%, t (27) = -.89,

p< .38). Thus Hypothesis 2 was not supported.

Table 3 shows that all indicators that comprise the Uncertainty Avoidance cultural

value dimension occur in equal frequencies in two countries: Customer Service (U.S.:

3.6% vs. China: 10.7%), Guided Navigation (U.S.: 100% vs. China: 100), Local

Terminology (U.S.: 89.3% vs. China: 100), Free Trial or Downloads (U.S.: 3.6% vs.

China: 7.1%), and Member Testimonials (U.S.: 60.7% vs. China: 50%). Guided

Navigation, Local Terminology and Member Testimonials are widely used

(frequency >50%) in both countries. Conversely, Customer Service was less prevalent,

especially in the U.S. SNS fan pages (frequency <10%).

Power Distance

The third research question asked whether more Power Distance indicators will

be present in Chinese SNS fan pages than U.S. ones. Hypothesis 3 proposed that

China would show more power distance features on its SNS fan pages as compared to

those in the U.S.

Power Distance indicators were significantly different between the two countries'

SNS fan pages. As expected, the occurrence of Power Distance indicators was

relatively higher in Chinese versus U.S. pages and the difference is significant (U.S.:

44.7% vs. China: 55.4%, t (27) = -2.12, p< .043). Hence Hypothesis 3 was supported.

China SNS fan pages employed more Hierarchy Information (39.3%), Quality

Information and Awards (82.1%), and Proper Titles (17.9%) indicators than did the U.S.

SNS fan pages (25%, 53.6%, & 10.7%, in that order). Indicator of Quality Information

and Awards was much more prominently depicted in China SNS fan pages than the U.S.









ones (U.S.: 53.6% vs. China: 82.1%, t (27) = -2.83, p< .009). However, the frequency of

occurrence of Vision Statement was equal in both fan pages (U.S.: 89.3% vs. China:

78.6%).

Masculinity

Research question four asked if branding on the China SNS fan pages would

have a greater number of masculinity indicators than U.S. ones, and it was

hypothesized that the China SNS fan pages would score higher on Masculinity.

The results of the analysis revealed that masculinity indicators in China SNS fan

pages (51.2%) did not differ from the U.S. (41.7%). Thus Hypothesis 4 was not

supported.

The occurrence of all sub-categories of the Masculinity cultural value dimension,

including Quizzes and Games (U.S.: 39.3% vs. China: 57.1%), Realism Theme (U.S.:

71.4% vs. China: 78.6%), and Clear Gender Roles (U.S.: 14.3% vs. China: 17.9%),

were similar in both countries.

High vs. Low Context

The fifth research question asked whether Chinese SNS fan pages would be

more likely than U.S. SNS fan pages to have High Context indicators. Hypothesis 5a

proposed that branding on China SNS fan pages would have a greater number of High

Context indicators than the U.S. SNS, while hypothesis 5b proposed that U.S. SNS fan

pages would show Low Context indicators more prominently.

The results of the analysis showed that only hypothesis 5a was supported: China

SNS fan pages contained a greater number of High Context indicators (U.S.: 35.7% vs.

China: 58.3%, t (27) = -4.42, p< 0.001) than did the U.S. SNS fan pages. About 75% of

the China SNS fan pages, compared with only 21.4% of the U.S. SNS fan pages, used









a Politeness indicator. In a similar vein, 71.4% of China SNS fan pages employed Soft

Sell Approach indicators, compared with only 57.1% of the U.S. SNS fan pages.

However, the percentage of occurrence of Aesthetic indicators was the same in both

China and U.S. fan pages (U.S.: 28.6% vs. China: 28.6%).

With respect to the Low Context, however, there was no mean difference

between the U.S. and China SNS fan pages (U.S = 1.75, China = 2.07, t (27) = -1.27,

p< .21). Thus hypothesis 5b was not supported. Closely examined, the overall

frequency of the occurrence of Hard Sell Approach was slightly higher on the U.S. SNS

fan pages (57.1%) than on the China SNS fan pages (39.3%), and the overall frequency

of the occurrence of Ranks or Prestige of the fan page was slightly lower on the U.S.

SNS fan pages (50%) comparing with the China SNS fan pages (71.4%). However,

indicators of Explicit Comparisons were not found in either country's SNS fan pages

(U.S. = 0, China = 0). In addition, the use of Terms and Conditions differed significantly

in two countries' SNS fan pages (U.S.: 67.9% vs. China: 96.4%, t (27) = -2.83, p< .009),

which was much more prevalent in China SNS fan pages.

Table 4-1. Frequency and mean of items under cultural value categories: A comparison
of the U.S. and China SNS fan pages
U.S. China
Items t-test (p<)
Frequency Mea Frequency Mea
(%) n (%) n
Collectivism 57.1 3.43 56.6 3.39 0.118 0.91

1. Community Relations 60.7 0.61 75.0 0.75 1.441 0.16

2. Family Theme 57.1 0.57 67.9 0.68 0.827 0.42
3. Country Specific
News 50.0 0.50 39.3 0.39 0.827 0.42









Table 4-1. Continued
4. Symbols and
Pictures of
National/Group Identity 92.9 0.93 96.4 0.96 1.000 0.33

5. Loyalty Programs 50.0 0.50 57.1 0.57 0.570 0.57
6. Links to Local Web
sites 32.1 0.32 3.6 0.04 2.83 0.009

Uncertainty
Avoidance 51.4 2.54 53.6 2.68 0.891 0.38

1. Customer Service 3.6 0.04 10.7 0.11 1.000 0.33
2. Guided Navigation 100.0 1.00 100.0 1.00 / /

3. Local Terminology 89.3 0.89 100.0 1.00 1.800 0.08
4. Free Trial or
Downloads 3.6 0.04 7.1 0.07 0.570 0.57
5. Member
Testimonials 60.7 0.61 50.0 0.50 1.140 0.26


Power Distance 44.7 1.79 55.4 2.21 2.121 0.043
1. Hierarchy
Information 25.0 0.25 39.3 0.39 1.441 0.16
2. Quality Information
and Awards 53.6 0.54 82.1 0.82 2.828 0.009
3. Vision Statement 89.3 0.89 78.6 0.86 0.570 0.57

4. Proper Titles 10.7 0.11 17.9 0.14 0.570 0.57


Masculinity 41.7 1.25 51.2 1.54 1.982 0.06

1. Quizzes and Games 39.3 0.39 57.1 0.57 1.544 0.13

2. Realism Theme 71.4 0.71 78.6 0.79 0.812 0.42

3. Clear Gender Roles 14.3 0.14 17.9 0.18 1.000 0.33









Table 4-1. Continued

High Context 35.7 1.04 58.3 1.75 4.423 0.001

1. Politeness 21.4 0.21 75.0 0.75 5.582 0.001

2. Soft Sell Approach 57.1 0.57 71.4 0.71 1.441 0.16
3. Aesthetic 28.6 0.29 28.6 0.29 / /


Low Context 43.8 1.75 51.8 2.07 1.274 0.21
1. Hard Sell Approach 57.1 0.57 39.3 0.39 1.411 0.17
2. Ranks or Prestige of
the Fan Page Owner 50.0 0.50 71.4 0.71 1.652 0.11
3. Explicit Comparisons 0.0 0.00 0.0 0.00 / /
4. Terms and
Conditions 67.9 0.68 96.4 0.96 2.828 0.009









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

Discussion

We examined six cultural characteristics in a new channel of advertising: social

networking sites fan pages. This is consistent with Taylor's (2005) call for progressing

cross-cultural advertising research forward. Those characteristics include cultural values

and cultural context, which were imported from two prominent frameworks in cross-

cultural advertising research: Hofstede's individualism/collectivism framework and Hall's

(1976) high/low context framework. Cultural values were constructed from indicators of

collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance, and masculinity, while cultural

context was comprised of high cultural context and low cultural context.

Perhaps surprisingly, the findings showed only partial support for differences in

China and the U.S. for these two dominant cultural research frameworks. China SNS

fan pages did not present more collectivistic features than their U.S. counterparts. The

two countries showed similar use of features of collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and

masculinity. With respect to the high/low context framework, the findings showed that

China SNS fan pages employed significantly more high context characteristics than did

those in the U.S.; however, the occurrences of low context indicators were similar in two

countries' SNS fan pages. Under the sub-category of terms and conditions, China

showed significantly higher frequency than did the U.S.

Why were so few differences found? Perhaps the cultural framework of

Hofstede's individualism/collectivism does not fit SNS fan pages context well.

Hofstede's I/C framework was developed from survey of IBM employees in different

national subsidiaries around 1970, the sample of which were nonmanageriall









professionals, technical and clerical employees of marketing and service divisions, and

first-line and middle-level managers in national IBM subsidiaries around the world. As

IBM employees, they represented a well-matched, but rather narrow, segment of each

of the 40 countries and, simultaneously, a strong corporate culture" (Hofstede, 1998).

Hence, the samples of narrow segment made the effect of the I/C framework limited. On

the other hand, the time of implementing the survey makes its result, the I/C framework,

outdated (Hofstede, 1998). Thus the I/C framework is possibly a misfit (Paek et al.,

2009) for one of the newest marketing tools: SNS fan page, which targets population

worldwide.

deMooij's (1998) "cultural value paradox" may offer another explanation for the

findings. deMooij (1998) argues that values present in advertising are paradoxical to

dominant cultural values since there is a distinction between "desirable" social norms

and "desired" individual choices (deMooij, 1999; Taylor, 2005). deMooij (2009) believes

this leads advertising to reflect values oriented to progress, rather than a society's

traditional values. He suggests that this is particularly true in countries with rapid

economic develop ment. In this case, the findings indicated that China SNS fan pages

showed many similarities in cultural values with their U.S. counterparts, such as high

collectivism, high uncertainty avoidance, and high low-context. It suggests that branded

SNS fan pages in China head reflect modern, western culture values.

Third, the findings may be due to the unique nature of the Internet as a new

medium. The Internet's new features, like information sharing and interaction, are

leading to "cultural convergence" (Paek et al., 2009) and the "global village," where

"universal culture" (Paek et al., 2009) emerges along with traditional cultures and









national borders disappearing. Though cultural and language difficulties still exist, the

trend toward integration is dominant on the Internet.

Fourth, the culture on SNS fan page is even more converged (Paek et al., 2009)

than in other internet activities. SNS fan page is one of the best interaction tools

between marketers and customers, where customers from different regions and cultures

are able to communicate with their favorite brands directly. To better communicate with

their customers with diverse cultural backgrounds, the fan page hosts are making

information and activities provided in fan pages widely understandable and favorable,

which requires good ability in cultural convergence, especially for international brands.

This nature and ability of SNS fan pages make it impossible to measure them with

polarized cultural framework. On the other hand, the nature of a SNS fan page is a

community and the purpose of the community is to increase members' brand loyalty by

attracting their participation. These decide that members, especially active members, of

a fan page are high on group belonging, co-fulfillment, and co-benefit. Thus the

community nature of a SNS fan page makes it generally collectivistic.

Last but not least, the two China social networking sites we studied this time are

both established based on Facebook. They have the similar business model and

functions design including their navigation design and interface design (see Figure 5-1),

which generate more or less similarity in perceptions and behaviors of both host and

members. In many cases it appears both sites make a conscious effort to imitate

Facebook as a way to benefit from its popularity.

To sum up, we did not see clear evidence of cultural differences manifested in

branding on the U.S. and China social networking sites fan pages from this study.










....... U....E ..- fl N t i b- 4 I S.. .4.A. g. .. Al... *3f .*M ..- S.. A in

ELLE's Facebook page ELLE's Renren page









.dimensions including collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity, and low context.





on China SNS fan pages should pay more attention to communication context over
cultural values. High context indicators were mar ore frequent in China SNS fan pages





than in U.S. ones. Chinese SNS fan pages are more fancy and colorful, and use more
applying cross- e theories when marketing on China SNS fan pages. Generally,



























traditional cultural values are not dominant in China SNS fan pages, while behaviors of
cofn a i te U.. S f pes, tey behe silaeng dern western cullectist



features facilitating interaction in fan pages should be paid close attention. For exampleions

First of all, this study suggested that international marketers who want to market
on China SNELLE's Facebook pages should pay more attention to communication context over

cuFigltural values. HighELLE's Facebook page vs. Renre more frequent in China SNS fan page

than in U.S. ones.ough Chinese SNS fan pages used relatively more features of power distanceful, and highuse more

emoticontext than did the U.Sppeals. MaSNS fan pages use, they behaved similarly undrather mosthan default ones culturall




First of all, things alstudy suggested that international marketers should be autious about

applon Ching cross-culture theories whenpay more attention on to communication pagcontext ovGenerally,

traditional cultural values. High context indicators were more frequedominant in China SNS fan pages, while behaviors of

than in U.S. ones. Chinese SNS fan pages' members are moreflecting modern, western values. Howeverlorful, and use morellectivistic







features facilitating interaction in fan pages should be paid close attention. For example,












.... ..







Twilight's Facebook page Twilight's Renren page

Figure 5-2. Twilight's Facebook page vs. Renren page

features of community relations, family themes, symbols and pictures of nation/group

identity, loyalty programs, guided navigations, local terminology, member testimonials,

quality information and awards, vision statement, and soft sell approach are frequently

(frequency > 50%) emphasized in both countries' SNS fan pages. The findings indicated

that these features are not only typical eastern culture characteristics, but also elements

facilitating SNS fan pages activities.

Third, China SNS fan pages are surprisingly high in using informative appeals.

Frequency of occurrence of quality information and awards indicators and terms and

conditions indicators are higher on China SNS fan pages. This is particularly true for

international brands, such as ELLE and Loreal. Hence, the findings indicated that

detailed information of history, development, honor, quality, and characteristics of a

brand and product is applicable and useful for helping international companies entering

emerging markets like China.

Finally, there are four suggestions for China SNS fan pages that stem from

successes on Facebook. The first is that the China SNS fan pages should feature more

member testimonials. These are frequently used in Facebook (frequency = 60.7%).









Electronic word-of-mouth is an effective marketing tool because people are more likely

to trust peer endorsements over marketing ones. A second suggestion is to add

discussion boards. Discussion boards are lacking in two China SNSs' fan pages that

were sampled. However, fostering discussion topics is a great way to increase

community participation. Third, China SNS fan pages should be multifunctional. Many

successful fan pages on Facebook are not only places where fans exchange ideas and

share information, but micro-Web sites where fans can easily purchase a product, get

customer service, etc. Finally, China SNS fan pages hosts should study their American

counterparts for marketing insights about products like movies (e.g., Twilight), TV shows

(e.g. Friends), and deceased celebrities (e.g. Michael Jackson). It is very difficult to

market products related to movies, TV shows, and musicians when they become part of

history. However, Facebook pages of Twilight, Avatar, Friends, and Michael Jackson

are used to sustain their influence and to sell related products. Some special elements

of these fan pages include update information of actors, gift (real or virtual products)

centers, contents/works reviews, and downloads of related iPhone apps.

Limitations and Directions for Future Research

First, the sample size was rather small (28 pairs of fan pages), which may have

resulted in a lack of statistical power. The small size is due to the immaturity of China

SNS fan pages that they don't have enough international companies set fan pages there.

The strict standard of sampling is probably another explanation for the small sample

size. This research focused on fan pages that serve the same brand in two countries'

SNS. This strict sampling is a better way to identify cultural differences in two countries'

SNS fan pages. However, future studies should examine a larger sample size of SNS









fan pages as China SNS become more mature in order to test if the findings in this

study are true.

Second, the coding scheme is borrowed from Singh's (2003) framework. Though

some modifications were made to make this coding scheme fit SNS fan pages better, it

would be more useful to have a customized coding scheme for cultural differences on

SNS fan pages.

Third, in certain pairs of fan pages, members of each page are significantly

different. For example, UEFA's Renren fan page has 70,712 members, but its Facebook

page has only 10 members. This difference of membership makes some comparisons

suspect. Fortunately, the number of samples with great difference of member numbers

is small (2 of 28).

Fourth, due to the function design, the coding scheme may not be comprehensive

enough. For instance, the indicator of a chat room/discussion board is eliminated from

the sub-category of collectivism because discussion boards are a function that

Facebook page provides but neither KaixinOO1 nor Renren does.

Fifth, we looked at only one type of social networking sites fan pages. We selected

fan pages from social networking sites of general function, like Facebook, but ignored

other types of social networking sites like MySpace, Twitter, and so on. Because the

coding scheme of this study is empirically applicable (Singh, 2003), future study can

replicate it to SNS in other types and languages.

Finally, because only attitudinal aspects of culture were measured in this study,

future studies should combine a more complete list of cultural dimensions to measure









"perceptual, attitudinal, behavioral, and symbolic aspects of cultural reality" (Singh,

2003).

In spite of these limitations, this study helps develop the scope of cross-culture

advertising research by applying it to a new medium: SNS fan pages. We believe this

study will help international marketers brand on the U.S. and China SNS fan pages.










APPENDIX A
CODE SHEET


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APPENDIX B
CODING BOOK

1. Coder ID:
1. Coder, 2. Co-coder

2. Unit of Analysis ID: (pre-entered by researcher)

3. Website: Use number that corresponds to the website.
1. Facebook
2. Kaixin001
3. Renren

4. Fan Page Category: Use number that corresponds to the website.
1. Products
2. Service
3. Restaurants
4. Organizations
5. Government officials
6. Non-profits
7. TV shows
8. Films
9. Sports teams
10. Celebrities / public figures
11. Musicians

5. Name of the Fan Page Owner: enter the name of the Fan Page owner as it
appears at the headline of each Fan Page. For example, enter ELLE for ELLE's
Fan Page.

6. What indicators of collectivism are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter number that
corresponds to the indicator showed in a Fan Page. Enter "A" after the number
when the indicator is indicated by Fan Page Owner, and enter "B" after the
number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may contain
more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that Page,
separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented.
1. Community relations: emphasis on group well being (Cho et al., 1997) and
preserving the welfare of others (Gudykunst, 1998). No unfriendly
conversations, disrespectful speeches, or disputes showed in wall or
discussion or chat rooms, etc.
2. Family theme: appeals about nurturance theme, wherein fans of this page
provide each other with support and sympathy. Appeals about the integrity
of or belonging to family or social groups. For example, active response to
other members' speeches, opinions, comments, and etc.
3. Country specific news: updates, ideas, opinions, or comments related to
country's specific news.









4. Symbols and pictures of national/group identity: obvious symbols and
pictures of national or group identity. For example, national flag, country
name, and logo of an organization/business/celebrity are all qualified to be
this indicator.
5. Loyalty programs: program to increase members' participation,
commitment and loyalty. Like offline activities.
6. Links to local websites: Having links to local websites shows that the
company is well connected in the country, and has legitimate relationships
with local companies/organizations.

7. What indicators of Uncertainty avoidance are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter
number that corresponds to the indicator showed in a Fan Page. Enter "A" after
the number when the indicator is indicated by Fan Page Owner, and enter "B"
after the number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may
contain more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that
Page, separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented.
1. Customer service: assistance for fans' problems related to the page or the
Fan Page owner. Like toll-free number, email address or other contact
methods.
2. Guided navigation: simply and clearly designed page navigation to help
avoid ambiguous situations.
3. Local terminology: widely used local metaphors, puns and idioms from
both marketers and fans.
4. Free trials or downloads
5. Member testimonials: members' endorsements of using the product,
service or attending activities and recommendations to a
product/service/activity.

8. What indicators of Power Distance are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter number
that corresponds to the indicator showed in a Fan Page. Enter "A" after the
number when the indicator is indicated by Fan Page Owner, and enter "B" after
the number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may
contain more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that
Page, separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented.
1. Hierarchy information: information showing hierarchical structures and
social statuses. Appeals advocating that the product/service/celebrity is a
symbol of high social status and activities of following it will bring you to
high social class.
2. Quality information and awards: quality certifications and awards that
strengthen members' confidence to this product/service/celebrity.
3. Vision statement: pictures and videos showed Fan Page owner's power.
4. Proper titles: titles that the Fan Page owner given to itself/himself/herself,
given by the members or imported from the third party.









9. What indicators of Masculinity are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter number that
corresponds to the indicator showed in a Fan Page. Enter "A" after the number
when the indicator is indicated by Fan Page Owner, and enter "B" after the
number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may contain
more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that Page,
separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented.
1. Quizzes and games: applications of quizzes and games that emphasize
the basic value of enjoyment (Pollay, 1983), mastery over nature, and
reflect adventure theme, thrill and gaming (Cheng and Schweitzer, 1996).
2. Realism theme: appeals reflected or emphasized on reality rather than
fancy. Focusing on showing a product's superior performance and
capacity to accomplish goals (Singh, 2003).
3. Clear gender roles: gender roles are clearly differentiated (Hofstede,
1991). Appeals admire women's beauty, men's power, and emphasize
men's domination in the society.

10. What indicators of High context are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter number
that corresponds to the indicator showed in a Fan Page. Enter "A" after the
number when the indicator is indicated by Fan Page Owner, and enter "B" after
the number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may
contain more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that
Page, separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented.
1. Politeness: politeness and respect to each other are highly emphasized.
Members and the Fan Page owner try hard to make friends with other
members in the group. Members are unlikely to argue with others. Fan
Page owner tries to resolve any problems and relieve any conflict in the
page.
2. Soft Sell approach: messages are implicit and indirect. Direct comparisons
are not viewed favorably (Mueller, 1987).
3. Aesthetic: emphasize harmony, beauty, and oneness with nature (Cho et
al., 1999). Use of art, designs, beautiful scenery, and nature appeals are
emphasized (Mueller, 1987; Gudykunst, 1998).

11. What indicators of Low context are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter number
that corresponds to the indicator showed in a Fan Page. Enter "A" after the
number when the indicator is indicated by Fan Page Owner, and enter "B" after
the number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may
contain more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that
Page, separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented.
1. Hard sell approach: communications are direct, explicit and even
confrontational (Hall, 1976). Use of direct and confrontational appeals in
the form of discounts, sales promotions and aggressive selling is common
(Cutler and Javalgi, 1992).
2. Ranks or prestige of the Fan Page owner: highlight ranks, the benefits,
and the prestige of the product/service/brand/celebrity (Mueller, 1987).









3. Explicit comparisons: appeals of direct and explicit comparison with
competitors.
4. Terms and conditions: communications are informative. Emphasize clarity,
background information, and directness. The information is vested in the
explicit code (Hall, 1976).









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Liuyi Yang came to the University of Florida to pursue her master's degree in

advertising after finishing her BA in advertising in Beijing, China. Her research interests

focus on cross-culture advertising and interactive advertising.





PAGE 1

1 CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS MANIFESTED IN BRANDING ON U.S. AND CHINA SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES FAN PAGES By LIUYI YANG A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQU IREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ADVERTISING UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010

PAGE 2

2 2010 Liuyi Yang

PAGE 3

3 To my family, the source of my strength

PAGE 4

4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I express my sincere appreciation to Professor Weigold for his wise guidance and supervi sion. Also I would like to thank Dr. Treise and Dr.Goodman in helping me broaden my knowledge. I give m y deep gratitude to Jing Wen in helping me collecting information and co coding data Finally, an honorable mention goes to my famil y and friends for the ir supports on me in completing this thesis

PAGE 5

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 10 Purpose of the Research ................................ ................................ ........................ 10 Internet Branding ................................ ................................ .............................. 10 Rapid Development of Social Networking Sites Worldwide .............................. 10 Expanding Cross Culture Research ................................ ................................ 11 The Importance of Social Networking Sites Fan Pages as Research Objects ........ 12 Influence of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) on Internet Marketing ................. 12 SNS Fan Pages are an Effective Internet Marketing Tool ................................ 13 Implications for Marketers Interested in SNS Pages in China .......................... 14 Related Research is Limited ................................ ................................ ............. 15 How Cul tural Characteristics Are Examined in This Research ............................... 15 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 16 Reasons for Examining the Influence of Cultural Va lues to Marketing ................... 16 .......................... 17 Cross Cultural Advertising Theories ................................ ................................ ....... 18 Cross culture Advertising Framework for This Study ................................ .............. 21 Development of Online Marketing ................................ ................................ ........... 22 Results of Information Technology Development ................................ ............. 22 Advantages the Internet Offers over Traditional Media ................................ .... 23 Branding on Fan Page of SNS ................................ ................................ ................ 24 Definition of SNS ................................ ................................ .............................. 24 Introduction to SNS, Online Brand Community and Fan Page ......................... 24 Influence of Online Brand Community to Marketing ................................ ......... 26 The Culture and Language Difficulties ................................ ................................ .... 28 Introduction of Facebook, Kaixin001 and Renren ................................ ................... 29 Facebook ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 29 Kaixin001 ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 29 Renren ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 30 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 30 Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 31

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6 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 32 Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 32 Study Method Content Analysis ................................ ................................ ..... 32 Universe ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 33 Universe: fan pages of Facebook, Kaixin001 and Renren ............................... 33 Reasons for Choosing Facebook, Kaixin001, and Renren ............................... 33 Sampling ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 35 Unit of Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 37 Coding Scheme ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 37 Collectivism ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 38 Uncertainty Avoidance ................................ ................................ ..................... 39 Power Distance ................................ ................................ ................................ 40 Masculinity ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 41 High Context Low Context ................................ ................................ ................ 41 Coding ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 42 4 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 45 Final Sample ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 45 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 45 Collectivism ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 46 Uncertainty Avoidance ................................ ................................ ..................... 46 Power Distance ................................ ................................ ................................ 47 Masculinity ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 48 High vs. Low Context ................................ ................................ ....................... 48 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ........ 52 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 52 Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 55 Limitations and Directions for Future Research ................................ ...................... 57 APPE NDIX A CODE SHEET ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 60 B CODING BOOK ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 61 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 65 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 70

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Top 15 social networking sites ................................ ................................ ............ 34 3 2 Comparison of the original framework of Singh (2003) and modified framework used in this study ................................ ................................ .............. 44 4 1 Frequency and mean of items under cultural value categ ories: A comparison of the U.S. and China SNS fan pages ................................ ................................ 49

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 5 1 ................................ ........................... 55 5 2 ................................ ........................ 56

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9 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of th e Requirements for the Degree of Master of Advertising CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS MANIFESTED IN BRANDING ON U.S. AND CHINA SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES FAN PAGES By Liuyi Yang August 2010 Chair: Michael F. Weigold Major: Advertising This study applies Sing social networking sites fan pages. Five aspects of culture are examined in this paper: (1) collectivism/individual ism; (2) uncertainty avoidance; (3) power distance; (4) masculinity; China SNS fan pages did not present more collectivistic features than their U.S. counterparts. The tw o countries showed similar use of features of collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity. With respect to the high/low context framework, the findings showed that China SNS fan pages employed significantly more high context characteristics than di d those in the U.S.; however, the occurrences of low context implications for cross culture advertising researchers and marketers are provided.

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10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Purpos e of the Research Internet Branding The development of interactive technologies has changed the brand sphere (de Chernatony S. Drury & S. Segal Horn 2006) dramatically in the past few years (Christodoulides, 2009). The information asymmetry (Erdem & Swai t 1998) between customers and firms with respect to brands has been reversed as a result of the Internet and electronic interactivity. In the industrial age, brand management was a seller centric 200 1 ). The information channel was one way, where customers were exposed to massages designed by brand managers. With the evolution to Web 2.0, a revolution in branding and marketing has occurred. It is changing the way brands a re managed to a bidirectional model, between customers and firms. Increasingly marketing is both for, and by customers (Mitchell, 200 1 ). Rapid Development of Social Networking Sites Worldwide Web 2.0 is defined by user exchange of ideas, information, and transactions on websites. Page (2008) indicated that this ability to share and connect with other users is the defining characteristic of Web 2.0. No online destination is more important in this interact and co create Ad spending on U.S. social networking sites in 2007 was $865 million, up from $350 million in 2006, and it will surpass $2 billion in 2010, according to eMarketer. Worldwide, social network ad spending reached $1.1 billion in 2007, up from $445

PAGE 11

11 million in 2006 and by 2010 spending is forecast to be $2.8 billion worldwide (eMarketer, 2007). Except for rapid development of ad spending on U.S. social networking sites, Lenhart and Madden (200 7) also point out that the role and growth of social networking sites (SNS) has been enormous, especially among teens and young adults. More than 55% of teens online use social networks, and 48% of them visit SNSs daily or more. Marketers are interested in leveraging the power of social networks for branding social networking with personalization, building loyalty through compelling brand E xpanding Cross Culture Research Advertising, like all communications, is culturally bound. Many researchers, including Akbers Miller and Gelb (1996) and deMooij (1998), argue that culturally sensitive messages are more acceptable and persuasive to consume rs (see also Paek, Yu, & Bae, 2009). Although a great number of studies have examined the influence of culture on advertising, there is no comprehensive framework for its role in new media advertising (Taylor, 2005). Taylor (2005) called for researchers to move cross cultural ad research forward in three ways: first, by expanding the range of advertising topics and channels; second, by introducing more cross cultural contexts theories; and third, by testing specific cultural differences reflected in adverti sing across countries. In the spirit of these suggestions, Singh (1999, 2003, 2005) generated a cultural context framework. His approach has been empirically validated in several

PAGE 12

12 network brand pages. The Importance of Social Networking Sites Fan Pages as Research Objects Influence of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) on Internet Marketing SNSs are changing advertising and branding profoundly. Advertising spending in the social networking area is rising faster than spending elsewhere (eMarketer, 2006). In fact, SNS will attract nearly half of the overall dollars generated by all user generat ed content sites in the near future (Gangadharbatla, 2008). SNSs have also changed the way marketers reach consumers (Gangadharbatla, 2008). For example, businesses and organizations use these sites to build community with customers and to communicate with members of that community. In this way, customers easily get access to businesses or organizations they are interested in, exchange information with other business customers worldwide, and express their opinions about these brands/businesses/organizations freely. Marketers are able to monitor customer feedback to improve their service and share information with customers. and capitalize on social networks to derive power from one a 2001). They may share their own perspective on companies and brands, some of which may not be positive or accurate. When customer views conflict with the image a company wishes to convey, it poses a danger to the brand. Many will fi nd peers opinions to be more credible than company messages. Thus, the development of SNSs is a double edge sword for marketers.

PAGE 13

13 SNS Fan Pages are an Effective Internet Marketing Tool SNSs offer companies a way to build relationships with customers. SNSs provide companies a way to collect comprehensive data use for developing and improving communities, personalization and co creation of content at every opportunity to reinforce th One of the most effective marketing methods SNSs offer is the Fan Page. All Fan o connect with you connect with your favorite artists and businesses, but now you also can show your friends what you care about and recommend by adding Pages to your persona (Facebook, 2009). Facebook encourages celebrities, brands, businesses and organizations to create organization and receive automatic updates. Every time some fan, the activity is shared with friends through news feeds. Many restaurants, bars, cafes, sports teams, artists, health and fitness centers, churches, non profit government organizations, politicians, celebrities, and organizations have fan pages on Facebook (Gangadharbatla, 2008). The potential advantage of branding on SNS pages is that the sites are highly targeted and relevant. Gangadharbatla (2008) indicated that SNS users are more likely to pay attention to messages that come fr om the news feed if the information is from a

PAGE 14

14 recommendations. Marketers try to facilitate brand conversations among customers to achieve marketing objectives. Implications f or Marketers Interested in SNS Pages in China According to iResearch (2009), revenue for advertising spending on the Internet in China is $446 million for the first quarter of 2009, an increase of 5.9% from the same quarter in 2008. The SNS market portion is still small since most internet companies are in the investing stage, but it is increasing. In 2008, revenue from advertising in SNSs reached $111 million, and it is estimated if will increase to $147 million for SNSs only in 2009. Kaixin001 and Renre n, the two most popular SNSs in China, have 25 million and 15 million registered users, respectively (Alexa Traffic Details, 2009). Those numbers were accumulated from the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2008 for the two SNSs separately. It is obvious tha t SNSs are great ways to reach markets. They are also likely to experience an exponential growth in users over the next several years. Though SNS growth worldwide is rapid, such sites in China are not as mature as in the U.S. For instance, Renren, a site similar to Facebook, only started a Fan Page service in July 2009 and had just 104 pages by the end of 2009. The most popular applications of kaixin001 are close copies of Facebook applications. The potential of SNSs in China are not yet adequately exploi ted. This paper aims to develop insights for those who want to do marketing via SNSs pages in China. It does so by examining cultural differences in SNS branding in China and the U.S. It also offers Chinese SNS developing strategies and marketing suggestio

PAGE 15

15 Related Research is Limited Research related to this topic is very limited so far, since SNSs in China do not have a long history. However, this is an important topic that needs to be explored since China is a huge em erging market and SNSs are powerful marketing tools. Study of the impact of cultural differences on advertising on SNSs in China and the US would help international marketers to better use this marketing tool to communicate with their target audiences. Ho w Cultural Characteristics Are Examined in This Research framework, five aspects of cultu re are examined in this paper: (1) collectivism/individualism; (2) uncertainty avoidance; (3) power distance; (4) masculinity; (5) high/ low context. The frameworks of Hofstede (1980) and Hall (1976) are used in many cross culture advertising studies, and they have been accepted by many scholars in this field. In this paper, these two types of cultural characteristics are employed to develop a new topic, SNSs Fan Page and new media on the Internet.

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16 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Reasons for Examining the I nfluence of Cultural Values to Marketing Marketing and culture have always been an important issue in the marketing literature. Hofstede (1980) stated that cultural values manifest and express the culture and collective mental programming deepest. Kahle (1 983) believes that culture values are the intersections of individuals and societies, which are internalized from individuals, families, teams, groups, friends and media through socialization. Culture reflects but alues. It demonstrates how individuals in a culture behave in certain situations, how they interact with other members in that culture, and even shape perceptions, motivations, attitudes, behaviors, and life styles (Feather, 1995; Tse, Belk, & Zhou, 1989). personality, we can also understand culture by learning about media, ads and marketing behaviors (Albe rs Miller & Stafford, 1999; Tse et al. 1989). Effective advertising and marketing are tightly l inked to the underlying culture of the markets targeted; in another words, effective advertising and marketing reflect cultural values and culturally insensitive ads are less persuasive (Mueller, 1987; Zandpour, et al. 1994). Thus, an important job of mark eters is identifying and satisfying the needs of consumers within different cultures (Singh et al 2005). Many researchers have done studies on international advertising and communication campaigns by using country specific values. These studies suggest t hat marketers should pay close attention to cultural values in order to generate powerful ad campaigns (Pollay, 1983; Singh et al 2005).

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17 In comparisons of western and eastern cultures, the U S typically represents the most western and developed country and China is treated as a typical collective and find the most explicit cultural differences present in brand messages. China is currently the fastest growing economy in the world (Wikipedia, 2008), and its more than one billion consumers offer huge business opportunities to the world. Attention to culture differences in marketing activity is useful for marketers interested in global success. Research of Cultural Values The advent of the Internet has created a new medium that has totally changed the way information circulates. The web is an open network available to people across different cultures. Its focus on user control makes it dif ferent from traditional media for audience targeting, consumer messaging and even ad evaluation. The new media are all about interaction. Taylor (2005) believes that it is important to conduct research on effectiveness of new media in various markets with different cultural values and economic development levels. He also encourages researchers to expand the range of topic and ad channel, import outside theories to enrich cross culture study and do empirical test of specific cultural characteristics reflec ted in ads across countries. This new topic about new media, cultural differences and marketing has attracted close attentions by both academics and practitioners who study the impact of culture values on international marketing through information technol ogy (Myers & Tan, 2002). Culturally sensitive web content is superior for its usability, accessibility and interactivity (Fock, 2000; Simon, 2001). Different cultural values and lifestyles influence categorizing, perception, product

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18 choosing, etc. Thus, web users from different countries have distinct needs in navigation, customer service, security, categorization, and other features (Luna et al., 2002; Simon, 1999, 2001; Tsikriktsis, 2002). It is ea sier for users to process web information and understand web content on a culturally congruent site (Luna et al 2002). As a result, the importance of cultural differences in marketing on the Internet is becoming an intriguing topic. However, no fruitful studies of marketing on social networking sites have been done yet. Most of studies done in this field deal with the influences of cultural values as reflected in web design (Singh & Matsuo, 2002; Singh, 2003; Singh et al., 2003; Singh et al 2005; Paek et al. 2009). These studies examined corporate web sites, anti smoking Web sites, international product website, online stores etc. To extend the study of cultural value appeals to online marketing, this study seeks to understand cultural differences man ifested in Fan Pages on social networking sites in the U S and China. Cross Cultural Advertising Theories The most widely acknowledged cross framework. This framework was originally defined as four dimensions, they are: individualism collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance, and masculinity femininity, but then developed to five dimensions that dimension of time orientation was added. This framework is thought to distinguish Western and Eastern cultures (Okazaki, 2004). In particular, the Individualism/Collectivism dimension is viewed as a cultural value construct that distinguishes western and eastern cultures. Hofstede defined I/C as loosely knit social structure, versus people belonging to in groups to look after them in a tightly knit social

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19 U S and Far East countries like China, Japan and So uth Korea. Hall (1976) developed a cultural communication framework based on high context versus low context, which is also widely used in cross cultural advertising literatures. In l context or internalized in the person, while very little is in the coded, explicit, transmitted part of the d and Hasegawa (1992) supported this assumption by giving showing that soft sell celebrity endorsements are widely used in Japan, while hard sell and direct promotions are more common in the U.S. deMooij (1999) developed a value paradoxes concept that is a lso popular with cross cultural advertising researchers. In previous cross culture advertising and marketing literatures, polarized views of values are dominant, which state that lectivism and tradition dominates in Eastern advertising and culture of individualism and modernity manifests in Western advertising. As opposed to these opinions, deMooij argues that values present in advertising are paradoxical to dominated cultural valu es in most ditional values, and this is particularly true in countries with fast economic development.

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20 China has experienced rapid socioeconomic changes in a short time period, including the return of Hong Kong in 1997, the foreign money crisis of 1998 (Paek, et al. 2002) and WTO membership in 2001. Such economic challenges, along with corresponding social alterations, have changed Chinese consumers' values and lifestyles (Shim & Cho 2000). Chinese society has faced an inrush of foreign retailers and business practi tioners, multinational media such as MTV and ELLE, global advertising agencies, and so on. The most significant value change has manifested in the Chinese X Generation, which is young, urban adults. These Chinese regard advertising as part of modern life; they are more receptive to advertising messages and welcome Western values; they are likely to buy foreign goods even if they are more expensive (Marketing Week, 1998). The Chinese X Generation is going to be both a profitable market and a force orienting Gen Study, 1996; Zhang & Shavitt, 2003). However this image of X Generation differs from the conventional image of China presented in many studies, like Hsu (1953, 1981) and Hofstede (1980) which argue that Chinese cult ure is defined by collectivism, and traditional, conservative, Confucian values, and that Chinese people tend to be moderate and modest (Zhang & Shavitt, 2003). concept. Similarl y, Zhang and Shavitt (2003) found that both individualism and modernity values are more common in Chinese magazine ads, and personal use products lean to use more individualistic appeals than shared products. Lin (2001) also suggests that Chinese ads are f ound to use more Western and modern appeals instead

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21 of traditional ones. Studies in South Korea (Cho et al., 1999) also find that collectivistic appeals are not employed more than individualistic appeals. t advertising encourages change instead of maintaining the status quo has been used to explain this phenomenon. ing might not reflect current society values but the future ones, especially in developing countries. This argument is validated in several studies (Triandis 1995; Mueller, 1987). Since the Internet is one the of the newest media and fan pages on social ne tworking site are one of the latest marketing methods, this study will examine how cultural values are reflected in this medium. Cross culture Advertising Framework for This Study An examination of cultural markets in SNS requires a framework that is groun ded in theory, is empirically validated, integrates various cultural perspectives and explains cultural level diversity with full understanding of values, customs, beliefs, and symbols of a society (Singh et al., 2005). Past scholars emphasized that cultur al typologies should be employed when the objective is to study the impact of values that appear in popular media and advertising (Schwartz, 1994; McCarty, 1994). Since this study is about cultural differences reflected in the web, cultural level typologie s are employed (Singh et al., 2005). One challenge of marketing on the Internet is how to present information effectively to people from different cultures. The wording, tone, presentation, type of information and information content are important factors (Fock, 2000). The idea that advertising is a form of communication which is sensitive to cultural differences has

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22 been examined in many studies (Albers Miller & Gelb, 1996; Fock, 2000). This study s four dimensions and cultural differences on web, and his framework is a unique and effective way to understand cultural differences on the Internet (Singh et al., 2005) Development of Online Marketing Results of Information Technology Development The rise of the Internet has brought international marketing both tremendous Report on I Chinese internet users has now popped to 384 million, which surpasses the United Nielsen Online 2009 August). The Internet is a global channel through which existing and potential customers can be targeted (Melewar & Smith, 2003). Recent developments in the Internet have made it a popular channel for self ex pression and information sharing (Jang, Olfman, Ko, Koh, & Kim, 2008). This, in turn, makes possible a powerful electronic word of mouth communication. Businesses and organizations are able to publicize themselves and present their commercial offerings wo rldwide through the Internet (Melewar & Smith, 2003). Pallab international marketing efforts and enables small companies to compete on a global stage (Deighton, 1997). Mo re recently, the Internet has become a mature global marketing and communication channel that aids virtually all aspects of marketing

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23 strategies ranging from information sharing, database building, relationship forming, branding, customer service, etc (Czi nkota & Ronkainen, 1990). Additionally, the Internet supplies organizations a new channel of distribution (Strauss & Frost, 1999). Both traditional companies like Wal Mart as well as virtual establishments such as Amazon have used the Internet to establis h online stores where products can be purchased without consumers actually visiting a physical location. Web purchases amounted to 600 billion dollars in 2004 (Chen, 2006). With research showing larger and more frequent shopping online and increases in hou sehold online purchase, the incentric for organizations to build online stores is ever increasing ( www.eg.com ; Melewar & Smith, 2003). Advantages the Internet Offers over Traditional Media Marketers always look for relations a brand/product, specific needs, and feedback. In looking at media choices for creating this interactive relationship with consumers, the advantages of the Internet over traditional media are obvious (Chiagou ris & Wansley, 2000). For one thing, mass media are not able to communicate with existing and potential customers in a customized way. In traditional media, the same messages are sent to people irrespective of how much they know about the product/brand, a nd whether they are interested or not (Chiagouris & Wansley, 2000). Prospects may not get information they want and often cannot seek new information (Chiagouris & Wansley, 2000). On the fference in awareness, familiarity, trust and commitment (Chiagouris & Wansley, 2000). In addition, the interactive nature of the Internet enables marketers to have two way conversations with their prospects, and do so inexpensively (Chiagouris & Wansley, 2000). In this

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24 process, prospects work with marketers to improve the customer service, facilitate product selling, and web site modification, etc. By creating a tailored and responsive dialogue, prospects are more likely to become loyal to this marketer (C hiagouris & Wansley, 2000). Branding on Fan Page of SNS Definition of SNS Boyd and Ellison (2007) define social networking sites (SNS) as web based services that allow users to construct profiles that others can see and to list connections with other us by a relationship initiated between strangers (Kelley et al., 2008). Introduction to SNS, Online Brand Community and Fan Page People use social networking sites for personal and p rofessional purposes, like making new friends, finding dates, keeping in touch with old friends, building new 2004). Since social costs are much reduced on social networking sites, more and more people are stimulated to join in. People join in different social networking sites for specific purposes, which has led to various types of social networking sites that represent different relationships. ize social networking sites into three basic types. The first type is aimed at leisure and social activities, like Facebook, orkut and Friendster. The second type includes sites such as LinkedIn, Ryze and Spoke, that caters to professional business user. A third type organizes users for offline social events, like 2004). The design of a social networking site differs according 2004).

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25 le find it useful for satisfying their desire for information sharing, self expression, connectedness and knowledge (Jang et al., 2008). Increasingly, organizations are beginning to appreciate the importance of an online brand community. An online brand co mmunity not only offers organizations the opportunity to better communicate with users, it also provides valuable information organizations can use to improve their products, brands and services (Jang et al., 2008). Brand community is not simply an additio nal communication channel; it is a link between the organization and its devoted users (Jang et al., 2008). When users can express their personalities through a brand with others in the brand community, the brand achieves success. Jang et al. (2008) class ify online brand communities into two major types: member initiated communities and organization initiated communities. Member initiated communities are built by devoted volunteers who exchange valuable experiences and provide useful information like opini ons about brands (Jang et al., 2008). Negative brand information is not be screened at such sites (Jang et al., 2008). Organization initiated communities are built by a company or organization that owns the brand to strengthen relationships with consumers and to increase purchases and build loyalty (Jang et al., 2008). Organization initiated communities have the advantage of offering detailed and complete information about a product or service (Jang et al., 2008). However, unfavorable opinions are often blo cked here since the community is controlled by the organization (Jang et al., 2008). An online brand community, both member initiated and organization initiated, has some unique attributes. It is built upon a product or service shared by members (Muniz,

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26 2001). It has no geographic limitations (Wellman, 1979). It acts as a social discussion interpretation of the brand (Holt, 1997). Its members usua lly have strong commitments with common goals (Maffesoli, 1996; Cova, 1997). Community members have a high level of identity and an understanding of the commercial landscape (Muniz, 2001; Jang, et al., 2008). One aspect of the online brand communities of a Fan Page on a social networking site is. According to Facebook, A Fan Page is a customizable presence for an organization, product, or focuses on the stream of content posted by th leveraging the real connections between friends on Facebook, a Page lets interact with a Facebook Fan Page, stories linking to that Page can go to their friends via News Feed. As these friends interact with this Page, News Feed keeps driving word of mouth to a wider circle of friends (Facebook, 2009). Influence of Online Brand Community to M arketing Studies of the factors influencing brand loyalty are many. Product quality, service quality, price, corporate image, information quality and commitment all affect loyalty to a brand (Devaraj et al. 2001; Lee & Kim, 2005; Nguyen & Lebl anc, 2001). Less common is the observation that brand loyalty can be increased by online brand community participation. In one exception, Jang et al. (2008) explored the link between the level of brand loyalty and online brand community commitment. They sh owed that community commitment increases brand loyalty. The analysis also showed

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27 interaction and the rewards for their activities, rather than by system quality and information qua lity (Jang et al. 2008). worthwhile business to 199 9). Kotler et al. competitive strengths in marketing by reducing marketi ng cost, receiving great word of mouth effect, increasing cross sell rate, and so on (Griffin, 1996). word of mouth marketing, hence companies should prepare various strategies to support their online brand community. For instance, they can provide physical places for community members to have offline activities, they can support money for offline meeting s, and they could even invite community leaders and opinion leaders to visit the company to Jang et al. (2008) also gave some implications for community leaders to bette r run an online brand community. First of all, the leader of a consumer initiated community should focus on improving information quality and system quality, hence to increase raction initiated community and organization initiated community should actively provide functions and

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28 Jang et al. (2008) also point out that rewards for activities had an important impact on commitment and sustain a community. The Culture and Language Difficulties Because of cu ltural and language differences, considerations should be given to online global marketing strategies like all international marketing strategies do (Czinkota & Ronkainen, 1990). Though it is argued that the Internet has shrunk the size of the world, it st ill does not erase the differences that exist between different cultures, languages and societies (Melewar & Smith, 2003). For example, various traditional ad campaign in W eb sites are built on multi language system though English is the predominant language so far. Hence, marketers still need to pay close attention to customs, values, norms and attitudes o f individuals from different cultures when launch online marketing strategy (Melewar & Smith, 2003) Some academics suggest that the use of discussion groups and online communities can help organizations to learn about local culture, laws, and customs and f inally to avoid or capitalize cultural barriers appropriately (Samiee, 1998; Richardson, 2001; Bridgewater & Egan, 2001). Additionally, Nicovich and Cornwell (1998) propose that this forum can help lower cultural barriers that have been traditionally diffi cult to overcome. Melewar and Smith (2003) believe this is because The term refers to Internet jargon meaning unwanted or junk email usually of a commercial nature sent out in bulk. Lots of Internet slang is

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29 commonly understood by Internet users from all countries (Richardson, 2001). Though the creation of its own culture and the nature of information sharing have made the Cornwell, 1998), the reality that all users inhabit a larger culture from their societies and countries should not be ignored (Melewar & Smith, 2003). Introduction of Facebo ok, Kaixin001 and Renren Facebook Facebook is the most popular social networking site and the fourth largest website in the world (Schonfeld 2009). Mark Zucke rberg launched Facebook in 2004 as a Harvard only social networking site (Cassidy, 2006). It was opened up to other colleges and high schools in 2005, and then opened to anyone with a valid email address in late 2006 (Kelley et al., 2008). A distinct eleme nt of Facebook is its application feature which (Kelley et al., 2008). These apps facilitate the personalization of user profiles and also make Facebook more interesting (K elley et al., 2008). Kaixin001 Kaixin001 is currently the most popular social networking site in China with 720,000 daily IP visits in August 2009. Former CTO of Sina.com.cn Binghao Cheng launched Kaixin001 at the end of 2007. Its membership spiked in several months due to from Facebook. Except for the applications, the website structure and bus iness model are also considered copies from Facebook. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Myspace in China. As a result, Chinese nationals have

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30 turned to domestic social networking site. ranking was 1300th on July 20, 2009, and grew to 55 th (Alexa, Jan 16 th 2010). Its traffic rank in China is 9 th Renren The development model of Renren is similar to Facebook. It was launched as a schoo l based social networking site in 2005, but opened to anyone with a valid email address in November 2007. Renren has covered 90% of colleges in China and has 22,000,000 registered members as of March 2008. Renren ranks 92 nd in Global Page ranking and 14 th business model and even interface are also similar to Facebook. Based on above introduction of this topic and related literature review, working title, research questions and hypothesis ar e generated as followings: Research Questions RQ 1 : Will branding on China SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of Collectivism indicators in content than their U.S. counterparts? RQ 2 : Will branding on China SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of Unce rtainty Avoidance indicators in content than their U.S. counterparts? RQ 3 : Will branding on China SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of Power Distance indicators in content than their U.S. counterparts? RQ 4 : Will branding on China SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of Masculinity indicators in content than their U.S. counterparts? RQ 5 : Will branding on China SNSs Fan Pages have a greater number of High Context indicators in content than their U.S. counterparts?

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31 RQ 6 : Will branding on the U.S. SNSs Fa n Pages have a greater number of Low Context indicators in content than their Chinese counterparts? Hypotheses The following are the preliminary answers to above research questions, which are also my hypotheses: H 1 : Branding on China SNSs Fan Pages will h ave a greater number of Collectivism indicators than U.S. SNS. H 2 : Branding on China SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of Uncertainty Avoidance context indicators than U.S. SNS. H 3 : Branding on China SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of P ower Distance indicators than U.S. SNS. H 4 : Branding on the China SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of Masculinity indicators than U.S. SNS. H 5a : Branding on China SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of High Cultural Context indicators than U.S. SNS. H 5b : Branding on U.S. SNSs Fan Pages will have a greater number of Low Cultural Context indicators than China SNS.

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32 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Design Study Method Content Analysis This study employed content analysis as a research method. Babbie (2007) stated that it is more appropriate to address the study of communications by answering the jective of this study is to describe comprehensively the cultural differences manifested in branding on fan pages of social networking site (SNS) in China and the U S which is part of the study of recorded human communications and will answer what cultur al differences appear on these pages and what effect they produce. Hence, content analysis is chosen here. Though content analysis has been widely used, the analysis of web based messages is a new challenge. McMillan (2000) reviewed 19 World Wide Web stud ies that applied content analysis as a research method and found out some application problems. Challenges from sampling, unit of analysis, and work of coders comprise the biggest difference and difficulty of web based message content analysis compared to traditional media. It is basically impossible to measure the number of subsequent pages under a homepage since such numbers vary considerably by site. Furthermore, most Web sites change content continuously. The resulting complexity and ambiguity complicat es sampling, defining units of analysis, and reliable coding. (1) Hypothesis and/or research questions, (2) Sampling, (3) Categories, (4)

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33 Coders and training, (5) Cod ing process, (6) Reliability and validity, and (7) Analysis, generated by Kaid and Wadsworth (1989). To be more precise, a series of pre tests were used to develop an effective coding scheme and improve inter coder reliability. Universe Universe: fan page s of Facebook, Kaixin001 and Renren The universe included fan pages from Facebook and its Chinese counterparts Kaixin001 and Renren that were established and in use by Jan 15, 2010. This time span was chosen for two reasons; first, since new fan pages are added daily, it is impossible was chosen as a cut off date to restrict the universe of fan pages to those set up before that date and that are still in use. Additionally, though Facebook has maintained its fan page application since 2007, its Chinese counterparts Kaixin001 and Renren did not start this service until mid 2009. We leave more than seven months for them to develop this new service and get enough users that we can collect comprehensive samples. Reasons for Choosing Facebook, Kaixin001, and Renren There are many social networking sites worldwide, each of which serves various functions, caters to different target audiences, and is popular in different regions. Table 3 1 : Top 15 Social Networking Sites From Table 1, we can see that seven social networking sites are dominant in the U S and that they function differently from blogging, micro blogging, photo sharing, and business social networking sites. Only Faceb ook and MySpace are general function social networking sites, though MySpace is more blogging inclined. To be more specific, only Facebook provides the fan page service, which enables celebrities, businesses,

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34 Table 3 1 Top 15 social networking sites Nam e Global Alexa Page ranking Description/Focus Facebook 2 General Windows Live Spaces 5(Alexa only records data for second level domains) Blogging (f ormerly MSN Spaces) MySpace 11 General. Had lost some popularity in 2007 and 2008, but has started to experience a slight renaissance lately. Qzon e 12 General. In Simplified Chinese; caters to mainland China users Twitter 14 General. Micro blogging, RSS, updates Flickr 33 Photo sharing, commenting, p hotography related networking, worldwide LinkedIn 42 General but mainly business hi5 51 General. Popular in India, Portugal, Mongolia, Thailand, Roman ia, Jamaica, Central Africa, and Latin America. Not popular in the U S. Kaixin001 61 General. In Simplified Chinese; caters to mainland China users LiveJournal 81 Blogging Mixi 85 Japan Odnoklassniki 92 General. Popular in Russia and former Soviet republics Renren 103 Significant site in China. Was known as (Xiaonei) until August 2009 Orkut 109 Owned by Google. Popular in Brazil and India Nasza klasa.pl 110 School, college and friends. Popular in Poland (Source: Alexa Traffic Details, 2009 ) and organizations to share their business and products with Facebook users (Facebook, marketing tool because it is free an d interactive. When a fan interacts with Facebook via ne ws feed. In this way, when more and more friends of that fan interact with this page, news feeds keep drivi ng word of mouth to a wider circle of friends. Hence,

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35 Facebook fan page has become an active, convenient, and efficient branding tool for many celebrities, businesses, and organizations. Its working model has been highly valued, especially in this interact ive marketing era. In China, social networking sites did not become widely successful until the rise of Kaixin001 and Renren in 2008, though the first SNS in China was established on 2000. As opposed to Facebook, which is popular among both students and ol der people, Kaixin001 targets white collar workers, while Renren is more popular among college for two reasons. First, these two SNSs target very specific users, white coll ar workers and students, respectively, but Facebook covers a much wider range of age groups; 46% of Facebook users are between the ages of 13 25, while 54% are between 26 55 years old ( insidefacebook.com 2009). To gather exhaustive data to reflect the manifestation of cultural elements on SNS, the two most popular SNS in China is chosen since only in combination are they equivalent to Facebook. On the other hand, the business models and even interfaces of both Kaixin001 and Renren are similar to Facebook, as discussed in the literature review section of this study. The Facebook business model in the U S is unique, and has never been successfully copied by many Web sites in China. Hence, it will be more ef fective to indicate the cultural differences as well as marketing implications by comparing the SNSs Facebook, Kaixin001, and Renren that are rooted in different countries but have similar business model and interfaces. Sampling Facebook divides its pages into 17 types: places products services stores restaurants bars and clubs organizations politicians government officials non profits

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36 TV shows films games sports teams celebrities / public figures music ians and Web sites and more than 40,000 fan pages in total. However, its Chinese counterparts have far fewer categori es, which is probably due to the still immature development of SNS there. Kaixin001 has only five main categories of fan pages: organizations, products and services, celebrities, newly built, and activities, and thirty three detailed subcategories. There w ere a total of 314 fan pages by Jan 15, 2010. Renren has five types of fan pages without subcategories: they are celebrities/public figures organizations, TV shows and films, media, bus inesses / companies, and activities, for a total of 127 extant fan pages by Jan 15, 2010. With the goal of including fan pages that fully reflect cultural differences, fan pages in two countries for the same host were chosen as samples. They are official o nes established by companies/organizations that brands belonged to, rather than by fans or unofficial groups. Pizza Hut fan page was selected, for it has fan pages on SNS in both the U S and China. Those hosts that have fan pages in both the U S and Chin a must be international brands. That means they have to use standardized or localized marketing strategies to cater to oversea markets, which requires full understanding of one of the marketing means, would be a good mirror of efforts marketers made to adjust to local culture. Since the Chinese SNSs are not as developed as their American counterpart, samples were collected based on categories of Kaixin001 and Renren instead of Facebook since it would be easier to get available comparison pairs. For example, Facebook owns a great number of fan pages for politicians, but neither Kaixin001 nor

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37 Renren has even one in this category since politics is a sensitive topic in China. Th at means if samples are selected based Chinese counterparts would be shortened, like categories of Place, Store, Game, Bar/Club, Politician, Website, etc. Unit of Analysis With the goal of including all the hosts that have fan pages on SNSs in both China and the U S a full list of fan pages of Kaixin001 and Renren was compiled. Then all hosts of these fan pages were searched for in Facebook to determine whether corresponding fan pages existed. If they did, then these hosts were chosen as samples. For example, because Loreal has a fan page on both Kaixin001 and Facebook, it is thus qualified to join the sample set. However, because the cartoon character A Li has a fan page on Renren, but not on Facebook, it was ex cluded. In this way, 30 pairs of fan pages were selected as units of analysis. They are fan pages of ELLE, Marie Claire, Miss Tourism International, Pizza Hut, British Counc il, Switzerland Tourism, WWF, Red Cross, MTV, Friends, Big Bang Theory, Twilight, Avatar, DotA, Harlem Globetrotters, Adidas Soccer, NBA, UEFA Champions League And Europe League, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michael Jackson, and Jane Zhang, belonging to eleven ca tegories: Product, Service, Restaurant, Organization, Governmental Official, Non Profit, TV Show, Film, Sports Team, Celebrity/Public Figure, and Musician. Coding Scheme The cultural categories are entirely based on previous research and publications cited in the review of literature.

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38 Hofstede (1980) built the foundation of the inter culture advertising study framework. His cultural framework has been employed widely in most culture differences research in advertising and marketing. This framework is compo sed of four independent dimensions: individualism collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity dimensions to study cultural differences in advertising and marketing, such as A lbers Miller and Gelb (1996), Okazaki (2004), Paek et al (2009), etc. However, a few studies To better reflect the perspective of marketing as a form of communication that is sensitive to differences between cultures, Singh (2003) built his framework by high context communication, more visuals or symbols are empl oyed to make indirect messages. Conversely, low context communications tends to use direct messages like textual argumentation, analytical statements, facts, and data (Okazaki, 2004). Hence, the coding scheme used in this study included (1) collectivism; (2) Uncertainty avoidance; (3) power distance; (4) masculinity; (5) high/ low context. The categories and indicators that comprise each category were basically adopted from Singh (2003) framework with certain adjusting according to characteristics of soci al networking sites The following paragraphs offer operational definitions for each indicator. Collectivism Collectivism is an widely used indicator of cultural values generated from collectivism (I/C), which can be defined as care of themselves and their immediate family only in a loosely knit social structure,

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39 versus people belonging to in groups to look after them in a tightly knit social hence people value self reliance, achievement, independence and freedom (Hofstede 1980). Advertisements in individualistic cultures usually emphasize individuality, independence, self reliance, competition, success, autonomy, non confo rmity, and self benefit (Cha, 1994; Paek et al. 2004; Albers Miller & Gelb, 1996; Cho et al., 1999; Cheng & Schweitzer, 1996; Mueller, 1987; Zandpour et al., 1994). In collectivistic ups and society in which they belong (Cha, 1994). In this strong group tie society, people are encouraged to follow group norms, group success, and even sacrifice themselves for the betterment of society (Yau, 1988). Therefore, ads in collectivistic cultur es typically reflect family security, family ties, group belonging, group fulfillment, harmony, and benefits to others (Lin, 2001; Han & Shavitt, 1994, Cho et al. 1999; Han & Shavitt 1994; Miracle et al. 1992; Mueller, 1987). In this study, Community Rel ations, Clubs or Chat Rooms, Family Theme, Country Specific News, Symbols & Pictures of National Identity, Loyalty Program and Links to Local web sites are employed as indicators of collectivism. Uncertainty Avoidance The extent to which a society is avers e to tolerant of risk is also an indicator of cultural values. A high uncertainty avoidance society tends to avoid uncertain situations beliefs and conservative values ( Hofstede, 1980). As Gudykunst (1998) stated, individuals in such cultures prefer clear directions, instructions, and rules. A global internet use study by Lynch et al. (2001) indicated that Asian consumers feel less

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40 secure when shopping online. A study by Straub et al. (1997) also indicated that societies high on uncertainty avoidance use electronic media less often since electronic media are intangible, which increase feelings of uncertainty. Hence, since the Internet is a technologically complicated new m edium, marketers need to make great efforts to help consumers in high uncertainty avoidance society to reassure and reduce uncertainty in their online experience (Singh, 2003). The subcategories we used to define uncertainty avoidance include: Customer se rvice, Guided Navigation, Tradition Theme, Local terminology, Free Trials and Downloads, Customer Testimonials, and Toll Free Numbers. Power Distance Hofstede (1980) stated that the power distance indicator explains how different cultures treat inequaliti es in social structure. Singh (2003) further pointed out that high power distance societies emphasize social status, referent power, authority, and legitimacy; conversely, low power distance societies usually care more about egalitarianism, equally rights, and less hierarchy. Hence, people in high power distance societies are more likely to respect authority figures and the elderly, whose opinions and suggestions greatly influence people (Singh, 2003). Japan is famous for its strict societal hierarchy, and used extensively in Japanese advertisements. Many previous studies have shown that higher power distance societies usually use higher power distance related appeals. The indicators used to addres s power distance are: Hierarchy Information, Pictures of the Subject, Quality Information and Awards, Vision Statement, Pride of Ownership Appeal, and Proper Titles.

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41 Masculinity According to Hofstede (1980), masculine cultures emphasize directness, power, explicitness, decisiveness, and mastery over nature because these qualities emphasize superior performance and capacity to accomplish goals (Singh, 2003). On the contrary, feminine cultures value nature, beauty, and ambiguity of gender roles, and are more inclined to fantasy, imagery, and oneness with nature (Singh, 2003). We can find in cult ure, followed by the U S. Indicators of masculinity: Quizzes and Games, Realism Theme, Product Effectiveness, Clear Gender Roles. High Context Low Context which most of the inf ormation is already in the person, while very little is in the coded, out that in high context cultures harmony, beauty, and oneness with nature are emphasized. Hence, advertisements in these kinds of cultures are implicit, indirect, polite, modest, and even ambiguous, and characterized by indirect verbal expressions, and few direct comparisons (deMooiji, 1998; Mueller, 1987). According to the study by Hall (1976) and Ha ll and Mildred (1990), China and Japan are high context cultures. Conversely, in a low context, information is expressed in explicit code. Thus, messages conveyed in the form of discounts, sales promotions, and aggressive selling with direct, explicit, and confrontational appeals are common in such cultures (Culter &

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42 Raj Shekhar, 1992; Singh, 2003). The U S is a good example of a low context culture, where comparison ads and hard sell appeals are common. (Mueller, 1987) Indicators of high context that we will use in this study: Politeness, Soft sell, Esthetic. Indicators of low context: Rank or Prestige of the Company, Hard Sell Approach, Explicit Comparisons, Use of Superlatives, and Terms and Conditions. Coding A standard coding sheet served as a guide and orientation for the coders. Data were recorded on the coding sheet first and then entered into an Excel database. All units were coded by the researcher. A trained co coder, who speaks both Chinese and English and experiences in content analysis, co c oded a random sample of 50% of the units. A detailed coding book (Appendix B) was used to train and guide both the coder and co coder through the coding process. study on intern scheme to apply to the study of fan pages of social networking sites specifically and make sure that the indicators reflect the real meanings of the concepts. A pretest was done to tra in the co coder and modify the coding scheme and reveal any inconsistence between the coder and co coder. It found that the most challenging thing is to identify indicators on fan page, especially abstract ones. For example, evident on certain fan pages. This, as a result, generates inconsistencies between the coder and the co coder since diffe

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43 incongruent coding results. It was decided that the best way to overcome this obstacle would be to specify all indicators wit h specific measures. For instance, the sub indicator speech or disputes displayed in wall and discussion boards. Meanwhile, overlapped indicators reflected by the same phe nomenon are deleted. overlapping Singh (2003) and modified framework used in this study. The final coding book is showed in Appendix B. The inter coder reliability was measured by implementi Reliability to items co coded when co coding was completed with the revised codebook and codesheet. The overall Holsti score was .80.

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44 Table 3 2 Comparison of the original framework of Singh (2003) and modified framework used in this study Framework of this study Collectivism Collectivism 1. Community Relations 2. Clubs or Chat Rooms 3. Newsletter 4. Family Theme 5. Country Specific News 6. Symbols & Pictures of National Identity 7. Loyalty Program 8. Links to Local Web sites 1. Community Relations 2. Family Theme 3. Country Specific News 4. Symbols & Pictures of National/Group Identity 5. Loyalty Programs 6. Links to Local Web sites Uncertainty Avoidance Uncertainty Avoidance 1. Customer Service 2. Secure Payment 3. Guided Navigation 4. Tradition Theme 5. Local Stores 6. Local Terminology 7. Free Trails or Downloads 8. Customer Testimonials 9. Toll Free Numbers 1. Customer Service 2. Guided Navigation 3. Local Terminology 4. Free Trials or Downloads 5. Member Testimonials Power Distance Power Distance 1. Company Hierarchy Information 2. 3. Quality Information and Awards 4. Vision Statement 5. Pride of Ownership Appeal 6. Proper Titles 1. Hierarchy Information 2. Quality Information and Awards 3. Vision Statement 4. Proper Titles Masculinity Masculinity 1. Quizzes and Games 2. Realism Theme 3. Product Effectiveness 4. Clear Gender Roles 1. Quizzes and Games 2. Realism Theme 3. Clear Gender Roles High Context High Context 1. Politeness 2. Soft Sell Approach 3. Aesthetic 4. Politeness 5. Soft Sell Approach 6. Aesthetic Low Context Low Context 1. Hard Sell Approach 2. Ranks or Prestige o f the Company 3. Explicit Comparisons 4. Use of Superlatives 5. Terms and Conditions 1. Hard Sell Approach 2. Ranks or Prestige of the fan page Owner 3. Explicit Comparisons 4. Terms and Conditions

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45 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Final Sample The final sample consisted of 28 pairs of fan pages. Two pairs were eliminated, including the fan page of Switzerland Tourism, (excluded because its Facebook link became a dead link since the day starting coding) and the fan page o f the Harlem Globetrotters, (discarded because the language on its Facebook page is not English Overall, 28 pairs of fan pages, 56 pages in total, were coded. Among these, 28 were from Facebook, 17 were from Kaixin001, and 11 were from Renren. Results Pai red samples t tests were performed to discover cultural differences in U.S. and China SNS fan pages. All 25 cultural value variables were compared between Facebook fan pages and Chinese social networking sites fan pages to test for cultural differences. F or the purpose of testing the research hypotheses, an overall score of each category (Collectivism, Uncertainty Avoidance, Power Distance, Masculinity, and High & indicator w categories within each dimension, and recording it as an aggregated score for that dimension co llectivism was calculated by counting the presence of all six indicators of collectivism on a fan page: Community Relations, Family Theme, Country Specific News, Symbols and Pictures of National/Group Identity, Loyalty Programs, and Links to Local Web site s, and then divided the number by six (Singh, 2003). A paired samples t

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46 test was then executed. Results are showen in Table 3. Each cultural dimension is represented by the aggregated data for each dimension. Collectivism The first research question aske d whether Chinese SNS fan pages are more likely than U.S. SNS fan pages to have collectivistic indicators. As shown in Table 3, the occurrence of collectivist features on Chinese SNS fan pages (56.6%) is not more than that of U.S. pages (57.1%). A t test revealed that the collectivist features are common in both Chinese and U S SNS fan pages (U S = 3.43, China =3.39, t(27) = .19, p< .91). Hence, Hypothesis 1 that China SNS fan pages will have a greater number of collectivism indicators than U.S. SNS was not supported. Closely examined, all indicators, except Links to Local Web sites, seem to present China: 75%), Family Theme (U.S.: 57.1% vs. China: 67.9%), Symbol and Pictures of Nation/Group Identity(U.S.: 92.9% vs. China: 96.4%), Country Specific News (U.S.: 50% vs. China: 39.3%), and Loyalty Programs (U.S.: 50% vs. China: 57.1%). In particular, Community Relations, Family Theme, Symbol and Pictures of Nation/Group Id entity and Loyalty Programs were common (frequency > 50%). However, there were many more Links to Local Web sites (U.S.: 32.1% vs. China: 3.6%, t (27) = .009, p< .83) on U.S. fan pages. Uncertainty Avoidance It was hypothesized that Chinese SNS fan page s would show a greater number of uncertainty avoidance features than its U.S. counterparts, due to the high uncertainty avoidance nature among Chinese people (Singh, 2003).

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47 The results showed that the overall frequency of occurrence of uncertainty avoidan ce was similar in two countries (U.S.: 51.4% vs. China: 53.6%, t (27) = .89, p< .38). Thus Hypothesis 2 was not supported. Table 3 shows that all indicators that comprise the Uncertainty Avoidance cultural value dimension occur in equal frequencies in tw o countries: Customer Service (U.S.: 3.6% vs. China: 10.7%), Guided Navigation (U.S.: 100% vs. China: 100), Local Terminology (U.S.: 89.3% vs. China: 100), Free Trial or Downloads (U.S.: 3.6% vs. China: 7.1%), and Member Testimonials (U.S.: 60.7% vs. China : 50%). Guided Navigation, Local Terminology and Member Testimonials are widely used (frequency >50%) in both countries. Conversely, Customer Service was less prevalent, especially in the U.S. SNS fan pages (frequency <10%). Power Distance The third res earch question asked whether more Power Distance indicators will be present in Chinese SNS fan pages than U.S. ones. Hypothesis 3 proposed that China would show more power distance features on its SNS fan pages as compared to those in the U.S. Power Dist SNS fan pages. As expected, the occurrence of Power Distance indicators was relatively higher in Chinese versus U.S. pages and the difference is significant (U.S.: 44.7% vs. China: 55. 4%, t (27) = 2.12, p< .043). Hence Hypothesis 3 was supported. China SNS fan pages employed more Hierarchy Information (39.3%), Quality Information and Awards (82.1%), and Proper Titles (17.9%) indicators than did the U.S. SNS fan pages (25%, 53.6%, & 10 .7%, in that order). Indicator of Quality Information and Awards was much more prominently depicted in China SNS fan pages than the U.S.

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48 ones (U.S.: 53.6% vs. China: 82.1%, t (27) = 2.83, p< .009). However, the frequency of occurrence of Vision Statement was equal in both fan pages (U.S.: 89.3% vs. China: 78.6%). Masculinity Research question four asked if branding on the China SNS fan pages would have a greater number of masculinity indicators than U.S. ones, and it was hypothesized that the China SNS f an pages would score higher on Masculinity. The results of the analysis revealed that masculinity indicators in China SNS fan pages (51.2%) did not differ from the U.S. (41.7%). Thus Hypothesis 4 was not supported. The occurrence of all sub categories o f the Masculinity cultural value dimension, including Quizzes and Games (U.S.: 39.3% vs. China: 57.1%), Realism Theme (U.S.: 71.4% vs. China: 78.6%), and Clear Gender Roles (U.S.: 14.3% vs. China: 17.9%), were similar in both countries. High vs. Low Contex t The fifth research question asked whether Chinese SNS fan pages would be more likely than U.S. SNS fan pages to have High Context indicators. Hypothesis 5a proposed that branding on China SNS fan pages would have a greater number of High Context indicat ors than the U.S. SNS, while hypothesis 5b proposed that U.S. SNS fan pages would show Low Context indicators more prominently. The results of the analysis showed that only hypothesis 5a was supported: China SNS fan pages contained a greater number of Hig h Context indicators (U.S.: 35.7% vs. China: 58.3%, t (27) = 4.42, p< 0.001) than did the U.S. SNS fan pages. About 75% of the China SNS fan pages, compared with only 21.4% of the U.S. SNS fan pages, used

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49 a Politeness indicator. In a similar vein, 71.4% o f China SNS fan pages employed Soft Sell Approach indicators, compared with only 57.1% of the U.S. SNS fan pages. However, the percentage of occurrence of Aesthetic indicators was the same in both China and U.S. fan pages (U.S.: 28.6% vs. China: 28.6%). W ith respect to the Low Context, however, there was no mean difference between the U.S. and China SNS fan pages (U.S = 1.75, China = 2.07, t (27) = 1.27, p< .21). Thus hypothesis 5b was not supported. Closely examined, the overall frequency of the occurren ce of Hard Sell Approach was slightly higher on the U.S. SNS fan pages (57.1%) than on the China SNS fan pages (39.3%), and the overall frequency of the occurrence of Ranks or Prestige of the fan page was slightly lower on the U.S. SNS fan pages (50%) comp aring with the China SNS fan pages (71.4%). However, (U.S. = 0, China = 0). In addition, the use of Terms and Conditions differed significantly ges (U.S.: 67.9% vs. China: 96.4%, t (27) = 2.83, p< .009), which was much more prevalent in China SNS fan pages. Table 4 1. Frequency and mean of items under cultural value categories : A comparison of the U.S. and China SNS fan pages Items U S China t test (p<) Frequency (%) Mea n Frequency (%) Mea n Collectivism 57.1 3.43 56.6 3.39 0.118 0.91 1. Community Relations 60.7 0.61 75.0 0.75 1.441 0.16 2. Family Theme 57.1 0.57 67.9 0.68 0.827 0.42 3. Country Specific News 50.0 0.50 39.3 0.39 0.827 0.42

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50 Table 4 1. Continued 4. Symbols and Pictures of National/Group Identity 92.9 0.93 96.4 0.96 1.000 0.33 5. Loyalty Programs 50.0 0.50 57.1 0.57 0.570 0.57 6. Links to Local Web sites 32.1 0.32 3.6 0.04 2.83 0.009 Uncertainty Avoidance 51.4 2.54 53.6 2.68 0.891 0.38 1. Customer Service 3.6 0.04 10.7 0.11 1.000 0.33 2. Guided Navigation 100.0 1.00 100.0 1.00 / / 3. Local Terminology 89.3 0.89 100.0 1.00 1.800 0.08 4. Free Trial or Downloads 3.6 0.04 7.1 0.07 0.570 0.57 5. Member Testimonials 60.7 0.61 50.0 0.50 1.140 0.26 Power Distance 44.7 1.79 55.4 2.21 2.121 0.043 1. Hierarchy Information 25.0 0.25 39.3 0.39 1.441 0.16 2. Quality Information and Awards 53.6 0.54 82.1 0.82 2.828 0. 009 3. Vision Statement 89.3 0.89 78.6 0.86 0.570 0.57 4. Proper Titles 10.7 0.11 17.9 0.14 0.570 0.57 Masculinity 41.7 1.25 51.2 1.54 1.982 0.06 1. Quizzes and Games 39.3 0.39 57.1 0.57 1.544 0.13 2. Realism Theme 71.4 0.71 78.6 0.79 0.812 0.4 2 3. Clear Gender Roles 14.3 0.14 17.9 0.18 1.000 0.33

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51 Table 4 1. Continued High Context 35.7 1.04 58.3 1.75 4.423 0.001 1. Politeness 21.4 0.21 75.0 0.75 5.582 0.001 2. Soft Sell Approach 57.1 0.57 71.4 0.71 1.441 0.16 3. Aesthetic 28.6 0.29 28.6 0.29 / / Low Context 43.8 1.75 51.8 2.07 1.274 0.21 1. Hard Sell Approach 57.1 0.57 39.3 0.39 1.411 0.17 2. Ranks or Prestige of the Fan Page Owner 50.0 0.50 71.4 0.71 1.652 0.11 3. Explicit Comparisons 0.0 0.00 0.0 0.00 / / 4. Te rms and Conditions 67.9 0.68 96.4 0.96 2.828 0.009

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52 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCL USION Discussion We examined six cultural characteristics in a new channel of advertising: social or progressing cross cultural advertising research forward. Those characteristics include cultural values and cultural context, which were imported from two prominent frameworks in cross (1976) high/low context framework. Cultural values were constructed from indicators of collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance, and masculinity, while cultural context was comprised of high cultural context and low cultural context. Perhaps surprisingly, the findings showed only partial support for differences in China and the U.S. for these two dominant cultural research frameworks. China SNS fan pages did not present more collectivistic features than their U.S. counterpart s. The two countries showed similar use of features of collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity. With respect to the high/low context framework, the findings showed that China SNS fan pages employed significantly more high context characteristic s than did those in the U.S.; however, the occurrences of low context indicators were similar in two category of terms and conditions, China showed significantly higher frequency than did the U.S. Why were so few di fferences found? Perhaps the cultural framework of national subsidiaries around 1970, the sampl

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53 professionals, technical and clerical employees of marketing and service divisions, and first line and middle level managers in national IBM subsidiaries around the world. As IBM employees, they represented a well matched, bu t rather narrow, segment of each Hence, the samples of narrow segment made the effect of the I/C framework limited. On the other hand, the time of implementing the surve y makes its result, the I/C framework, outdated (Hofstede, 1998). Thus the I/C framework is possibly a misfit (Paek et al., 2009) for one of the newest marketing tools: SNS fan page, which targets population worldwide. findings. deMooij (1998) argues that values present in advertising are paradoxical to ij, 1999; Taylor, 2005). deMooij (2009) believes traditional values. He suggests that this is particularly true in countries with rapid economic develop ment. In this ca se, the findings indicated that China SNS fan pages showed many similarities in cultural values with their U.S. counterparts, such as high collectivism, high uncertainty avoidance, and high low context. It suggests that branded SNS fan pages in China head reflect modern, western culture values. Third, the findings may be due to the unique nature of the Internet as a new

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54 national borders disappearing. Though cultural and language difficulties still exist, the trend toward integration is dominant on the Intern et. Fourth, the culture on SNS fan page is even more converged (Paek et al., 2009) than in other internet activities. SNS fan page is one of the best interaction tools between marketers and customers, where customers from different regions and cultures ar e able to communicate with their favorite brands directly. To better communicate with their customers with diverse cultural backgrounds, the fan page hosts are making information and activities provided in fan pages widely understandable and favorable, whi ch requires good ability in cultural convergence, especially for international brands. This nature and ability of SNS fan pages make it impossible to measure them with polarized cultural framework. On the other hand, the nature of a SNS fan page is a commu attracting their participation. These decide that members, especially active members, of a fan page are high on group belonging, co fulfillment, and co benefit. Thus the communi ty nature of a SNS fan page makes it generally collectivistic. Last but not least, the two China social networking sites we studied this time are both established based on Facebook. They have the similar business model and functions design including their navigation design and interface design (see Figure 5 1), which generate more or less similarity in perceptions and behaviors of both host and members. In many cases it appears both sites make a conscious effort to imitate Facebook as a way to benefit from its popularity. To sum up, we did not see clear evidence of cultural differences manifested in branding on the U.S. and China social networking sites fan pages from this study.

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55 Figure 5 1 page vs. Renren page Though China SNS fan pages used relatively more features of power distance and high context than did the U.S. SNS fan pages, they behaved similarly under most cultural dimensions including collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity, and low context. Implications First of all, this study suggested that international marketers who want to market on China SNS fan pages should pay more attention to communication context over cu ltural values. High context indicators were more frequent in China SNS fan pages than in U.S. ones. Chinese SNS fan pages are more fancy and colorful, and use more emotional appeals. Many pages use customized layouts rather than default ones (see Figure 5 2). The findings also suggest that international marketers should be cautious about applying cross culture theories when marketing on China SNS fan pages. Generally, traditional cultural values are not dominant in China SNS fan pages, while behaviors of features facilitating interaction in fan pages should be paid close attention. For example,

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56 Figure 5 2 Facebook page vs. Renren page features of community relations, family themes, symbols and pictures of nation/group identity, loyalty programs, guided navigations, local terminology, member testimonials, quality information and awards, vision statement, and soft sell approach are frequently that these features are not only typical eastern culture characteristics, but also elemen ts facilitating SNS fan pages activities. Third, China SNS fan pages are surprisingly high in using informative appeals. Frequency of occurrence of quality information and awards indicators and terms and conditions indicators are higher on China SNS fan pa ges. This is particularly true for international brands, such as ELLE and Loreal. Hence, the findings indicated that detailed information of history, development, honor, quality, and characteristics of a brand and product is applicable and useful for helpi ng international companies entering emerging markets like China. Finally, there are four suggestions for China SNS fan pages that stem from successes on Facebook. The first is that the China SNS fan pages should feature more member testimonials. These are frequently used in Facebook (frequency = 60.7%).

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57 Electronic word of mouth is an effective marketing tool because people are more likely to trust peer endorsements over marketing ones. A second suggestion is to add discussion boards. Discussion boards are were sampled. However, fostering discussion topics is a great way to increase community participation. Third, China SNS fan pages should be multifunctional. Many successful fan pages on Facebook are not only places where fans exchange ideas and share information, but micro Web sites where fans can easily purchase a product, get customer service, etc. Finally, China SNS fan pages hosts should study their American counterparts for marketing insights about products lik e movies (e.g., Twilight), TV shows (e.g. Friends), and deceased celebrities (e.g. Michael Jackson). It is very difficult to market products related to movies, TV shows, and musicians when they become part of history. However, Facebook pages of Twilight, Avatar, Friends, and Michael Jackson are used to sustain their influence and to sell related products. Some special elements of these fan pages include update information of actors, gift (real or virtual products) centers, contents/works reviews, and downl oads of related iPhone apps. Limitations and Directions for Future Research First, the sample size was rather small (28 pairs of fan pages), which may have resulted in a lack of statistical power. The small size is due to the immaturity of China SNS fan p ages that they don't have enough international companies set fan pages there. The strict standard of sampling is probably another explanation for the small sample SNS. Thi SNS fan pages. However, future studies should examine a larger sample size of SNS

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58 fan pages as China SNS become more mature in order to test if the findings in this study are true. some modifications were made to make this coding scheme fit SNS fan pages better, it would be more useful to have a customized coding scheme for cultural differences on S NS fan pages. Third, in certain pairs of fan pages, members of each page are significantly page has only 10 members. This difference of membership makes some comparisons su spect. Fortunately, the number of samples with great difference of member numbers is small (2 of 28). Fourth, due to the function design, the coding scheme may not be comprehensive enough. For instance, the indicator of a chat room/discussion board is eli minated from the sub category of collectivism because discussion boards are a function that Facebook page provides but neither Kaixin001 nor Renren does. Fifth, we looked at only one type of social networking sites fan pages. We selected fan pages from soc ial networking sites of general function, like Facebook, but ignored other types of social networking sites like MySpace, Twitter, and so on. Because the coding scheme of this study is empirically applicable (Singh, 2003), future study can replicate it to SNS in other types and languages. Finally, because only attitudinal aspects of culture were measured in this study, future studies should combine a more complete list of cultural dimensions to measure

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59 2003). In spite of these limitations, this study helps develop the scope of cross culture advertising research by applying it to a new medium: SNS fan pages. We believe this study will help international marketers brand on the U.S. and China SNS fan pages.

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60 APPENDIX A CODE SHEET

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61 APPENDIX B CODING BOOK 1. Coder ID: 1. Coder, 2. Co coder 2. Unit of Analysis ID: (pre entered by researcher) 3. Website: Use number that corresponds to the website. 1. Facebook 2. Kaixin001 3. Renren 4. Fan Page Category: Use number that corresponds to the website. 1. Products 2. Service 3. Restaurants 4. Organizations 5. Government officials 6. Non profits 7. TV shows 8. Films 9. Sports teams 10. Celebrities / public figures 11. Music ians 5. Name of the Fan Page Owner: enter the name of the Fan Page owner as it Fan Page. 6. What indicators of collectivism a re appeared in this Fan Page? Enter number that number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fa n Page may contain more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that Page, separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented. 1. Community relations: emphasi s on group well being (Cho et a l., 1997) and preserving the wel fare of others (Gudykunst, 1998). No unfriendly conversations, disrespectful speeches, or disputes showed in wall or discussion or chat rooms, etc. 2. Family theme: appeals about nurturance theme, wherein fans of this page provide each other with support and sympathy. Appeals about the integrity of or belonging to family or social groups. For example, active response to 3. Country specific news: updates, ideas, opinions, or comments related to ic news.

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62 4. Symbols and pictures of national/group identity: obvious symbols and pictures of national or group identity. For example, national flag, country name, and logo of an organization/business/celebrity are all qualified to be this indicator. 5. Loyalty commitment and loyalty. Like offline activities. 6. Links to local websites: Having links to local websites shows that the company is well connected in the country, and has legitimate relationships with l ocal companies/organizations. 7. What indicators of Uncertainty avoidance are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter the number when the indicator is indicated by Fan Page Owner, and en after the number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may contain more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that Page, separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented. 1. Customer service: Fan Page owner. Like toll free number, email address or other contact methods. 2. Guided navigation: simply and clearly designed page navigation to help avoid ambiguous situations. 3. Local terminology: w idely used local metaphors, puns and idioms from both marketers and fans. 4. Free trials or downloads 5. service or attending activities and recommendations to a product/service/activity. 8. What ind icators of Power Distance are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter number the number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may contain more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that Page, separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented. 1. Hierarchy information: information showing hierarchical structur es and social statuses. Appeals advocating that the product/service/celebrity is a symbol of high social status and activities of following it will bring you to high social class. 2. Quality information and awards: quality certifications and awards that stre 3. 4. Proper titles: titles that the Fan Page owner given to itself/himself/herself, given by the members or imported from the thi rd party.

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63 9. What indicators of Masculinity are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter number that number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may contain more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that Page, separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented. 1. Quizzes and games: applications of quizzes and games that emphasize the basic value of enjoyment (Pollay, 1983), mastery over nature, and reflect adventure theme, thrill and gaming (Cheng and Schweitzer, 1996). 2. Realism theme: appeals reflected or emphasized on reality rather than fancy. Focusing on s capacity to accomplish goals (Singh, 2003). 3. Clear gender roles: gender roles are clearly differentiated (Hofstede, 10. What indicators of High context are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter number the number when the indi cator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may contain more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that Page, separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented. 1. Politeness: politeness and respect to each other are hig hly emphasized. Members and the Fan Page owner try hard to make friends with other members in the group. Members are unlikely to argue with others. Fan Page owner tries to resolve any problems and relieve any conflict in the page. 2. Soft Sell approach: mess ages are implicit and indirect. Direct comparisons are not viewed favorably (Mueller, 1987). 3. Aesthetic: emphasize harmony, beauty, and oneness with nature (Cho et al., 1999). Use of art, designs, beautiful scenery, and nature appeals are emphasized (Muelle r, 1987; Gudykunst, 1998). 11. What indicators of Low context are appeared in this Fan Page? Enter number the number when the indicator is indicated by members. A Fan Page may contain more than one indicator. Enter numbers of all indicators presented in that Page, separating with comma. Enter NONE when no indicators presented. 1. Hard sell approach: communicati ons are direct, explicit and even confrontational (Hall, 1976). Use of direct and confrontational appeals in the form of discounts, sales promotions and aggressive selling is common (Cutler and Javalgi, 1992). 2. Ranks or prestige of the Fan Page owner: highl ight ranks, the benefits, and the prestige of the product/service/brand/celebrity (Mueller, 1987).

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64 3. Explicit comparisons: appeals of direct and explicit comparison with competitors. 4. Terms and conditions: communications are informative. Emphasize clarity, ba ckground information, and directness. The information is vested in the explicit code (Hall, 1976).

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65 LIST OF REFERENCES 51.com 2009 SNS (Pang Dongsheng: 2009 is the Beginning of China SNS Advertising E ra ) [updated June 2009 ; cited 14 May 2010 ]. Available from http://hi.baidu.com/%B4%B4%D4%EC%BF%EC%C0%D6%D3%EB%C4%FA%C D%AC%D4%DA/blog/item/2d7514e9db17ce37b80e2de1.html Alexa t raffi c detail. Alexa Traffic Stats of Renrem.com [updated June 2009 ; cited 14 May 2010 ]. Available from http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/Renren.com Journal of Strategy & Leadership, vol.28, No. 4,2000, pp 10 15 cial Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life", Youth, Identity, and Digital Media Edited by David Buckingham. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 119 142. doi: 10.1162/dmal.9780262524834.119 Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 13 (2008) 210 230 Journal of Brand Management, An International Journal, vol.8, No.4 and 5 May 2001 d ing in the post Marketing Theory, 2009; 9; 141 Journal of Brand Management, An International Journal, vol.8, No.4 and 5 May 2001 Chiagouris, Larry and Wansley, Brant Branding on the Internet [updated 2000 ; cited 14 May 2010 ]. Available from http://ftp.cleary.edu/MKT/MKT415/MKT_415_M2_Branding_on_the_Internet.doc ComScore. Social Networking Explodes Worldwide as Sites Increase their Focus on Cultural Relevance [updated August 2008; cited 1 4 May 2010 ]. Available from http://www.techtree.com/India/News/Facebook_Largest_Fastest_Growing_Social_ Network/551 92134 643.html Cova, B. European Journal of Marketing 31, (1997), 297 316. consumer motivations for cr eating user Journal of Interactive Advertising vol. 2, no.2 (spring 2008)

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66 de Chernatony, L, S. Drury and S. Segal Horn (2006) values internally and externally, Services Industries Journal Vol.28, No.8 pp 819 836. Production and Operations Management 10, 4 (2001), 424 439. Direct Marketing, 59, 7 (November 1996), 50 53. Driscoll, Alison 8 Essential Apps [updated May 2009; cited 14 May 2010 ]. Available from http://mashable.com/2009/05/13/facebook brand apps/ Dwyer, Ca therine Hiltz, Starr Roxanne and Passerini, Katia (2007) Proceedings of the Thirteenth Americas Conference on Information Systems, Keystone, Colorado Augus t 09 12 2007 Management Research News Vol. 25, No. 12, 2002 Ellison, Nicole B., Steinfield, Charles, and Lampe, Cliff (20 Facebook Frie nds : Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 12 (4), a rticle 1. eMarketer Ad Spend on Social Networks to Reach $2B in 2010 [updated November 2006; cited 14 May 2010 ]. Availabl e from http://www.marketingvox.com/ad_spend_on_social_networks_to_reach_2b_in_20 10 022962/ Erdem, T. and Swait, J. ( 1998 ), Brand equity as a signalling phen omenon Journal of Consumer Psychology 7 (2), 131 157. Facebook Facebook Pages Product Guide [updated March 2009; cited 14 May 2010 ]. Available from http://www.facebook.c om/advertising/FacebookPagesProductGuide.pdf of Mouth: A Comparison of Journal of Interactive Advertising vol. 6, no.2 (spring 2006) Gan Facebook Me: Collective Self esteem, Need to Belong, and Internet Self Journal of Interactive Advertising vol.8, no.2 (spring 2008)

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67 Greenst ein, Howard. [updated May 2009; cited 14 May 2010 ]. Available from http://mashable.com/2009/05/27/facebook page vs group/ Hargit users of social Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 13(1), article 14 iR esearch ( ) ( 2009 ) 2008 2009 (The Development Report of China SNS in 2008 2009 ) Jang, Heehyoung, Olfman, Lorne, Ko, Ilsang, Koh, Joon, and Kim, Kyungtae ( 2008 ) Line Brand Community Characteristics on Community Commitment and International Journal of Electronic Commerce Spring 2008, Vol.12 No.13, pp.57 80 28 29 May 200 9, Tampere, Finland NJ: Prentice Hall 1989. commitment and loyalty in the online c In Korea Society of Management Information System Conference Spring 2005, pp. 841 848. Mislove, Alan, Marcon, Massimiliano, Gummadi, Krishna P., Druschel, Peter, and al October 24 26, 2007, San Diego, California, USA. win Journal of Brand Management, An International Journal, Vol 8, No.4 and 5 May 2001 Melewar, T.C. Marketing Intelligence & Planning 2003, Vol. 21, No. 6, pp 363 369 Journal of Consumer Research 27, 4 (March 2 001), 412 432. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage, 1996.

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69 Web Sites A Cross National Comp arison of China, India, Japan and U S International Marketing Review vol. 22, No. 2, 2005, pp. 129 146 Journal of Interactive Advertising vol. 6, no.1 (fall 2005) A New Journal of Advertising vol.34, no. 1 (Spring 2005), pp 7 16 Tse, D.K., Belk, R.W. & Zhou, N. (1989). and cross Journal of Consumer Research 15 (March), 457 472. ence and Disclosure Regulation Bulletin of Science Technology Society 2008;28;20 American Journal of Sociology 84, 5 (1979), 1201 1231. Wikipedia Economy of t he People's Republic of China [updated April 20 10 ; cited 14 May 2010 ]. Available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China Journal of Advertising Research 34(5), 35 63 the Chinese X Generation Journal of Advertising vol.32, no.1, Spring 2003, pp.23 33 European Journal of Advertising vol. 31, No.2, Year 1997, pp 134 149 2006 (Consumer Behavior Analysis of Online Shopping ) 2006 09X p p 88 89

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70 BIOGRA PHICAL SKETCH Liuyi Yang came to the University of Florida to pursue her m aster degree in a dvertising after finishing her BA in advertising in Beijing, China. Her research interests focus on cross culture advertising and interactive advertising.