Glocalization of Consumers in the Caribbean: A Case Study of Trinidad and Tobago

Glocalization of Consumers in the Caribbean: A Case Study of Trinidad and Tobago

Fayola Nicholas (Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, Trinidad and Tobago) and Raghava Rao Gundala (University of Wisconsin – Stout, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2727-5.ch006


Cultural value systems have a direct effect on consumer behavior and vary by the major cultural dimensions between countries. It is important for marketers to understand the factors that influence consumer behavior to develop their marketing strategy. It is also important to understand the possible differences within a culture (sub-culture). However, in the recent past, changes in the technology is playing a significant role in how marketers develop marketing strategies that address cultural and sub-cultural factors from both a domestic and global perspective; that means marketers must adhere to the Levi-Strauss maxim to think globally but act locally. This chapter is an example of how this is done in Trinidad and Tobago. The chapter gives a description of the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. A company case study that specifies how marketers develop strategies with the goal of providing precisely defined marketing messages that satisfy consumer's need products and services so that consumers should be adequately stimulated to purchase the products being offered.
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The Purpose And Significance

This chapter is an attempt to understand the impact of culture on consumer behavior in the English-speaking Caribbean countries with particular reference to Trinidad and Tobago.

Gesteland (2002) mentioned that most of the Caribbean marketing strategies are adopted from the United States. Marketing strategies without any country-specific adaptation that do not share the same cultural background as that of United States (Carson, 1967) are likely to disrupt the first connection between consumer and marketer.

Caribbean businesses need this issue addressed with specificity to their circumstances rather than a general acceptance of the conventional, westernized marketing strategies. Understanding the Caribbean’s unique cultural character and its influences consumer decision-making is necessary for every marketer who is in the Caribbean or who is interested in entering the Caribbean.


English-Speaking Caribbean: A General Profile

According to Augelli and Taylor (1960), the borderlands of the Caribbean have been a meeting place for people of diverse races and cultures for much of the post-Columbian history, and as a result, racial and cultural diversity has become a distinct feature of the region’s population and landscape. A generalization about the interplay of race, culture, and community is not easy, and each territory invites intensive study. Put another way; these island territories are “pockets of uniqueness” that should be fully understood before management decisions are made.

Colonization of the Caribbean region is done mainly by seven European nations, the five most important of which, from the point of socio-economic and cultural development, were Ireland, Spain, England, France, and Holland. The other two, Denmark and Sweden did little to shape the direction and nature of the colonial enterprise. Of the seven nations, five carved out spheres of influence on both the indigenous people and the enslaved African labor they used to expand and control the region. This European influence with the combination of the evolution of slavery and slave society became central to forming the Caribbean’s Creole culture and identity, which, in turn, shaped the entire region’s socio-cultural and socio-economic life. It was the African and European cultural experiences that created a Creole vision that has today become the symbol of Caribbean identity.

An understanding of the Caribbean begins with an acceptance about the region. The product of the histories and migrations of both the colonized and colonizers, Caribbean culture manifests itself not only in preserved traditions but in the synthesis and metamorphosis that is almost unavoidable in the face of so much influence and exchange. Here religions range from Afro-Christianity and Voodoo in Haiti, to Rastafarianism in Jamaica, to Hinduism and Islam in Trinidad and Guyana. Christianity, in many forms, is practiced widely throughout the region. Each country speaks its distinct dialect (creolized English in the countries in this study), and verbal play is an essential element in both everyday life and many celebrations. A mix of ethnicities, values, family structure, and all aspects of culture from food and music to festivals and gender profiling, has created the identity one might refer to as a “Caribbean one.”

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