• University of Leeds

Introduction to Intercultural Studies: The Branding of Culture

Learn how products move across borders and how branding problematically draws on narratives of culture and place.

Introduction to Intercultural Studies: The Branding of Culture

Discover how marketing uses narratives of culture and place.

The course examines an aspect of marketing through the ways branding makes use of cultural stereotypes to promote products or places. On the course you’ll consider the effects this might have on national and cultural identity and explore how some products are becoming decoupled from their culture of origin whilst others are localised. You’ll study the way in which nations use “soft power” through spreading of cultural products and practices, to influence the behaviour of people across the globe. You will also examine the idea of cultural imperialism and assess the ways in which it is resisted.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds In this course we focus on a number of things, particularly products and products as they move across borders, and as they move from place to place. And when they move, they often draw on narratives of identity, place, and culture, which we analyse through a number of case studies and examples. There’s numerous examples of products that have been localised, and localisation can take place in different levels. So it can be something like languages. It can even be changing colours around marketing. It also can be larger, more systemic practises. Hollywood films, they may or may not be in a form of cultural imperialism. But I think most people would agree that they are a form of soft power.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 seconds And soft power attempts to influence and make connections with people through things like films, music. Manga is another example of a form of soft power. I think hopefully anyone who is interested in how the narratives of products change and are received from place to place would be interested. This can include students, business people. I think people as well that are interested in concepts like soft power, commodification, narratives, authenticity, these kind of issues, would also be interested in the course.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds Products are often sold with narratives attached to them. And these narratives can draw on a number of different factors. It may be ideas about authenticity. They may use certain languages, because they see language being sending certain signals of exclusivity or prestige. With increased commodification in the world, we can even see things like nations branding themselves. So this will be one topic that we look at in the course– the idea of nation branding. Sign up now for Intercultural Studies, The Branding of Culture.

What topics will you cover?

  • Branding and identity – how companies might adapt products in order to successfully introduce them into new markets
  • Nation branding - how countries attempt to portray and market themselves
  • The movement of products - how globalised products are received in different contexts
  • Localising products - the reasons why companies adapt products for audiences in different local environments
  • Soft power - how countries promote what they perceive to be their own cultural values to other nations
  • Cultural imperialism – the extent to which global marketing and the selling of products can be seen as an attempt to impose the values of the producing nation

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been accredited by the CPD Certification Service, which means it can be used to provide evidence of your continuing professional development.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore how national and regional identities are exploited to market goods and services
  • Investigate the effects of using national identity to market products
  • Compare the ways in which globally available products are localised for different markets
  • Evaluate how soft power is derived from the spreading of cultural products and practices
  • Assess the extent to which globalisation facilitates cultural imperialism
  • Discuss the reasons for adapting products for local cultures

Who is the course for?

The course is for anyone with an interest in the concepts of culture and interculturality, you don’t need any previous experience.

This course is also ideal if you are working in business, you are preparing to move to a different country for work or study or you work with groups of people from different cultures to yours. By completing all aspects of the course you will have achieved 14 hours of CPD time.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.


Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 4 weeks


Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Unlimited (New!)
$259.99 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.