Archive for the 'culture' Category

Mapping Cultures

Apr 16 2018 Published by under culture

In The Culture Map, Erin Meyers provides a clear and easy-to-read introduction to cross-cultural differences, focusing on the needs of global business and the leading and management of people across countries. Read more »

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Visualising Emotions: Measuring motivations simply, quickly and intuitively

Feb 07 2018 Published by under culture

Measuring human motivations and emotions is difficult. Three reasons for this are that

  • Verbal questions tend to rationalize responses
  • Emotional language terms can be very difficult to translate
  • Different cultures have different values

More broadly, emotions are highly contextual and latest theories of emotion, see them as mental constructions in the same way that perceptions are mental constructions based on external cues. Emotions and perceptions are both processed in the same parts of the brain and help us to interpret and adapt to the environment around us, directing us towards our goals (see Lisa Feldman Barrett’s book for more on this). Read more »

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Love is in the Air: A History of Valentine’s Day

Jan 31 2018 Published by under culture

Source: Wikiart

“Roses are red, violets are blue”

People around the world now celebrate Valentine’s Day, but what are the origins of the 14th February festival of love? Although Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday anywhere, it is an important date for many people and the Feast day of Saint Valentine is observed by Anglican and Lutheran churches (and in July by the Eastern Orthodox church). Read more »

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The culture of Christmas

Nov 30 2017 Published by under culture

Sinterklaas from Wikipedia "Santa Claus"

“At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year” (Thomas Tusser)

Although winter celebrations had been a part of people’s lives for millennia (at least in the Northern Hemisphere where it marked the turning of the year), many of the traditions of modern Christmas were inspired by two literary works.  C.S. Lewis wrote in 1957 that there were three versions of Christmas: religious festival, merry holiday and commercial racket, and while the first two go back long before modern times, the last can definitely be blamed on these two works. Read more »

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Using pictures to measure emotions and cultural values

Oct 23 2017 Published by under culture

Global brands are facing more and more competition from local brands, even as they spend more on their marketing efforts and create greater efficiencies in their supply chains. While local brands have many advantages from being on the ground in their markets, perhaps their biggest advantage is their local cultural capital. Read more »

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The Soundtrack of our Lives: How pop songs reflect and shape culture

Aug 31 2016 Published by under culture

Music and song have an amazing power over us and is one of the most powerful tools in brand building (read more here, here and here). Music and song are also barometers of cultural change, and this is what Stuart Maconie explores in his book The People’s Songs, a very readable cultural history of modern Britain. He traces cultural change through 50 of the country’s most popular songs, starting with We’ll Meet Again from 1939 and finishing with Bonkers from 2009 (a span of 60 years). Read more »

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Global or Local: Do global tools always provide local insights?

Mar 31 2016 Published by under culture

As the StoryWorks Visual Think cards have been developed and used over the past two years, one of the most common questions from clients and collaborators is about the cross-cultural suitability of a set of standard images. Is it important to have locally adapted stimulus to capture local cultural insights?

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Cultured Marketing

Jul 06 2011 Published by under culture

Cross-cultural differences

I’ve written previously about the importance of understanding cultural context to interpret human behaviour and there has been extensive research on cross-cultural differences, especially in the workplace.  Edward Hall was one of the pioneers of such work, and was the first to focus on the context sensitivity of different cultures, comparing high-context cultures such as Japan with low-context cultures such as the US and UK.  In high context cultures, he found that there was often little need for much written or oral information as individuals were heavily socialised and sensitive to contex, whereas individuals in low-context culture require much more background detail in order to interpret information.  Visual communications without verbal information can work very effectively in high-context cultures because of such sensitivity. Read more »

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Code cracker

Jul 07 2010 Published by under culture

Did you know that in American culture

  • Seduction is manipulation
  • Being fat means you’ve checked out
  • Work is who you are
  • Money is proof
  • Shopping is reconnecting with life

Clotaire Rapaille writes about his last 30 years of work spent unlocking various “culture codes” in his book The Culture Code.   His book contains many insights about the various reference systems that are put in place for all of us at an early age.  By discovering the subconscious emotional attachments we have to various concepts and brands, he’s been able to illuminate the frames that surround these concepts.

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