Demographics was the first “science of consumer behavior. For the first time in the history of business, such basic data on buyers as age, sex race, income and other actors were analyzed by sellers to develop buying patterns. This was an exciting breakthrough in consumer buying behavior.
Several years later, the science of psychographics was added. This allowed sellers to analyze consumer behavior from a different point of view which focused on consumer likes and dislikes, attitudes and anticipated buying behavior responses.
Behold the introduction of culturegraphics – the science of using cultural factors to anticipate consumer-buying behavior around the world.
Culturegraphics is a major breakthrough in analyzing anticipated buyer behavior in different cultures. It is a diversity-based science. It provides sellers with a culture-based (not culture-biased) avenue of analysis to help determine, n advance, how consumers will react to product and service offerings.
Culturegraphics is based on understanding four buyer behavior psychologies.
The major factors affecting buyer behavior in this psychology are protocol, dress codes, social levels, status, power and institutions. Institutions set the standards that people follow. You must know which institutions – church, school, political parties and others – are powerful and which are not. You must also know how institutions will react to product and service offerings. Status and power are defined completely different in Saudi Arabia than in Italy. Yet, in both cases consumer behavior is directly affected by both factors. Social levels may be hidden or very blatant. Unless you know how they affect society, you cannot know how they affect buying patterns. Finally, the protocol of the society affects everything from what is worn (thus what is purchased) to what is acceptable (thus what is done).
“Language is the soul of culture, and culture is the soul of society”, as the Faranda maxim reads. You must know the spoken and unspoken language, the classic and the idiomatic language. You must master the art and science of body language. You must know the impact of hidden meanings in the language. These are the communication factors that affect buying behavior.
Ideologies are strong currents in the water. You do not always see them, but you ignore them to your peril. The mass media system helps determine how people will react to product and service offerings based on the accepted public and private ideologies.
Nationalism brings out strong buying behavior with public displays of nationalistic products and services. Non-nationalism brings out the “counter-culture” purchasers who buy to flaunt their views. Without knowing the political psychology you run the risk of offending your buyers even when you are well intentioned.
Culture is composed of beliefs, norms, taboos, rituals and religions. It is one of the hardest factors to truly understand as an outsider. Attitudes affect behavior. Values affect buying behavior. Behavior is a cultural phenomenon. It is the reason the French cannon understand or accept the English, the Arabs canning understand or accept the Jews and the Chinese cannon understand or accept the Japanese. All of them have attitudes and behaviors that are foreign to the other. What is foreign is unacceptable. Culture is the history of war, oppression and poverty as well as peace, freedom and wealth. Culture is the great dichotomy of death and the great anachronism of life.
Culturegraphics is the new science of consumer buying behavior. It is a scientific look at product and service offerings made to people with four different psychologies. It is a global early-warning system for product and service vendors who hope to be successful in the international marketplace. It is time for culturegraphics to take its rightful place next to demographics and psychographics as the main marketing science instruments of our time.