Because culture defines what things “should” look like in order to have meaning.
And when it comes to receiving, remembering, and assigning value, vision trumps all other senses.
The impact of culture on how we see and think of the world around us follows a logical and measurable sequence:
Culture is transmitted by values – broad tendencies to prefer one state of affairs over another. In America, for example, both physical and social mobility equals freedom. The value of an automobile lies in freedom of movement. Universities aren't selling education - they are selling upward mobility.
People don’t buy products, they buy values, and that simple equation, Mobility = Freedom exerts an irresistible subconscious pull on the American consumer that may not be equally compelling in other cultures.
It’s not quality that drives customers to choose your product over another. It’s the customer perception of the values they associate with your product that initiates the first sale. And it’s the customer perception that the values they perceived actually met their expectations that drives customer loyalty.
Successful products evoke values that culture has determined would best meet the consumer’s needs. Culture shapes how people instinctively recognize products that fill those needs – even when they can’t consciously recognize and articulate what those needs are.
Values are never random, but deeply embedded in culture. As consumers age, the context of their life changes so the stylization and evocations of values change and shift in priority, but the core values themselves remains constant. Every generation evolves through the same stages of cultural development and responds to the same set of cultural cues. Teenagers today have the same psychological and physiological needs as their parents did as teens. It's not the generation that's different - it's their choice options to meet those needs.
We will document these values for you. We will show you where they came from, how they are expressed and recognized, how they prompt people to choose one product over another, and identify the age stages when value priorities naturally shift over a lifetime - a shift which can suddenly and dramatically affect consumer loyalty to your brand.
The Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis is a think tank that decodes how consumers determine value in products, concepts, and ideas.
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