Psychology Behind Marketing – The Culture Filter
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Psychology Behind Marketing – The Culture Filter

PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) defines public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Marketing, as defined by the American Marketing Association, is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

As a MarCom professional, the goal on both fronts is to build a meaningful, valuable, and mutually-beneficial relationships. In order to do that, you need to gain a deep understanding about each audience with which you are trying to connect. You need to understand what each segment cares about, what motivates them, and what inhibits them. This relationship building, when done correctly, requires a reversion back to the very basics – communication that is rooted in trust and cooperation.

Recently I was perusing some psychology articles in my feed, and two disciplines jumped out at me: Anthropology and Sociology. They got my MarCom wheels turning…

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Universal Appeals in Marketing
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Is There Such a Thing as “Universal Appeal”?

I was recently in a conversation regarding global marketing strategy and the concept of “universal appeal” came up. The argument is that there are certain ideas, values, etc., that translate across global cultures, and can therefore be used in marketing campaigns. But I’m not so sure…

Dutch Professor Geert Hofstede, who has done extensive and widely-accepted research on global cultural difference and similarities, has concluded that each national culture (and in some cases there must be further segmenting, like with the U.S., which is so diverse) falls at a given point on six dimensions:

  • Power Distance (the disparity between those with and those without power)
  • Individualism vs Collectivism
  • Masculinity vs Femininity (which is really better explained as Assertiveness vs Modesty)
  • Uncertainty Avoidance (tolerance for ambiguity)
  • Long-Term vs Short-Term Orientation (focused on the present or the future)
  • Indulgence vs Restraint

Considering those dimensions, I find the concept of universal appeals would be tough to prove. Take superior quality, for example. At face value, it could be assumed that everyone would prefer products and services with superior quality. So, superior quality could be considered an universal appeal.

BUT… what is “superior quality”?

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