Culture is defined as “an integrated system of learned behavior patterns that are distinguishing characteristics of the members of any given society.” That culture includes everything that a group thinks and does, including its customs, language, material artifacts, and shared systems of attitudes and feelings. Understanding a people’s culture can help businesses capitalize on their perceptions and practices to market their products right, to sell to them, and to improve the lives of the people they are selling to. The unique characteristics of culture include:
1. Culture is learned.
It is acquired by people over time by being part of a group that transmits culture from generation to generation.
2. Various parts of culture are interconnected.
One part of culture is deeply connected with another part such as religion and marriage, business and social status.
3. Aspects of culture are shared.
Tenets of culture extend to other members of the group hence uniting them.
4. Culture is prescriptive.
Culture prescribes the type of behavior that is acceptable in the society. The prescriptive characteristics impacts on a consumer’s decision making process and limits their product choices to those acceptable in the society. So as you sell and market your product, remember what your consumers’ culture deems acceptable and what it deems unacceptable.
5. Culture is subjective.
People in different cultures often have different ideas about the same subject. What is acceptable in one culture might not be acceptable in another culture. Businesses have to keep this in mind when advertising or selling to different audiences so as to be considerate and not offend various groups of consumers.
6. Culture is enduring.
Because culture is shared and passed along from generation to generation, it is relatively stable and somewhat permanent. Due to the internalization of beliefs and habits, culture remains as a major marker of a people’s identity.
7. Culture is dynamic.
Although culture is passed on along from generation to generation, it is not static and immune to change. Culture is constantly changing and adopting new conditions and knowledge. This is especially because of mass media, global travel, social media and modernization.
8. Culture facilitates communication.
One useful function provided by culture is to facilitate communication. Culture imposes common habits of though and feeling among people. This is one reason why a standardized advertisement may have difficulty communicating with consumers in foreign countries.
As you sell and market your business/product, it is important that you consider the culture of the people you are selling to. Conduct your own research on your target customers and have their culture in mind as you develop your product/service. I hope these markers of culture help you to forge a business strategy and as well as help develop your own culture that defines your business.
By Wanjiru Muhoro | Writer