"The most effective form of communication is one in which the recipient is already predisposed to believe the information." [Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis]
One day I would love to be a strategist at a "think and do" tank. It's possible I already am without using the title. What seems like a million years ago and was only two, the company I worked at engaged in a full business development profile assessment for the employee base that supported sales as well as the management group.
We employed the Birkman® Method and determined quickly that sales is from Mars and marketing from Venus - nothing new here. As I wrote at the time, it is really important to understand how differently the sales and marketing groups think and what that means as respects how they behave. What does each group hear when it comes to translating the organization's goals into their work? The other side of that is how do we as individuals behave when faced with buying decisions?
That is the million dollar question, isn't it?
I met Dr. Margaret King and James O'Boyle from the center for Cultural Studies & Analysis a few years back when we talked about our cultural underpinnings. This Philadelphia-based think tank decodes how consumers determine value in products, concepts and ideas. Their work continues our conversation on content within context and marketing as context building. Their philosophy:
- our senses detect sensation
- our brain translates sensation into perception
- perception is shaped by culture and context
- culture is a complex adaptive system
- context is a bordered system all systems can be decoded, modeled, explained, and understood
Culture determines what people perceive as important. It is the platform on which your brand equity and market position stand. Yet it is most often the least understood part of the marketing process.
Branding and market position are both outcomes of, and markers for, cultural position, which is the grounding value of products, services, ideas, and experiences. This value must be searched out not just in the market but also in the place where all things are first desired and finally bought: the mind of the consumer.
By far the most concrete and fascinating aspect of Dr. King's and Mr. O'Boyle's research is captured in a chart that documents the basic characteristics of life development stages. Take a look at the chart and start answering some questions for yourself and your own behaviors, as well as those of your family members. What life stage are you in?
Gen Y individuals may find themselves nodding when thinking about learning and conflict both as characteristics that underlie their behaviors, for example. The value of consumer goods for them lies in validation of rapidly evolving social mobility.
Now let's try another one, ready? What do you think are the basic characteristics of life development stages for individuals who are engaged in social media as advisers right now? Vote now!
Whether you selected "other" or not, I'd love to learn from you. Do you think the value associated with the profile you selected computes with what you intended? In your experience, how is that information translating into buying behavior?