Culture and Change

Culture is not monolithic and fixed. Culture is due to change and adapt. Well, then why do we experience cultural differences in the era of global culture? With the technology of communication and transportation, we get closer and closer. With the language we use, tendencies we share or boundaries we exceed, we seem to be like members of a single culture. Still, we are “us and them”, and it is not just invented cultures (popular culture, adhocracy culture, vegan culture, etc.) that make us differentiate.

Most of us still, identify themselves with their nationalities, ethnicities, belief systems all of which stand for their culture. Some of them may be living and behaving differently from the previous generations of their cultures. They may even be the citizens of different nations as well. It is clear that they have changed and adapted to the challenging environment. However, they still define themselves with fixed cultural identities.

Change is real on the surface, but how deep is it? Hofstede’s “layers of culture”(1) approach provides us a tool to deal with this contradiction. Practices, as the visible part and the outer layer of culture, may change. Your symbols may adapt to the new political environment, your rituals may fade away, your heroes may be questioned. However, the core, the inner part, the values of culture will still resist to change.

(1) Hofstede, & Hofstede, & Minkov (2010). Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival. McGraw Hill

Information Impacts on Cultural Change

It is clear that every culture evolve over time. As Yuval Noah Harari defines culture as a “network of artificial instincts”, alike biological instincts, members of culture contribute to the constitutional structure of its context and reshape it into an evaluation form. However, this change is relatively slow as the context gets larger, or takes into account of much larger numbers of members in fact. The culture is not static, but changing like an biological organism with its own pace regarding its members use and participation of its dynamism.

Since the growing capacities of communication and transfer of information throughout the world and increase in its speed, cultures are also being affected. As Prof. Theodore Levitt has put it; “consumers in different countries increasingly seek variety and that the same new segments are likely to show up in multiple national markets”, consumers are forming new groups in affection with diverse cultural components. Cultural anthropologist George P. Murdock identified these people as “cultural universals,” where the components they may gather around varies from education to ethics, taboos to language, marriage and religious rituals, residence rules, status differentiation, and even trade. Each culture embraces internal contradictions and how its members live with them. For this perspective Harari argues that history is moving toward more unified and complex cultures.

In our information-rich world today, the rapid interactivity between members of any culture and their positioning against or advocating of any brand or product is also gaining more speed. This is another important change in consumers’ life and their behavior in making more “acceptable” decisions since they all belong to many sub-cultures of their own regardless from the geographical culture they are born. Now that we have more tools to get this understanding as we are able to observe much of the world due to information technology.

Cultural Contexts and Technology

It is not the only way to understand human behavior to given communication and human interactivity with products and services. Our progressive thought about more humanization of technology for the good of people and also effecting on the data with people oriented concerns rooted from cultural and social dimensions. Thus, will redefine a market where classical recommendation engines with more artificially evolved machine intelligence into cultural and social evolution in its way of thinking. Also, any predefined segmentation models or approaches will be combined with more detailed cultural aspects of people in order to get better responses from this communication. Briefly, these differentiation points will bring new opportunities and also redefine the market that is already in growth stage. Puhu can enable the semantic component in this solvent.

Human side of technology is needed more

It is not only the exponentially increasing amount of data that is needed to understand the human behavior and preparation of intimate responses back as marketing communication but also the design of messages based on relevant cultural background, complex attitude sets of targeted audience and more appropriate technology to reach them are needed. This can be more complete with the non-technical side of the story rooted in both social sciences and information technology.

To make this work, our approach is taking the challenge of developing new analysis models for the marketing message delivery under various cultural constraints as an addition to big data analytics, adding on top of it. Using stochastic methods or implementation of AI techniques will only help if the cultural context is properly drawn. But, for a more effective result this context shall be studied with the glasses of social scientists, which in most cases do not receive required attention in the design.

Technology plays an important role in changing life of consumers with an unexpected speed of innovative developments for the last several decades. Most of them were disruptive and shaped not only behavior of consumers but also empowered them for searching for better products and services. These changes took place in media, communication, information management of socialization and collaboration. The digitization revolution is a continuum until when people and machines will embrace a common ground while improving life of consumer. Today, new marketing tools are developing on the basis of integrated machine learning, such as analysis of customer conciseness, prediction of behavior and perceptive marketing, which will be used extensively through digital platforms, new media, social web and in everyday devices for targeted marketing.

Engagement with customer for facilitation of innovation by developing collaborative knowledge about products and services gains importance. This is also a significant marketing competence of successful companies which can be characterized as innovation oriented organization. Machine learning methods such as classification, regression, clustering, and cross-validation are powerful tools which are used with big data mining for large databases and give researchers opportunities to gain new insights into consumer behavior. There are many practitioners in this domain both from the academia, the business world, and increasing number of initiatives and many research companies trying to solve more problems, which are becoming epidemic, in giving meaning to all forms of unstructured data flooding from e-commerce pipelines, social media, mobile applications, gamification platforms and overloaded content generation.

This huge volume of data, new generations of customers and their evolved capabilities, competition aware firms and service based focus in business are expanding the canvas for the future. Management, marketing and technology are in intersection and merging with more advancements coming from all axes to reach customer, to act with partners, to stand tall in the market, to manage resources more effectively.

But, the human side of the story is still up there to be understood better and more “humanistic”, don’t you think?