I just finished reading the book ‘The Culture Code’ by Clotaire Rapaille. A very interesting look at how our subconscious and social programming determine how we perceive things and events in life, and how whole cultures are shaped by these perceptions.

According to Clotaire, emotions are key to learning, and the keys to imprinting interpretations into our minds. We may not notice it, but a lot of our interpretations were shaped when we were young, on how our parents perceive certain matters, and how the society you live in shape your social programming.

In focus groups, there have been much controversy on whether consumers are really speaking the real truth, or do they answer based on what is expected of them. Do they even know why they like or dislike certain things and can articulate their opinions accurately?

According to the book, it’s not the content of what respondents say, it’s the relationship between respondents and the products. What role does the products play in their lives, and what is the relationship between the users and the products? How do the products make them feel, and how do the products affect their sense of identity?

Here are some findings that the author has discovered in the country of America. He found that sex = violence, health = movement/activities, doctors = hero, nurses = mothers, youth = mask (such as with lifting, botox, and anti-aging creams), money = proof of winning, shopping = reconnecting with life (material and social aspects), luxury = military stripes = money.

One brand that has made use of this finding is Pantene. As Pantene’s brand equity is ‘Giving You Healthy Hair’, it always depicts moving hair to denote hair health and wellness.

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