The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do
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Why are people around the world so very different? What makes us live, buy, even love as we do? The answers are in the codes.
In The Culture Code, internationally revered cultural anthropologist and marketing expert Clotaire Rapaille reveals for the first time the techniques he has used to improve profitability and practices for dozens of Fortune 100 companies. His groundbreaking revelations shed light not just on business but on the way every human being acts and lives around the world.
Rapaille’s breakthrough notion is that we acquire a silent system of codes as we grow up within our culture. These codes—the Culture Code—are what make us American, or German, or French, and they invisibly shape how we behave in our personal lives, even when we are completely unaware of our motives. What’s more, we can learn to crack the codes that guide our actions and achieve new understanding of why we do the things we do.
Rapaille has used the Culture Code to help Chrysler build the PT Cruiser—the most successful American car launch in recent memory. He has used it to help Procter & Gamble design its advertising campaign for Folger’s coffee – one of the longest lasting and most successful campaigns in the annals of advertising. He has used it to help companies as diverse as GE, AT&T, Boeing, Honda, Kellogg, and L’Oréal improve their bottom line at home and overseas. And now, in The Culture Code, he uses it to reveal why Americans act distinctly like Americans, and what makes us different from the world around us.
In The Culture Code, Dr. Rapaille decodes two dozen of our most fundamental archetypes—ranging from sex to money to health to America itself—to give us “a new set of glasses” with which to view our actions and motivations. Why are we so often disillusioned by love? Why is fat a solution rather than a problem? Why do we reject the notion of perfection? Why is fast food in our lives to stay? The answers are in the Codes.
Understanding the Codes gives us unprecedented freedom over our lives. It lets us do business in dramatically new ways. And it finally explains why people around the world really are different, and reveals the hidden clues to understanding us all.
the decision to work away from the Code in its marketing. While their ads in France were very sensuous and oozed seduction, the last thing they wanted was for American consumers to feel uncomfortable or manipulated when presented with their products. They decided that their advertising would have a distinctly nonsexual spin, focusing on feeling good about oneself. The purpose of using L’Oréal products was not to seduce a man, but rather to feel confident—“Because you’re worth it.” Their campaigns
When I went off to college and I ate at the dorm cafeteria for the first time, I got incredibly homesick. —a nineteen-year-old woman My father was a traveling salesman, so we didn’t have family dinners all that often. When Dad was home, though, dinner was a big deal. My first memory of dinner was of being maybe five or six. My dad was in a great mood and everyone was joking around. My older brothers were teasing me, but not in the mean way they sometimes could. I remember that moment like it
brother-in-law got a job in Cleveland and moved my sister and two nieces out there. It was weird, but I knew right away this was the beginning of the end. Six months later, my other sister moved out of town, and a couple of years later I went off to college and then settled in the Bay Area. The only time we get the whole family together now is for Thanksgiving, and it just feels forced. —a thirty-four-year-old man These third-hour stories were filled with deep emotion: the joys of
there was a guy who made a movie about going on an all-McDonald’s diet. I could definitely do that. —a twenty-two-year-old man I have the memory of some great meals, but to be honest with you, most of them have more to do with the people I was with than the food I ate. I can’t tell you what I ate at most of the fancy restaurants I’ve been to, but I can tell you what we talked about. Eating was never that important to me. Sometimes people have to remind me to eat and I really only do it to
community saturated with violent lyrics. The malt liquor St. Ides took this even further. They created a series of ads using as their spokespeople hip-hop artists, several of whom drew an explicit connection between alcohol and guns. Eric B. and Rakim called St. Ides “bold like a Smith & Wesson.” Rappers Erick and Parrish called on their cronies to “hit the bozak [gun] while I take a sip.” Anheuser-Busch promoted Busch beer to outdoorsmen via in-store displays of inflatable Labrador retrievers