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.
judge deciding a rape victim provoked her attacker with her appearance or her actions, for example, or the slashing of a model’s face because her assailant thought she was too perfect. American women therefore navigate an axis between beauty and provocativeness, coming as close to crossing over as they are comfortable without actually doing so. Unconsciously, they compile a list of rules to follow: high heels are fine at a social function, but too sexy for the workplace; a tight-fitting, low-cut
Indian culture, a person graduates from one stage to the next, with death being the ultimate graduation. Hindu Indians don’t fear death, and the notion of fighting off aging is ludicrous to them. The English find youth boring. Young people are inexperienced and prone to mistakes. The English regard young people as children who must be tolerated. Where Americans glorify the vitality and verve of youth, the English glorify the same qualities in their eccentrics. A key tension in England is the one
travelers by introducing a car that looked like nothing else on French roads. They then marketed the car in a way that was completely on Code for the French. Their ads spoke of the 150 new ideas that went into the creation of the PT Cruiser, with different ads detailing several of these ideas. The French, of course, responded to this. Even though the PT Cruiser costs much more in France than it does in America, it is hugely popular there. The bottom line for business is that it is not possible
Optimism is not only absolutely on Code, it is essential to keeping our culture vibrant. We do the “impossible” because we believe it is our destiny. In fact, the times when America has faltered as a culture have been the times when it has allowed pessimism to become a prevalent force. The Great Depression was this culture’s longest period of national despair, and it went on so long because we forgot that we were capable of doing the impossible and getting ourselves out of it. In the mid to late
locales, or living situations as long as they genuinely believe that doing so gives them a chance to grow. We want our politicians to give us visions of a better tomorrow. We want our entertainers to stir our imaginations. We want our corporations to show us how their products improve our conditions. We want our teachers to inspire creativity. We want our clergy to give us hope and guidance in living fulfilling lives. We want our media to show us what others are doing to contribute to the world.