The Influence of Cultural Psychology on Customer Behavior | by Gabriel Mahia | Sep, 2023

Ever wondered why you’re drawn to certain products or why a specific retail layout feels more inviting? There’s more to it than meets the eye. In this blog, I’m unpacking the hidden layers of how cultural psychology influences your behavior as a customer, based on my own experiences, cursory research, and keen observations.

When you walk into a store, you’re entering a landscape richly layered with psychological cues designed to guide your behavior. You think you’re making independent decisions, but are you really? Let’s zoom in on the bigger picture, where cultural psychology plays an invisible yet potent role. You don’t realize it, but every product placement, every hue and tint, even the aroma wafting through the air, resonates with your cultural background and psychological wiring.

Imagine this: you start your day by sipping on a cup of matcha tea, honoring a ritual that roots you to a tradition far removed from your daily grind. Now, let’s say you encounter matcha-flavored cookies at a boutique store. You’re instantly captivated. But why? It’s not mere coincidence; it’s cultural psychology at work. The matcha isn’t just a flavor; it’s a story, a connection to a ritual that starts your day, now repackaged into your shopping experience. This daily habit of sipping matcha tea suddenly takes on a new form, making the product irresistible and the marketing genius behind it all the more awe-inspiring.

Your daily habits, your rituals, your cultural norms — they’re not just part of your life; they’re commodities for brands to leverage. It’s exhilarating, maybe even a little unsettling, to realize how deeply brands understand your cultural psyche. These insights aren’t just surface-level observations; they tap into deep, high-arousal emotions like nostalgia, pride, and even a sense of belonging. These emotions are potent, driving you not only to buy but also to become a brand advocate, passionately sharing your ‘finds’ with your LinkedIn network. You’re not just a consumer; you’re a storyteller, breathing life into products by weaving them into your cultural narrative.

In my life, I’ve been both the marketer and the marketed-to. I’ve felt the rush of finding a product that feels like it was made just for me, and I’ve dissected that feeling to understand its roots in cultural psychology. The influence of cultural psychology on customer behavior isn’t just a marketing tactic; it’s an intricate dance between consumer and brand, each shaping the other in a continuous loop. So the next time you feel inexplicably drawn to a product, stop and think: what part of ‘you’ is it speaking to?

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