Inspiring details

Date of publication: December 1, 1995


This paper starts with a discussion of the overlapping domains of anthropological study and market research, pointing out the fundamental role culture plays in shaping brands. It then explores the uses of anthropological theory and ethnographic methods in deciphering consumer relationships with brands. Anthropology's focus on contextual details for understanding and interpreting behavior is offered as a means for managing increasing complexity of consumer markets. Methods for capturing cultural context are listed and examples given. Lastly, I suggest that these participatory, experiential research methods include clients as well. In a heterogeneous, fragmented society, words are inadequate translators of consumer behavior, thoughts and desires.

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