47 minutes | Apr 28, 2021

18: Systems In Flux: A Unified Theory of Culture, Branding, and Human Behavior

Every single culture and subculture - from states and governments to user segments and brand tribes - falls along the tight-loose continuum. A culture’s tightness or looseness affects people’s perceptions of threat, how they relate to each other, how they consume, and of course the narratives that shape the businesses and brands that form within that culture. In this third episode in our series on Systems In Flux, we’re talking about the invisible systems that make a culture relaxed or rigid, and the surprising tradeoffs involved. Michele Gelfand is a cultural psychologist and author of the book ‘Rule Makers, Rule Breakers’. Her life’s work has been spent researching how tight and loose cultures form in the first place, and if and how they can actually be changed. We talk about how this affects every kind of brand, including international brands, political brands, lifestyle brands, service brands, and CPG.Of all the studied cultural phenomena out there, this is perhaps one of the most important in helping us understand the world at this very moment. Once you understand the concept, it will not only reveal a new perspective on the world of business and branding, it will also reveal the deeper logic beneath the many seemingly illogical things in the world that may have been on your mind lately.Links to interesting things mentioned in this episode and further reading:Rule Makers, Rule Breakers (Amazon):https://www.amazon.com/Rule-Makers-Breakers-Tight-Cultures/dp/1501152939/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=rule+makers+rule+breakers&qid=1619635856&sr=8-1Tightness–looseness: A new framework to understand consumer behavior (Wiley):https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1016/j.jcps.2017.04.001Why countries with 'loose', rule-breaking cultures have been hit harder by Covid (Guardian):https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2021/feb/01/loose-rule-breaking-culture-covid-deaths-societies-pandemicOne Reason Mergers Fail: The Two Cultures Aren’t Compatible (Harvard Business Review)https://hbr.org/2018/10/one-reason-mergers-fail-the-two-cultures-arent-compatibleMindset Quiz: How Tight or Loose Are You? (MicheleGelfand.com)https://www.michelegelfand.com/tl-quizFor more brand strategy thinking: https://www.theconceptbureau.com/
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