Buyer behaviour - Types of Cultural / Social influences

Cultural factors have a significant impact on customer behaviour. Culture is the most basic cause of a person¶s wants and behaviour. Growing up, children learn basic values, perception and wants from the family and other important groups. Marketing are always trying to spot ³cultural shifts´ which might point to new products that might be wanted by customers or to increased demand. For example, the cultural shift towards greater concern about health and fitness has created opportunities (and now industries) servicing customers who wish to buy: ‡ Low calorie foods ‡ Health club memberships ‡ Exercise equipment ‡ Activity or health-related holidays etc. Similarly the increased desire for ³leisure time´ has resulted in increased demand for convenience products and services such as microwave ovens, ready meals and direct marketing service businesses such as telephone banking and insurance. Each culture contains ³sub-cultures´ ± groups of people with share values. Sub-cultures can include nationalities, religions, racial groups, or groups of people sharing the same geographical location. Sometimes a sub-culture will create a substantial and distinctive market segment of its own. For example, the ³youth culture´ or ³club culture´ has quite distinct values and buying characteristics from the much older ³gray generation´ Similarly, differences in social class can create customer groups. In fact, the official six social classes in the UK are widely used to profile and predict different customer behaviour. In the UK¶s socioeconomic classification scheme, social class is not just determined by income. It is measured as a combination of occupation, income, education, wealth and other variables: Class name A B Social Status Upper middle Middle Occupational Head of Household Higher managerial, administrative or professional Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional % of UK Population 3 14

parlance. In other words. Edward Sapir says. Following are the important definitions of culture. Jaw. In sociology. Bogardus "Culture is all the ways of doing and thinking of a group". we use the word culture to denote acquired behavior. "Culture is any socially inherited element of the life of man. and our thinking. Malionwski defines "Culture the handwork of man and conventional understanding manifest in art and artifact which persisting through which he achieves his ends". belief. material and spiritual". which is meant. In other words the behavior which is transmitted to us by someone is called culture. culture is a system of learned behavior shared by and transmitted among the members of a group.S. culture has a specific meaning. characterizes a human group". Mac Iver is of the view that "Culture is the expression of our nature in our modes of living. morals. Redfield remarks that "Culture is an organised body of conventional understanding manifest in art and artifact which persisting through. refined or interesting. E. eating. administrative or professional Skilled manual workers Semi-skilled and un-skilled manual workers 27 25 19 12 Those at lowest level of State pensioners or widows. is understood to mean beautiful. intercourses in our literature.C1 C2 D E Lower middle Skilled working Working Superiors or clerical. Tylor defines "Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge. Definitions of Culture: Culture has been defined in various ways by sociologists and anthropologists. customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society". According to E. which are shared by and transmitted among the members of the society.B. in religion. singing. dancing and talking is all parts of a culture. The way of living. . junior managerial. in recreation and enjoyment. the word culture. casual or subsistence lower-grade workers Define Culture and discuss its features Culture is one of the most important and basic concepts of sociology. The anthropologists believe that the behavior. art. In sociology. wearing. In common. is called culture.

It is shared by the members of society. enacting a role in drama. are all shared by a large number of people. 2. Culture is Shared Culture in the sociological sense. Culture is Learnt Culture is not inherited biologically. believed practised or possessed by more than one person. Similarly wearing clothes. drinking from a glass. Following are the main characteristics of culture. values. Parents pass on culture traits to their children and them in turn to their children arid so on. beliefs. ideas. the artistic work of Kavi Verma or Raphael etc. Transmission of culture may take place by intution as well as by interaction. . Charaka or Charles Darwin. writing and speaking makes it possible for the present generation to understand the achievements of earlier generations. works of Kalidas or Keats. it is necessary for us to know its main characteristics. driving a car. No man can acquire culture without association with other human beings. It is not an inborn tendency. 3. cooking the food. Unlearned behavior such as closing the eyes while sleeping. 1. It is the culture. worship etc. Culture is something adopted. tradition. For example customs. Dandi or Dante. It is a product of society. eating from a plate or leaf. is something shared. Culture has several characteristics. singing. the eye blinking reflex and so on are purely physiological and culture sharing hands or saying µnamaskar¶ or thanks and shaving and dressing on the other hand are culture. Man becomes man only among men. are always of behavior learnt by man culturally. Shankaracharya or Swami Vivekananda. are shared by people of a group or society. Culture is trasmitted not trough genes but by means of language. It is not something that an individual alone can possess.Characteristics of Culture For a clear understanding of the concept of culture. (Robert Brerstedt) 4. The invention of Arya Bhatta or Albert Einstein. morals. Once language is acquired it unfolds to the individual in wide field. There is no culture instinct as such culture is often called learned ways of behavior. Language in its different forms like reading. It originates and develops through social interaction. Deprivation is nothing but deprivation of human qualities. used. but learnt socially by man. It depends upon group life for its existence. Culture is Transmissive Culture is capable of being transmitted from one generation to the next. reading a newspaper. wearing ornaments. combing the hair. which helps man to develop human qualities in a human environment. But language itself is a part of culture. etc. Cultural is Social Culture does not exist in isolation neither it is an individual phenomenon. the philosophical works of Cunfucius or Lao Tse. the literary. Language is the main vehicle of culture.

6. ideologies. It also intervenes in the natural environment and helps man in his process of adjustment. and prescribes means for the satisfaction of our needs and desires. ideals. the achievements of the past and present and makes provision for the future achievements of mankind. Culture may thus be conceived of as a kind of stream flowing down through the centuries from one generation to another. it tends to become cumulative. For example the value system of a society. In its historical growth. . religion. dressing. Culture is responsive to the changing conditions of the physical world. We find amazing growth in the present Indian culture when we compare it with the culture of the Vedic time. As Robert Brerstedt writes culture or the money of human race. traditions. 7. are not uniform everywhere. etc. No culture ever remains constant or changeless. Culture is Continuous and Cumulative Culture exists. it is not altogether static. These needs may be biological or social in nature. so also does our culture help us from natural dangers and assist us to survive. Culture is Dynamic and Adaptive Though culture is relatively stable. Change and growth are latent in culture. name. beliefs and so on. culture is dynamic. in its development has revealed tendency to be consistent. for example. Hence. Cultures are not uniform. as a continuous process. 9. Culture varies from time to time also. greeting. Culture is Consistent and Interconnected Culture. Culture is growing completely which includes in itself. traditions. In fact culture is defined as the process through which human beings satisfy their wants. Culture varies from Society to Society Every society has a culture of its own. philosophies institutions. of different sects differ significantly. Hence. its other aspects such as morality. living etc. Culture of every society in unique to itself. values. Culture is Gratifying Culture provides proper opportunities. morals. Cultural elements such as customs. Ways of eating. different parts of culture are interconnected. entertaining. Culture determines and guides the varied activities of man. a society is closely connected with. Just as our house shelters us from the storm. Our need for food. beliefs in practices. speaking. At the same time. If Manu were to come back to see the Indian society today he would be bewildered to witness the vast changes that have taken place in our culture. Few of us indeed could survive without culture. customs. fulfilled according to the cultural ways.5. It is subject to slow but constant change. fame and money etc are all. shelter and clothing and our desire for status. 8. some sociologists like Lition called culture the social heritage of man. It is adaptive. It becomes difficult for us to imagine what society would be like without this accumulation of culture what lives would be without it. It differs from society to society.

priests and prisoners. players. For example. farmers and soldiers and others are not just biological beings. Their social status and role can be understood only through culture. The term implies the social meaning of physical objectives and physiological acts. The flag represents a nation. Similarly.10. Culture is Super Organic and Ideational Culture is sometimes called the super organic. By super organic Herbert Spencer meant that culture is neither organic nor inorganic in nature but above these two. the social meaning of a national flag is not just a piece of colored cloth. professors and profanation. The social meaning may be independent of physiological and physical properties and characteristics. They are viewed in their society differently. . engineers and doctors.

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