Anthropological marketing is certainly a relevant topic in today’s marketing. A complex topic, which must be addressed taking into consideration concepts that refer to the culture of man, declined through psychology and philosophy. In this text we therefore want to address the issue in question through the use of an appropriate language and with references that go beyond the typical marketing article. We have already had the opportunity to deal with Anthropological Marketing, through research conducted by Linda Armano, Phd. Anthropologist, and here we propose an analysis of the topic from a further point of view.
Enjoy the reading.
2, a complete and perfect number, and of great aesthetic beauty. Dichotomy and complementarity, absence and presence, man and woman, day and night, good and evil, love and hate, demand and supply, 2 is number, binary (also of language), and duality that have accompanied, and will continue to do so forever, Man.
Two perspective focuses conceptually radiate the daily empirical and imply that almost all of human knowledge is purged from other views. The union is at the center, a visual and logical center in everything, and this reality becomes two elements that create converging.
Just as a cube materializes in our eyes thanks to the light that lights up the generally 2 focal points of perspective, every concept of our existence is a keystone that supports and is supported by the two semi-arches. It is, if we will, a dialectic from which we obtain a cathartic and sometimes ascetic crasis. A starting point and an end point create a cyclical nature, so an end point requires a starting point: a bidirection convergent towards a thought that becomes Artwork.
Michelangelo Buonarroti – David, commissioned in 1501 by the Opera del Duomo of Florence, and built between 1501 and 1504 – Florence, Galleria dell’Accademia
In the artistic field, a great work involves a Client and an Artist who stands as its author. It is therefore a thought that is born from two directions and flows into the sculpted material of an absoluteness that has always been in the sky forever.
The Art would not be such if, in the face of a genius on the part of the artist, actor and author, there was no counterpart materialized in the figure of one who knows how to enjoy a work as a spectator, creating a new starting point and then a vitality of the work itself. Man is increasingly included in the artwork, lives in it, with it and for it. The concept of artistic beauty becomes the good par excellence with which to identify, and thus also a cultural driver in the person. Art is not only the concept of artistic creation tout-court, but goes beyond its infinite boundaries by acting on our cultural personality and drawing, giving depth and solid foundations, our aesthetic tastes and preferences e of mindset, actions synergistic to that exercised in us by our history, our ethnicity, our social class, our lineage, and our religion.
People are no longer just spectators but more and more actors of the things in which they identify themselves culturally and aesthetically, transposing the concept of artistic identifier to a consumerist identifier as a natural consequence and conveyed by cultural drivers acquired consciously or unconsciously. This last concept is largely driven by two phenomena studied by Anthropological Marketing and part of the Cultural Iceberg, namely the Unconscious Habits and the Communication. Unconscious Habits are cultural expressions, behaviors that express their thoughts and feelings with words or deeds according to a spontaneous and unconscious motto derived from a sort of acquired DNA. Communication, on the other hand, are cultural communications, that is, more arbitrary, where there is an explicit intention to express oneself on the part of the individual.
As a result of studies on genetic epistemology (experimental study of structures and cognitive processes) by Jean Piaget (psychologist, biologist, pedagogist and Swiss philosopher), according to which the individual is not a passive receptor of environmental influences nor the vehicle of ideas innate but, rather, an active constructor of his own knowledge, the purchase of an object is no longer a slavish act dictated by a market trend, but, on the contrary, it becomes the fulfillment, the voluntary and arbitrary manifestation (even if in part determined by the notion of Habitus by the French sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher Pierre Bourdieu according to which there is a cultural automatism unconsciously used by people, the result of choices coming from a remote past) of a cultural and aesthetic thought that reinforces the characterization of the universe ground I. An object purchased is therefore no longer simply an object, but rather undergoes a conceptual mutation, becoming a sign, a symbol always aimed at transmitting and expressing a long meditated, characterizing and personal message.
Isotta Fraschini, a prestigious Italian brand founded by Cesare Isotta, Fraschini brothers Oreste, Antonio and Vincenzo, and Ludovico Prinetti, at Milan, 27 January 1900
Anthropological Marketing studies topics like this, the “ethno consumerism“, namely the study of consumer cultural behavior.
Combining anthropology with marketing can certainly seem an unnatural operation, especially if we mean marketing as a tool to sell more or even encourage compulsive buying attitudes. But we must consider that before being consumers, we are human beings. The task of marketing is simply to act as a trait-d’union so that companies and their products get in tune with human beings.
The person now has absolute centrality in the definition of the product by the company, which makes use of the Business Anthropology that with an Emic-type approach (the consumer point of view is preferred) is able to identify its cultural traits; this makes it possible to outline a forecast on social scenarios. Company and Consumer are the two actors that converge bidirectionally in the definition and creation of the product. It would be natural to place the study on the same axis between the company and its target audience, but the insights do not always come from a target coaxial to the brand. The target audience can in fact accept some suggestions or be influenced in the definition and choice of the product to be purchased, by people who are not targeted but with rather similar tastes, therefore slightly off the mark with respect to the brand. Clearly this last concept partly influences the minority (but not negligible) with respect to those that are the cultural, thought, and aesthetic foundations of the target consumer.
Especially at the time of purchase, the latter is increasingly related to the sphere of the Human Self-Realization of the Pyramid of Needs by Abraham Harold Maslow, a famous American psychologist. According to Maslow, human existence assigns, according to a pyramidal hierarchy, bands of importance to the varied multitude of needs that interest it. At the base are the basic needs of survival; as one ascends towards the tip of the pyramid, the needs dictated by an ever greater need for security, belonging and esteem reside, up to the highest step that is precisely that of Self-Realization, which today is not just a realization concerning “having become who one wanted to be”, but “having become who one wanted to be also through the identification of cultural symbolic material possessed“. In Maslow’s theory one can see a parallelism with the thought of the American psychologist Carl Rogers according to which a distinction must be made between the organism, that is the man in his totality with his conscious and unconscious needs, and the ego – the part of the organism that contains what each person thinks of himself. Within the ego there is the ideal self: what the person would like to be. The experience, for Rogers, is the matter on which the self is founded and serves growth if the individual becomes conscious of it, that is, it transforms the experience from what happens in the organism to its representation.
Listening to oneself and having the courage to be oneself to the full and not accepting others to influence one’s own judgments is, according to Rogers, the essence of true maturity.
“I don’t obey anyone inside myself, except for the reason.”
According to the functionalist approach of Jerome Seymour Bruner, an American psychologist, the tools and contents of culture are transmitted mainly through language. In this regard, a fundamental importance is covered by narration, a privileged instrument of cultural transmission. Bruner believes that narrative thinking represents a particular way of representing experience.
According to the American psychologist, the development of coding systems takes place through three forms of representation, that is, sets of rules on the basis of which the individual elaborates his own experiences and grasps regularities:
Existence is, according to the German Idealism of the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, an accessory of the essence, while, according to the Existentialism of Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (Danish philosopher, theologian and writer) the existence (from the Latin ex-sistere, ‘stand out’), means to be outside the concept, from the universal essence. Existence cannot be put in place together with essence from thought, but must be a given independent of speculative activity. Dealing with essences means dealing with the universal, but Kierkegaard, once he has ascertained that essence and existence differ, shifts his attention from the abstract universal (concerning only logical entities) to the individual: the Single, the concrete individual. Kierkegaard completely reverses the meaning that Hegel attributed to the term “concrete”. The totality is no longer concrete, but the individual, while abstractness will be the attribute of universality.
The existence, therefore, belongs to the individual. As Aristotle already argued (philosopher, scientist and ancient Greek logician, student of Plato), it does not belong to universal essences (for example to the concept of “humanity”) because they are only logical entities thought but not existing. The existence for Aristotle competes only with the individual in his specific concreteness, the first substance that indicates the ultimate species. The single existing man is distinguished from the genera (for Aristotle, “second substances”) to which he belongs because, while enjoying the general attributes of his species (for man, humanity), he also possesses particular and unrepeatable aspects which characterize it individually, and that cannot be deduced logically from its universal essence.
Also interesting is the study by Soviet psychologist Lev Semënovič Vygotskij, according to which our language and thought processes follow a genetic development that can be framed in four levels from childhood:
As already evident, in Vygotsky’s theory instruments play an important role: human beings live in an environment transformed by the instruments produced by previous generations; these tools mediate social relations.
Vygotsky distinguishes between:
Our development depends heavily on the historical and socio-cultural context in which we live and on the way in which we can master cultural tools (inter-individual process). Our interest in cultural objects and the arts is a phenomenon that sees its beginning already in the very first years of our lives, and they are called transitional objects (or replacing the mother figure), as advocated by the British pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Woods Winnicott.
It is also interesting to observe how in our growth and aging the concept of the universal earthly center I in contrast with the individual-community relationship object of the studies on the comparative individual psychology of the psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, psychologist and Austrian psychotherapist Alfred Adler: there are factors that create a sense of inferiority of the individual towards the community; these factors are organic, educational, and social-economic. From this inner complex, the individual undertakes developmental actions aimed at reaching, affirming, with more or less direct means, his superiority over others; and as a self-conviction, and as a self-confirmation, he will move away from others, to delineate a world that is increasingly self-centered and muffled, more secure and far from the possibility of failing in its ambitions of confrontation with others. It is essentially a self-equipping for a total detachment, emphasis, and raising on the community.
We find ourselves especially today in a “Human Centered” era, and the Business Anthropology supported by another science, the Human Experience, aims to trace on a scientific and analytically way a human being that is no longer subjugable, is no longer manipulable, it is no longer even appealable with the term “consumer” probably, since the type of purchases it makes are the natural consequence of a careful study of one’s self projected – outwards – to the achievement of a Self-Realization always linked to a personal cultural magnificence of thought and aesthetics.
Leonardo Da Vinci – Vitruvian Man, circa 1490 – Venice, Gallerie dell’Accademia
Each Touchpoint (both online and off-line) of the Customer Journey becomes a Human-Customer Experience survey site through participant observation, interviews and technologically advanced tools and latest-generation software solutions (to detect parameters such as eye movements, brain activity, skin conductance and other biometric indicators related to people’s emotional and cognitive state), prerogative of the world’s leading Human Experience Research Labs including TSW. This is to evaluate exhaustively and in detail what people are really experiencing when they interact with brands, environments and products and their media representation. The state of the art also makes it necessary to know how to combine and integrate within a scientific approach methodologies specific to behavioral sciences, cognitive psychology and neuroscience with technologies of medical derivation.
The collected data (psychophysiological, qualitative and quantitative) are thus ultimately evaluated in order to establish the quality of the user experience analyzed in the interaction with physical or digital interfaces, of which the results are then represented using indicators that are hopefully easy to read.
At this point the analyzed individual has become, in a total way, an actor and creator of a conceptual, aesthetic and functional reconstruction of the product and of mediatic conveyance towards it. This is a shaping of man towards the product, and vice versa; a sort of exchange of roles, almost as if the product were to become the conceptual, graphic, cultural and material representation of the human person itself. It is important to assimilate the concept of how the commodity is not meaningless, but rather itself has a story like the individual: goods are objects that are told and manifest their “individuality”.
Human person, product and brand have converged in a single entity, and pleasantness, attention and engagement, psychophysical state are parameters that are indicators of this concept. Understanding how to present your products, understanding what is considered “beautiful, good and fair” in a given socio-cultural context is an urgent task for companies, which prevents them from compromising, both from an economic and image point of view, entire work of placing products on the market. Anthropological Marketing is also a very effective tool for effective Intercultural Communication, helping companies during communication, collaboration and negotiation with individuals from different cultures.
Utagawa Hiroshige – Small Horned Owl on Maple Branch under Full Moon, Japanese Edo period “江戸時代 Edo jidai” 1603-1868 – Boston, USA, MFA Museum of Fine Arts
Just as from the eternal sleep the Big Bang was formed, from nothing I personally came to coin a neologism of Digital Marketing and Human Experience, or “Human Experience Definer” (HED, pronounced / hɛd /)
To paraphrase the concept that I have just expressed, and which reveals a new brain in the philosophy of marketing, the user is and will increasingly be a new key figure, an actor enlisted by companies for definition, through a Human Experience Research Lab, of which are the requests, of what is the real question, of what is the project, of how to approach the realization of which product, and with what functionality / design.
The HEDs will be central and deliberately centralized figures, continuously subjected to XP testing and questioning of sentiment in relation to any phase of conception, design and design, realization of the product, and presentation / representation and mediation of the product, which will then lead to also their signature. In this case we speak not only of a convergent bidirectional creation but also of a two-way anthropocentripetal / centrifugal creation, that is a centripetal Human Centered creation by the brand’s business centers towards HEDs, and an assertive centrifugal type from the center, the HED, towards the poles. All conveyed always by the Human Experience Research Lab.
The HEDs and the Experience Labs will give new impetus to the brands and to all the professional figures involved, both inside and outside the company, also in the artistic field, in the creation of the Product/Artwork. The common denominator and leitmotiv will be a constant parallel presence: the Man of the XXI century.