If people could always decode their own behaviour, then psychiatrists and pyschologists would have been out of their jobs. And much like a good mental health professional, a successful brand must nudge their consumers to go to their sub-conscious mind.
Using semiotics and ethnography, we study cultures to get a better understanding of the residual, dominant and emerging behavioural trends in society. But these are things that keep evolving, and it’s no wonder that market research, which is largely static, struggles to keep pace with the thousands of data points, mapping the journeys in popular culture.
Journeys that can move the collective consciousness from righteousness to unapolgetic hedonism. From saving for the rainy day to vacationing on loans. From shying away from paparazzi to auctioning off media-rights to fairytale wedding spectacles. It’s just the kind of constant evolving that never shows up in traditional garbage-in-garbage-out static research.
Take how our homes have evolved, for instance. In just a few years of burgeoning consumerism, it’s gone from being a cocoon of comfort to being more like an exhibition of success and refinement. Values change, systems change and it’s cultural signifiers like these that allow us to map the residual, dominant and emerging behavioural patterns in people and society.
It’s how we fuel our pursuit for original ideas. For our job is not just to understand human behaviour, it is also to shape it.