Customer Research: The impact of culture

By Sarah Sejer, Specialist Community Manager



In their attempt to uncover what is important to consumers, many companies across the world ranging from car to toy manufacturers have, for several years, capitalised on anthropological methods of comprehending the human being.


The relevance that anthropology offers the world of business is the discipline of a broad or holistic approach to understanding the many aspects of human existence.


For instance, a phenomenon such as love which is the ultimate marker of one shared human experience has been proven by anthropologists to be evoked differently in diverse societal contexts. Although I feel love for someone, the way I express that love is determined by my personal cultural context.



Acknowledging the cultural context and its importance to global companies has, therefore, with good reason won presence in the world of business and research. For as every manufacturer or retailer knows humans are in fact hard to predict, for which reason products and services do not always receive the welcome by its recipients as predicted.


But as a company or insights team, how do you secure taking the cultural context of your customers into account when doing your research in different global markets?

Ask your questions right and maximise respondent engagement:


Any facilitator of cross-cultural research must consider cultural variations regarding perceptions of questions and concepts. These often derive from variations in language, cultural norms, sensitivity to a certain topic and so on and so forth.


When embarking on research in foreign territory it is, therefore, a good idea to ally with cultural experts and translators when formulating your research questions to ensure the maximisation of respondent engagement.


Analyse in local language and avoid getting lost in translation:


Responses to products or services will always vary depending on cultural context. Using local language experts to report findings is key in bringing to light cross-cultural nuances that may otherwise be taken for granted via English translated customer responses and the use of analysts unfamiliar with the cultural environment of your customers.


Impartial knowledge is key to nuances customer feedback:


It’s hugely important to ensuring an ‘eyes wide open’ approach to any research project to ensure complete impartial reporting. After all, you want completely honest and objective customer feedback. It is, therefore, a good idea to again rely on externals to assist you with both the survey design and reporting.


How UserTribe does it

In UserTribe, we specialise in providing culturally sensitive analyses to companies that enable them to broaden their understanding of customer perspectives. As we work with many international clients, we have built up a global network of Customer Insights Specialists that from the survey design phase to the reporting phase ensure that both respondent engagement & customer insights reflect the cultural environment of the respondent. Ultimately, UserTribe is a gateway for clients to overcome the challenge of truly understanding their global audience no matter the market.


Have any questions – please feel free to mail Sarah

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