Talking Funny (Accents and Advertising)

As the world has changed, so has advertising. Promoting a product, service, idea, place-thing-to-be-sold-here isn’t just about promoting features and benefits, it is also about promoting a sense of meaning and identity. And much to my surprise, an aspect of this that too often overlooked is the importance of language. In a country there are […]

Storytelling, Presenting and Getting Past the Stick in Your Bum

The other day I was thinking about how to present findings to a client about what was, frankly, a seemingly dry subject. Numerous stakeholders would be involved and would range from the CMO down to brand managers, product engineers, etc. So, knowing I had a dry subject and a conservative audience, I decided to rethink […]

Doing Microethnography

Microethnography is a powerful method of research for studying practices in dynamic social systems where interactions reproduce unexplored or poorly understood conditions. It is a powerful intervention for discovering, making visible, or getting at what is happening as it happens in the interactions. Analyzing moment-to-moment interactions enables a better understanding of practices and expectations in […]

St. Patrick’s Day Approaches, es hora de divertirse

Soon, another year will have passed away and the first unofficial rite of spring will be upon us.  I speak of St. Patrick’s Day. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade has a pull as strong as gravity for the residents and spectators in any city.  Kansas City.  It has the usual high school marching bands and […]

Speaking to Business, Not Academics

Why do ethnographers find their work dismissed in many business settings?  Because we don’t always practice what we preach.  Once we land projects, we often fail to do an assessment of the most crucial cultural sample of all – the client. Vast numbers of pages, complex discussions of theoretical frameworks, and jargon-laden language are understood […]

Politics and Culture: Growing Your Brand in India

Companies are scrambling to decode Indian consumers.  Granted, the same could be said for al the BRIC nations, but India in particular seems poised for transformational expansion over the coming decade. There is a young and energetic population, an abundance of resources and a growing population of highly-educated entrepreneurs with personal and professional experience abroad.  […]

Learning the Language of Business

For an anthropologist interested in practicing in the business world, it is as important that he or she learn the language, so to speak, of that culture as it is for an anthropologist entering the a small, tribal society.  It would be tempting to initially argue that the university settings in which we first learn […]

Paralanguage: What You Don’t Say Is Important

Communication is far more than speech and writing.   Most of us are unaware that we are communicating in many different ways even when we are not speaking.  The same goes for other social animal species.  We are rarely taught about this mostly non-verbal form of human communication in school even though it is very […]

Reminders When Recording Fieldwork

Capturing everything in the field can be a daunting task. But there are some basic tips that will help make the process smoother: Write notes as soon as possible to avoid information being lost. Capture major themes and broad ideas within 24 hours and share  them with your team. Write down all personal details about […]

How Language Matters in Multi-Cultural Marketing

For the majority of immigrants to a new country, language runs deeply into cultural and personal identities. “Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity – “I am my language.”  But depending on the context, language  choice signals the relevance of social and political affiliation. From a marketing perspective, it requires an approach that extends […]