Beyond Culture

A brand is not an island – it exists within its environment. And for a brand to have any relevance it needs to resonate with people. So what ties the wider environment and connecting with people together? Culture, or more accurately shared cultural reference points.

Although not a book about brand specifically, Beyond Culture brings us important insights into human behaviours and shared culture. We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that behaviours are intrinsically ‘human’, when actually very often they are ‘cultural’. The examples of this are actually many and various, such as colours or hand-gestures meaning different things in different countries.

When working with brand it is important to understand that what we might think something represents may not be what it represents in different cultures. This is particularly pertinent when working with brand globally – what works around the world and what needs specific attention for different cultures and shared cultural references.

If you don’t take my recommendation then this guy knew a thing or two about people, “I have found Beyond Culture a rich experience” – Marshall McLuhan

Beyond Culture is a proud celebration of human capacities. For too long, people have taken their own ways of life for granted, ignoring the vast, international cultural community that surrounds them. Humankind must now embark on the difficult journey beyond culture, to the discovery of a lost self and a sense of perspective. By holding up a mirror, Hall permits us to see the awesome grip of unconscious culture. With concrete examples ranging from James Joyceʼs Finnegans Wake to the mating habits of the bowerbird of New Guinea, Hall shows us ourselves. Beyond Culture is a book about self-discovery; it is a voyage we all must embark on if mankind is to survive.

Hall, E. (1977) Beyond Culture, New York: Anchor Books / Doubleday


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