Globalization has changed the rules of marketing strategies and effectiveness of a marketing campaign based on the culture of the region. Exploration of rapidly evolving world of modern technology and realization of its best use for today’s society depends on large extent on organization’s technical specialty, knowledge, core competencies and strategic marketing and planning. While going through “The Culture Code”, I realized that Rapaille has an interesting view point on the way different cultures view themselves and others. He believes that there are strong codes that are imprinted early in life, and these cultural codes impact on the way we respond to events, what we buy and what we do. Some of his conclusions are amusing and thought-provoking for example – he describes how French “love” their cheese and how Americans “kill” their cheese. The culture code for cheese in America is “Dead”. The cheese is pasteurized, it is stored in a refrigerator, it is wrapped up in plastic and it tastes bland. On the other hand, the code for cheese in France is “Alive”. Cheese there is kept at room temperature, has a strong aroma and a strong taste. French people buy cheese based on their smell and age. Such observations have implications for marketing, presentation and predictability of success and the sale of ideas in different cultures. Rapaille shows the techniques he has used to improve profitability and practices for Jeep, Nestle and other fortune 100 companies. His book put light on the way every human being acts and lives around the world. He has well supported his arguments about culture with his keen observation and experience by telling all these stories about French, Germans and Japanese people. Understanding American culture to plan your marketing strategy will really help any organization in long run with better results. Method for Determining the Codes His approach to obtaining cultural data: Principle 1: You can’t believe what people say. Principle 2: Emotion is the energy required to learn something. Principle 3: The structure, not the content, is the message. Principle 4: There is a window in time for imprinting, and the meaning of the imprint varies from one culture to another. Principle 5: To access the meaning of an imprint within a particular culture, you must learn the code for that imprint. He describes the sessions that he uses to get his “authentic” data, culminating in a session where subjects lie on the floor, surrounded by pillows, talking about first memories of an event, an emotion or a concept The US as Adolescent I became more involved in this book when he started to talk about Europe being a “mature” culture (slow to react, considered, wise, experienced), while the US is “adolescent” (is volatile, acts without thinking, does not take advice from elders). A theme that pervades the book is the confusion that people from other countries feel about the US. If they are “so stupid”, why are they so successful? A hint for an answer comes in the following conclusion: The American Culture Code for America is DREAM. Sex The US code for love is “False expectation, for seduction it is “Manipulation”, for sex it is “Violence”, for beauty we have “Man’s salvation” and for fat it is “Checking out”. His reasoning for these conclusions (including quotes from his pillow sessions) is actually quite sound. . The Author’s Confused Cultural Identity The author is French, and it was unsettling in the early parts of the book when he kept referring to “we” when talking about Americans. What seemed to be going on was a repudiation of his roots. It was probably unsettling because I have been living out of my own country for 14 years, and “we” as a term of cultural affinity becomes more nebulous as the years go on. Once he explains why he went to America to live, and what it has meant since, all became clear. Conclusion This book is well worth a read. You get an interesting take on all sorts of projects that the author has worked on, including views on alcohol, the popularity of the PT Cruiser, Japanese whaling, the Bush campaign, money and the world’s current disdain for the war in Iraq. Cultural understanding is in short supply right now. This book goes some way in helping to bridge the gap. This book is bold and will probably have you shaking your head both in agreement and in opposition. Of course Rapaille is speaking in generalizations of a large population, and individual mileage may vary, so please keep that in mind. In any case, it is a new lens to view the world. The book should be dedicated to the reptile in all of us.