Definition: Sociocultural is a term related to social and cultural factors, which means common traditions, habits, patterns and beliefs present in a population group. The term is mostly used in sociologic and marketing contexts and refers to the most remarkable drivers behind the way people makes decisions in a society.
What Does Sociocultural Mean?
Understanding of sociocultural factors is key for business. Any firm that aims to provide goods or services requires proper knowledge or at least basic information about its target group. This is particularly important when entering a new geographical market. When a company wants to start exporting, it is useful to comprehend how willing potential consumers are to accept and ultimately purchase its products.
What is considered normal and regular in a society can be unusual or even extravagant and immoral in others. Assessing sociocultural factors answers questions such as: Are people used to eat vegetables on a daily basis? What is the attitude toward outdoor sports? Do housewives consider luxurious to have a microwave at home? By asking these questions and researching about social behaviors and cultural traditions companies can increase their chances to success in the market they are trying to serve.
Jose Mendez is a Mexican entrepreneur living in Germany who plans to create Tacos & Tortillas, a new Mexican fast food brand. He plans to open five outlets in a medium-sized German town during a period of three months. Mr. Mendez was encouraged by the success of a Mexican friend who followed a similar project in New Jersey. Before making this investment, Mr. Mendez informally shared the business idea to a marketing advisor who suggested a sociocultural research.
Mr. Mendez therefore purchased a report that explained common attitudes of German people toward food and general eating habits. He surprising found that people in small and medium towns like to eat homemade meals and are not used to try new, exotic tastes. These cultural features differ if living in large cities, where people like to eat out and visit non-traditional restaurants. After the sociocultural assessment, Mr. Mendez developed the business project in the two largest German cities instead of the original location. He was successful and could expand the chain to ten outlets in three years.