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Global Impact: Cultural Psychology (Coursera)

Globalization has brought dramatic changes to the marketplace. A proliferation of global brands brings diverse cultures to a consumer population that is also growing culturally diverse. This course enables students to understand how globalization changes consumers at a psychological level, and provides tools for imbuing brands with cultural meanings—creating iconic brands—that can resonate with global consumers.

The focus is on understanding that culture exists in the mind (e.g., values and beliefs) as well as in the environment (e.g., objects, brands, and institutions), and that globalization creates multi-cultural spaces in contemporary societies. Consumers can use the cultural meaning of a brand to build their identities (i.e., assimilate the brand cultural symbolism) or reject the brand’s cultural meaning(s) (i.e., exclusionary reactions).

The course will help students identify when assimilation vs. exclusionary reactions are more likely to occur, as well as devise strategies for imbuing brands with cultural meanings that can elevate them to the status of cultural icons.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

• Understand how globalization impacts the psychological responses of consumers in global markets

• Understand what culture is and how it manifests itself

• Understand how brands acquire cultural meanings

• Predict consumers’ responses to the cultural meanings in brands

• Identify strategies to win-over multi-cultural consumers in globalized markets

• Learn how to build an iconic brand

Course 5 of 7 in the Global Challenges in Business Specialization.




Globalization has brought dramatic changes to the marketplace. A proliferation of global brands brings diverse cultures to a consumer population that is also growing culturally diverse. This module discusses what globalization is, and how it is connected to four forces: growing multiculturalism, cultural mixing, global competition, and connectivity/co-creation. We will analyze what culture is, how it manifests itself, and how culture varies around the world. We will close this module by acknowledging that brands can be tangible representations of culture that embody the values and ideals of a cultural group.

Graded: Cultural Exercises

Graded: Module 1 Quiz


Cultural Mindsets and Assimilation to a Cultural Framework

This module discusses how culture can be brought to the fore of the mind to guide our judgments and behaviors. We will learn that culture is represented in our heads as a network of elements linked to a central concept. When this network is activated in our minds, we exhibit a tendency to assimilate our behavior to what our culture prescribes.

Graded: Cultural Activation by Brands

Graded: Module 2 Quiz


Culture Mixing and Its Consequences

This module reviews how people respond to the juxtaposition of cultures at the same time in the same object, a phenomenon we label culture mixing. We will learn that culture mixing has both cognitive and attitudinal consequences. People can respond favorably or unfavorably to culture-mixed stimuli depending on a variety of personal and contextual factors. We will examine these factors in order to predict when people will respond positively or negatively to culture mixing.

Graded: Culture Mixing Around Us

Graded: Module 3 Quiz


Focusing on Culture to Build Iconic Brands

This module discusses the marketing process to build cultural equity into a brand, or to turn a brand into a cultural icon. The process consists of three stages. The first stage is acquiring a deep cultural understanding of the brand and its market, which is referred to as conducting a cultural audit. The second stage is to develop a cultural positioning, or to articulate a statement about how the brand distinctively embodies the culture. Finally, the last stage is the identification of marketing programs (promotion, product, distribution, and price) to communicate the cultural positioning.

Graded: Cultural Audit

Graded: Module 4 Quiz