The D.A.I. model to better understand different mindests and cultural values: why social responsibility means higher prices?

Few weeks ago, from a new Twitter follower, I’ve received a direct message with the following question: “Do you spend more money with a brand that you think is socially responsible?”. I felt immediately that it could be either a marketing research or a way to create awareness on something, nothing bad on it whatever it is.

Anyhow, the aim of a question is to gather an information. So which is the information that the question above wants to address? Suddenly came into my mind a principle from information theory: information is an interpretation of data based on assumptions (see figure). Usually assumption are due to culture, mindset and context in general. Think, as an example, how the same gesture of moving the head up and down (data) means yes for Europeans and Westerns but for Indians means exactly the opposite.


So, why not applying such a principle from information theory also for every day life in order to better understand ourselves as well as others? Let’s analyze deeper the question “Do you spend more money with a brand that you think is socially responsible?”

First of all, the question is a close one since the answer must be yes or not. When I’ve realized that I felt myself uncomfortable… why? I thought and I realized that is due to the value of “social responsibility” that in the question is forced to be against “price” (money).

Acknowledge that, I inferred unconsciously that if the answer of the question would have been YES it means that social responsibility is priceless thus more important that money. Vice versa, if the answer would have been NO.

…however, why inferring such considerations? which is the assumption behind? That was my doubt and my hypothesis was that the assumption behind the tricky question “Do you spend more money with a brand that you think is socially responsible?” is: beeing social responsible costs!

…wow, eureka! So, why not creating such conditions so that pursuing social responsibility implies intrinsically cheaper products?

That was my question that I’ve delivered to the owner of the research…and, as an incredible surprise, I’ve receive the following answer: “The impression is socially responsible = higher product cost to the consumer.”

Bingo! The assumption that I’ve inferred is right. There is a kind of cultural impression, suggestion and mindset that unconsciously let us to think (me included) that if you want social responsible products there are no other ways: you have to pay more! Why?

Paradoxically, since people behave according to incentives, if socially responsibility implies intrinsically cheaper prices instead, a virtuous circle will be established!

How to create a context where the assumption “socially responsible = higher product” is replaced with “socially responsible = cheaper product”?

…I don’t know, any idea?

Meanwhile, why not applying the DAI (Data, Assumption, Information) model whenever we inferred quick answers?

Behind each information there is an unknown world of undisclosed assumptions.

Feelink – Feel & Think approach for doing life!


IT, I, WE: A Framework For Assessing the Consumer Behavior

How the consumer behaviours should be inferred? Or, is the brand proposition consistent with the targeted culture? These is the issues to address for defining a marketing strategy.

Along my MBA experience, I had the both the opportunity to study some insights regarding the behavior of a Chinese customer and living a cultural experience in China within an exchange program (Sun Yat-sen University). So, how is possible to create a framework that measure the consistency (correlation) between the culture and the relative inferences about the decision making process of the consumer? That was what stimulate my curiosity during my permanence in China so much that was also the question I have chosen as a final essay for the exchange [2]:

IT, I and WE

Briefly, in order to evaluate the consistency between the culture and the inferred consumer behaviours the idea is to use the IT, I and WE paradigm initially developed by Daniel Ofman [1] within the Core Qualities where are mainly three areas that represent three different ways to see the world and the reality:

  • IT: IT is the world of science, truth and objective reality as well as of tasks and goals to achieve.
  • I: I is the inner world and is about arts and also self-understanding, self-consciousness and self-awareness.
  • WE: the “sense of WE”. Solidarity, inclusion and sense of being part of a group\community are the main values for such a WE personality.

Since the IT, I and WE model by Daniel Ofman has been applied also for managing diversities and conflicts among people (See Blue, Green and Red model by Diversity Icebreaker) [3], why not applying it also for asessing cultures and consumer behaviors? Let’s see how.


The model IT, I and WE in the methodology proposed has been implemented as follow:

  1. First, identify the main topics that in general can assess a culture.
  2. For each topic, given 6 points available, distribute the points among the three areas IT, I and WE.
  3.  Sum all the points obtained respectively for the IT, I and WE areas.
  4. Collects all the findings that describe the decision making process of the customer.
  5. As it has been done for the culture at point 2, assign per each characteristic of the consumer behaviors 6 point distributed among the area IT, I and WE.
  6.  Sum the scores obtained respectively for the IT, I and WE areas regarding the consumer behaviour.


IT, I, WE: A Framework for Assessing the Consumer Behaviour (Infographic)

The result obtained from the analysis of the Chinese consumer behaviors has shown:

  • A consistent preference to the WE area: 45% and 38% from the Cultural and consumer behavior respectively. The result suits the high context mark of the Chinese culture where trust is based on relationships rather that tasks and facts.
  • Divergences between IT and I areas. In fact, with the selected items, the Chinese Culture has shown a preference to the IT area (35%) rather than to I (20%), while the Chinese behaviors has shown a balance between them, 25% and 37% respectively for the IT and the I.

For further details see the references.


  1.  Ofman Daniel. (2004). Core Qualities: a Gateway to Human Resources. Cyan Communications.
  2. Gruer Ivan. (2013). ” IT, I, WE: a framework for the consumer behaviour“. (Slideshare).