Successful brands rarely market directly to consumers in the 21st century. They connect with them through the lens of culture & aspirations. Culture is bigger than any language and in our history, it's a medium through which all communication always traveled and evolved. It contains values, signs, symbols, language, and purpose. A true brand intelligence lives between the heart and the head.
Since the 1970s Professor Geert Hofstede has led pioneering research into cross-border culture differences. According to him, "…culture is defined as the collective mental programming of the human mind which distinguishes one group of people from another. This programming influences patterns of thinking which are reflected in the meaning people attach to various aspects of life and which become crystallized in the institutions of a society.
By paying attention to these cultural insights, marketers can get ahead of the curve and offer messages that anticipate changing consumer attitudes rather than simply responding the present needs and wants of consumers. The ability to anticipate future consumer behavior, can give marketers a serious competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.
Observe how conversation changes and most importantly, which direction it's going. Look for opportunities to become a part of it.
Cultural marketers seek to get behind movements and deep trends in the prevailing culture. For example, take Dove’s Real Beauty campaign. By engaging in a conversation about feminine beauty, Dove not only revived its brand but participated in a cultural movement. Quantitative consumer insights might suggest that women have insecurities about their bodies and that these insecurities should be played up in marketing messages. Dove’s insight into broader cultural trends led them to abandon this approach and to take the lead in cultural change. Their ads celebrate different kinds of feminine beauty and have brought this conversation to the front and center of our culture.
How can a small brand participate in those conversations or even get ahead of them? In my opinion they are in a much safer positions than the establishment. Agility and risk management are much easier for smaller brands. Profile your customers, engage and inspire them.
Create topical content, use hashtags and start the conversation.
See where it gets you...