Edits: Cultural Value

08 Oct 2016|Added Value

This month, we revisit the fundamental reason brands are here in the first place – to create value – and explore how the way they do this must change in the face of seismic shifts. Commercial and social value remain central, but in today’s world – against the backdrop of the ever-intensifying scramble for growth – a new, third form of value is rapidly becoming the new currency in marketing and innovation: Cultural Value.

How Smart Brands Harness Culture to Create Growth
Commercial Value and Social Value are still of paramount importance. But a new, third form of value is rapidly gaining ground – Cultural Value. Brands are vehicles to create meaning beyond their categories. This is where culture comes in. Meaning is created through shared culture –things we use to create our identities and express ourselves. This is why brands must deliver cultural value. They need to champion an area of culture that gives meaning to their actions and expressions over and above anything they could say about themselves. Our study into Creating Cultural Value study has highlighted 3 key challenges faced by brands today. Click here to read what Helen Firth, Senior Vice President of Kantar Added Value, has to say…

Creating Cultural Value: 3 Ways to Win
The issue of how brands deepen meaning for consumers by creating Cultural Value is gaining ground among the marketing community. We asked: can we establish some key best-practice principles? Click here to read Kantar Added Value’s three how-tos

Global study findings
Connecting with culture is crucial to grow your business – 83% of the senior marketers that we surveyed are convinced. But what does that mean exactly? Brands that connect with culture are brands that understand and interact with their world, which helps them provide meaning and utility to consumers. To achieve this, companies must follow three steps: identifying the role they want their brand to play in culture; creating a brand experience that is culturally relevant; and cultivating a “curious” mindset in their organization. Click here to read more about Kantar Added Value’s study.

Consumerism has peaked
Earlier this year, a study from the British Office for National Statistics showed how consumption has dramatically shrunk over the last decade in the UK. Compared to 15 tons in 2001, people were only using 10 tons of materials in 2013. As an alternative to the purchase of resource-intensive goods such as CDs and video recorders, the rise of digital consumption has been a major factor in the decline. A more circular economy has emerged, along with various sharing and leasing business models.

Airbnb found its relevance in Belonging
Airbnb is not a mere provider of short stay housing solutions – it is a “community of individuals”. Humans are at the core of the company’s business model, and the brand identity was revamped accordingly in 2014. It now revolves around the concept of belonging. Traveling with Airbnb does not just allow people to visit a place: it helps them belong there, right away, anywhere on the planet. This resonates strongly with Millennials, who typically reject the classic tourist experience.

By standing up, Lush stands out
Lush is a brand whose purpose is at the core of everything, from product development to retail and communications strategies. Not only does the brand position itself as “cruelty-free” – it also occupies a powerful space in the related social and cultural conversations. The company uses its stores as platforms allowing them to spread messages against animal testing. They also take non-product-related actions, such as the implementation of the annual LUSH Prize and the launch of the #makefurhistory campaign. Discover here how a brand balances ethics with profits.

Hello disrupts oral care
Hello is a young brand that launched in a category where customer loyalty is very low – oral care. The brand was built around the “naturally friendly” philosophy, which translates into both the way the products are made and the way they are experienced by users. Hello is disrupting its category by fighting commoditization, while responding to growing consumer expectations for more “humane” brands. They take it even further by allowing anyone to have a Skype conversation with Craig Dubitsky, CEO and founder.

Under Armour shifts the female empowerment conversation
The “I will what I want” campaign by Under Armour was built around a powerful cultural insight – women are constantly exposed to supposedly supportive messages that are in reality contradictory and disempowering. They put pressure on women by stating what their aspirations should be. Under Armour decided to shift the cultural conversation by encouraging women to define and achieve success on their own terms. Sales have increased by 28%.

How Gatorade moved from beverage to sports brand
In 2009, Gatorade was struggling with slow results and a weak brand identity. PepsiCo marketers figured the brand needed to stand for something more than a product: it should embody a lifestyle, and become a fully-fledged sports brand. This change of paradigm meant that Gatorade competitors were no longer VitaminWater and Red Bull, but Nike and Adidas. This not only impacted communications, but also led Gatorade to shift focus towards sports nutrition and technologies.

Authentic brand expression in cultural conversations
With the rise of digital communities and social media, marketers saw the opportunity to develop content strategies that would make branding efforts easier. To Douglas Holt’s point, this was a pipe dream: people no longer want to hear what brands have to say. Companies need to understand what customers actually care about, and what their brand can stand for in that cultural context. The more they contribute and shape the conversations that are happening, the more relevant brands remain. Click here to read why Izzy Pugh, Director of Cultural Insight & Semiotics Kantar Added Value thinks that creating a cultural vibrancy is an essential element to drive meaningful brand growth.

Get in touch if you’d like to hear how Kantar Added Value can help you drive the Cultural Value of your business and brands.

Jonathan Hall, Global Chief Innovation Officer, Kantar Added Value
@HallCJonathan

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