Cultural Innovation in Marketing Part 1
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Using innovative ideologies to build breakthrough brands by Doug Holt
What is cultural branding?
After reading the book’s preface, I realized that before being able to really dive into, and fully understand what this book had to teach me, I needed to know more about the “cultural approach” to brand strategy. I needed a better understanding of the author Doug Holt, and where both he and the cultural branding model were coming from. This quickly led to me searching the internet for articles in an attempt to gain a better understanding of what exactly the cultural approach to branding is.
First, it appears that cultural branding came about (as so many things do) as a reaction to, and away from an already established model. In the particular case of cultural branding, it was a divergence from the psychology-driven models for branding that became popular in the 1970s. According to Dr. Holt, cultural strategy “offers a distinctive way to identify major new marketplace opportunities and then guide managers on how to craft their offerings in order to take advantage (p. IX)”.
So how does cultural branding accomplish this? Holt asserts the following:
Managers require knowledge about their brands and their consumers to develop strategy. For cultural branding, this knowledge differs dramatically from the standard kinds of brand and consumer knowledge that managers now rely on to guide their branding efforts.
• Cultural knowledge focuses on the major social changes impacting the nation, rather than on clusters of individuals.
• Cultural knowledge examines the role of major social categories of class, gender, and ethnicity in identity construction rather than obscuring these categories by sorting people into "psychographic" groups.
• Cultural knowledge views the brand as a historical actor in society.
• Cultural knowledge views people holistically, seeking to understand what gives their lives meaning, rather than as customers of category benefits.
• Cultural knowledge seeks to understand the identity value of mass culture texts, rather than treating mass culture simply as trends and entertainment.
In summary; cultural branding uses special cultural knowledge of a people that looks at them as a whole group, instead of breaking them down categorically. Cultural branding then specifically looks at the unique conditions affecting a people’s current state, and uses this understanding to identify new market opportunities through understanding their unique perspective on life.