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Need & Scope of Culture-centric Marketing: An Overview

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Hello everyone, welcome to my newsletter. My name is Rajat, and I am a certified digital marketer with an MBA in marketing and international business.

The reason why I started Culturisk Marketing was to help out businesses belonging to specific industries that are rooted in culture. You might be wondering what they are. Well, art, entertainment, sports, education, food & travel, social welfare, and others. They are directly or indirectly linked to our social & cultural fabric. There are so many more, but the common link among all of them is, culture.

Now, what is culture exactly?

It is the ecosystem in which people find relationships, associations, belonging, and a feeling of being included, welcome, loved. Not every industry needs this ecosystem only culture-related industries do. And it's not just about B2C it is relevant for B2B as well. A good example would be LinkedIn, rooted in culture, helps people both B2C & B2B, and pushes for growth, improvement, and progressive changes.

In Dec. 2021, I decided that I'll work on this invisible but real problem of culture-centric marketing. Not only from a perspective of a marketer but also a consultant. Afterall culture is not limited to your target audiences. It is a reflection of who you are as a person, company or business. Your workplace environment, your client relationships, your own relationship with your work is also a component of your culture. So there are multiple levels to it, and we can improve all of them if we care enough.

For now, let's just focus on marketing, because businesses would care more about sales & revenue, much more than improving organizational structure & workplace culture especially when such big talks are coming from me. A random guy from LinkedIn. However, most of the people will take my advice fairly seriously if it is focused on increasing sales. So let's do that.

How do you improve your marketing with help of culture?

1) You research about your target audience

2) Build a culture-centric brand identity

3) Create content that helps them in a significant way

4) Build relationships that go beyond selling something

5) Prioritise serving community by contributing to it in every way possible with progressive values at the core of all strategic decisions.

Culture-centric marketing can easily be misconstrued. Hence, it is important to stay vigilant about the impact your strategies may have.

If your priority still remains to make money, it can be perceived as selfish and improper. Because you may come off as a brand that is using culture as a tool or tactic to lure in people and sell them stuff.

On the other hand, ethical culture-centric marketing is all about being an authentic part of a community that needs specific solutions, that needs transparency, communication, and accountability from a business they can trust. And you give them that through your product or service along with your content marketing strategy. It is very easy to be mistaken. Don't take it lightly.

Cultural appropriation is one of the many dangers of cultural marketing, stereotypes, dogmas, and stuff you don't want your brand to associate with. On the other hand, ethical Culture-centric marketing is all about inclusiveness, progress, and growth that benefits the whole community.

Clear, well-intended vision, & transparent campaigns will help us all adapt & improve progressive ideas with time. And that is the reason I started Culturisk. In order to eliminate the risk of bad marketing we have to research about the culture. So that the preferences and likings of your target audiences can guide you to design a better marketing strategy beforehand.

It is not just about marketing yourself in a culture-friendly way, it is about serving the culture. And we believe money will follow. Since money is not the first priority in this type of marketing, our plans are rejected before they reach execution.

Of course it is not very appealing to the investors and business owners. If you know anything about marketing, this is where all the meetings will end. That's the only reason why most companies don't really support Culture-centric or cultural marketing because it's not focused on generating revenue. But if you actually study the real world, and all those companies that support Culture-centric marketing, are immensely successful!

Generally most businesses want to start making money quickly and that's the reason why most of them fail to sustain over a long period of time. Because the strategies they use to propel themselves into the rat race of selling actually harms their brand image, reputation, and credibility. Since they're under pressure of selling x amount of units or reach x amount of monthly targets, they have to compromise on certain aspects.

Take examples of all those loan, credit card, insurance, and ed-tech companies who keep bothering you everyday. They've devalued themselves so much by calling, messaging, and sending emails hundreds of times. Their cheapness & desperation keeps them from building a genuine connection with their audiences.

No wonder they are easily replaceable as soon as a cheaper alternative enters the market.

So in short, if you want to be like them, cool, do what everybody else is doing. Keep running behind clients and customers, for a few bucks, keep selling hundreds of products with razor thin margins, and keep marketing only to sell. That's a recipe for disaster.

However if you want to build a brand that people not only remember but like, cherish, and also respect, then you need Culture-centric Marketing.

This is not for everyone. Again, this is only for those who genuinely want to serve people and not just extract value from them. Most businesses want to get their money multiplied first, fairly quickly by using any means possible and then they hope to become a Culture-centric brand later. Which is not possible as we've already explained.

Throughout your journey there are certain compromises that brands have do to prioritise money and it does impact their image, in the long run.

Simply put, you don't have to be a politician, social worker, civil servant, police, or a doctor to do good for others. If you genuinely serve people in whatever way, that's good enough. You can be a good selfish businessman with high moral standards, social awareness, and kindness, you can still be good if you give back to society.

When you genuinely care about culture and people, they do care about you too. It never fails in the long run. However it's not a great selling point for Marketers like me. It's difficult to convince companies to invest in the benefits of their target audiences without expecting guaranteed & quick results.

Especially when there are "performance marketers" & sellers out there who can help them immediately get their money multiplied with 50-50 chances. So they're more likely to risk losing 50% immediately rather than being patient for a few months or years to build a culture-centric brand identity get a 100% guaranteed dub!

Please try to understand I am not against hard selling or performance marketing. I've done that too. At one point, it did not feel right. It sucked the life out of me. It's just that the world is becoming more and more how do you say it? Transactional. Especially marketing. Now, It's all about numbers and data, which is not the reason I stepped into marketing.

Numbers, data, algorithms can show you a pattern of behaviour of your target audiences, you can learn their habits, likings, and predict future of demand roughly but can any data tell you why someone buys something? No. Data uses statistical information of past and present. But all they do is show - how something happens or how something will happen. But not "why".

Try to understand why someone buys something? In the world of great technological revolution the decision making is still based on human emotions, feelings, and purpose. Not just numbers. Numbers know how, people know why. I love science and every single thing that makes our life better is a product of science indeed but then when it comes to human relationships, logic goes out of the window. It's all about emotions & the culture. And I believe that data analytics, and AI are our tools that will allow us to study our culture better but it is up to us how we navigate our future.

Whether we want to use them to improve our culture or not. This is why I started culturisk marketing so that the relationships people have with businesses and within their workplaces are not just transactional & soulless.

Yes, I hate capitalism & materialism at my core, and that is the reason, why I became a marketer. Let me explain. Because I cannot destroy capitalism and materialism, I had to find another way to minimize its impact. And since we all have to live with it, why not make it a little bit bearable?

Building a deeper relationship among the workers, the business owners, and customers through cultural and social campaigns, we can create a better future. Ultimately, culture-centric strategy goes beyond marketing & business, it will help the overall economic system enjoyed by a happy society.

This means, the relationships among consumers, workers, & companies don't have to be bitter. We can build a culture-friendly system through this revolution

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