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What’s Fueling “The Bern?” The Secret Every Marketer Should Know…

As Cultural Strategists, we invest our time and attention understanding the context that drives human behavior: the macroforces, societal trends and ultimately the resulting cultural values shifts that have a tremendous impact on how we exist in the world. This context influences the choices we make: from big life decisions and lifestyle preferences to our behavior in the marketplace. The political marketplace has increasingly become a cultural focal point and …Read More

What’s the Real Point of Brand Purpose? A Perspective on Purpose Alignment and Activation.

Having spent the last 16 years working with a cornucopia of legacy brand and marketing organizations helping them connect with their customers and develop truly relevant innovations and communications, I’ve seen the business mindset evolve in so many positive ways. At some point in recent business history, there was a demonstrative shift in consumer brand (and B2B) corporate culture. Affirmed by studies and books like Grow by Jim Stengle – the …Read More

Lessons From Corporate America on Humanizing Poverty

Last year we completed what ended up being an intensely inspiring project… Our client identified a customer group that they realized they hadn’t been serving to their fullest potential because it is a “target” that they knew very little about. Not only were they profoundly aware of this knowledge gap, but also that their ethnocentric point of view as a corporate culture was definitely going to be a road block on the innovation …Read More

The Return of Vinyl: A Movement In Music and Presence

Music is a big part of our culture here at Culture. We come from backgrounds deeply entrenched in the music scene and families for whom music is not just a part of our lives but also part of our livelihoods. From an anthropological point of view, music is an essential fiber in the fabric of our social lives and lifestyles. In every sphere from religion to recreation, music notes our …Read More

Empowering a New Era of CSR: Customer Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility has been a mainstreaming trend in business for the past decade or more. The intentionality of corporations to make it a point to use their resources as a source of social good is a direct reflection of evolving cultural values. To quote Ryan Honeyman from the B Corp Handbook, “Business is, for better or worse, one of the most powerful forces on the planet. At its best, …Read More

Reebok Chooses To “Be More Human”

Early in 2013, Reebok approached our team with the need to develop a deep, emotional understanding of the motivations of fitness customers and the context of fitness activity in 6 countries. Our team spent 6 weeks on a round-the-world journey to uncover the common beliefs, values and motivators for hard core fitness enthusiasts in order to help Reebok connect with these individuals in a more resonant manner. At Culture, we …Read More

What Ford’s and Chipotle’s Recent Actions Reveal About Their Values

Values matter. That’s the message that comes through loud and clear in recent moves by Ford and Chipotle. In Ford’s case, they took on Cadillac by spoofing their ‘Poolside’ ad with an #Upside ad that calls attention to the values that Ford espouses, while mocking Cadillac’s blatant materialist bent. Meanwhile, over at Chipotle, they are actually raising food prices to keep up with rising costs, and not shying away from …Read More

Social Media and the Return to Accountability

The chart above displays a shift in how human beings experience transactions, plotted over a period of time since the Industrial Revolution. With the rise of one-way mass messaging it’s no surprise that personal interaction and one-to-one dialogue took a nose dive while a faceless (and relatively powerless) consumer was encouraged by corporate sales strategies. Nor is it surprising that we’re returning to a period of high accountability and high …Read More

A Letter from James Cash Penney to JCPenney

In recent weeks, the saga over the fate of JCPenney has been all over the media and advertising industry trade publications, most recently with a warranty spat involving a customer unhappy with a defective engagement ring. We’ve been tracking the situation and decided to dig into the history of the brand and its founder, James Cash Penney, to look for opportunities for the brand to realign itself with the values …Read More

Jack Daniel’s & Gentlemanly Behavior

Commercial brands are increasingly engaging with social movements in order to better ground and express their core values. Working out the ethical implications of this sort of approach can be tricky; they have to be considered carefully on a case-by-case basis. We know that brands capable of recognizing and aligning with social trends can attract attention through – and reciprocally reinforce awareness of – the causes they espouse. But this raises the question of distinguishing positive social trends from negative ones. Read More