There have been important, game-changing strategies associated with marketing performance over the years. For example, “value proposition and differentiation,” “brand positioning,” and “corporate social responsibility.” Each has evolved from the previous and all have demonstrated revenue growth.
The latest idea being integrated into brand and marketing strategies is that of cultural relevance. Simply (easier said than done), integrating what’s most relevant and important in our culture, social consciousness, and personal responsibilities with brand personas and communications strategies…no easy task.
Take a look at a couple recent failed attempts of seeking cultural relevance:
- Peloton lost almost a $1 Billion in market value as a result of backlash from a TV commercial perceived as depicting men encouraging women to stay in shape.
- Hallmark pulled, then re-instated, a “wedding” commercial for Zola featuring the marriage of two women. Cultural amplification forced their turnaround in thinking.
Watch any video today, on cable, network, or social media, and you’ll see brands seeking that fine balance with cultural relevance. Whether it’s interfaith and interracial relationships, political or satirical points-of-view, or gender defining/neutralizing, how a brand performs and reflects cultural relevance has a direct and significant impact on its bottom-line. I refer to this as “Cultural Brand Performance,” a new indicator and strategy for sales growth and consumer engagement.
More fuel for this perspective: in September, Merriam-Webster added the singular pronoun “they,” used to refer to “a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary,” or “to a person whose gender is unknown or is intentionally not revealed.” Earlier this month, the publication went a step further and chose the pronoun as its “Word of the Year.”
Cultural Brand Performance is a new, important strategic consideration in today’s marketplace. Finding the right equation in your market, while sometimes ‘like walking on eggshells’, is key to a brand’s long-term success. More than ever, it’s paramount to stay on top of what’s trending culturally in your marketplace. While I have never been a big proponent of creative testing, it seems to be worth every penny. And can save hundreds of millions.
Just ask Peloton.