Cultural cloutThe role of culture in consumerdecision makingJustin GibbonsCreative DirectorArena Media
We’ve learnt a lot about decision making
And we’re still learning
There is a new layer to consider: the role of culture
Brands sit at the heart of this new understanding
Brands exist in the cultural world of the consumer
What are ‘cultural texts’ ?
A plethora of academic research demonstrates the role of media context
Newsbrands are ‘the new cultural intermediaries’
Media with Cultural Clout support brands’ cultural ideals
Insert film here
5 things to think about• What are the cultural ideals my brand could or should support?• What stories does my brand have t...
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Cultural clout: The role of culture in consumer decision making

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Justin Gibbons, creative director at Arena Media, explains that all media have some cultural potency but in a fragmented era of digital over-supply and
dumbed-down content, newsbrands are the most compelling in terms of their effect on the
culture of the nation.

Published in: Business, Technology
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  • The assumption that consumers are rational economic agents is abating but the models we use to map decision making remain linear in nature
  • We are learning more about what’s going on in the brain, what behavioural traits are kicking in and how our hearts really do rule our headsA swathe of publications have thrown light on this: blink, nudge, the decisive moment, buyologyAnd some attempts have been made to move away from linear models – mckinsey example
  • The latest academic thinking adds a new layer to this understandingWe are now discovering that purchasing is also, to varying degrees, driven by CULTUREWe choose brands in order to meet certain cultural idealsThis development follows a very clear linear path through the history of brands
  • Brands as we know them today really kicked in the 80s with the emergence of the CONSUMER SOCIETY: we used them to badge ourselves; to make very overt outwardly driven statements about ourselvesThrough the 90s and 00s we saw the emergence of more inner directed consumption. Loreal went from ‘Because you’re worth it’ to ‘because I’m worth it’Rather than merely badge ourselves we wanted to reflect the more faceted nature of our values and aspirationsAnd alongside this, the models we use to document the brand have evolved: from a simple product based features and benefits approach, through onions and pyramid and keys
  • The latest academic thinking states that we need to understand brands exist in the world of the consumer; something Mark Earls /herd has been saying for many years nowAnd therefore we can no longer think about them in isolation when in it comes to decision making; academics are claiming that the CULTURAL TEXTS that brands have impact on decision making; the decision is not solely about BRAND A or BRAND B but the CULUTRAL TEXTS they exhibitAt this stage, it’s best that we explore what we mean by culture and this phrase CULTURAL TEXTS
  • CULTURE – what we’re not talking about is opera or the balletRather CONSUMER CULTURE where meaningful ways of life and the resources on which they depend are delivered by consumption of goods, namely BRANDSA cultural approach to decision making promotes a reading of decision making in the circulation and attainment of cultural idealsIt’s not about how people decide between BRAND A and BRAND B and what one or the other may say about the purchaser, but adds another layer of understanding about why a brand is desired and purchased beyond that – namely what cultural ideals does it supportThis is demonstrated by the brand’s CULTURAL TEXT: beyond attributes and values academics are now looking at the stories that wrap a brand in cultural relevanceThe more relevant and/or appealing the TEXT is the more CULTURAL CLOUT the brand has, giving it competitive advantage
  • Next, we need to understand how consumers ‘pick up’ these CULTURAL CUESWe know that brand communications are decoded at many levelsHIGH INVOVLEMENT – elaboration of the message at a conscious levelLOW INVOLVEMENT – subconscious cues that exist within the comms and contribute to creating/reinforcing the brand engramCONTEXT – there is a plethora of academic research dating back to the 60s that demonstrates how the media context also informs the decoding of brand comms, also at a low involvement level; where your brand is seen shapes perception
  • Until the early 1980s, traditional institutions like FAMILY, RELGION, NATION and GOVERNMENT shaped the cultural ideals we aspired toNow consumers turn to other sourcesNewsbrands are a dominant source of cultural texts that shape the ideals we aspire to; they are the new cultural intermediariesIn a digital landscape, trusted and authoritative curators of content are sought and newsbrands are increasingly strong here
  • The academic research shows a higher correlation between media context and advertising effectiveness for newsbrands than some other media; due in part to the higher levels of engagement that consumers have with newsbrand contentTherefore, academics claim that a more CULTURALLY RELEVANT context will help define and support the cultural space the brand wishes to occupy. This increases the brand’s cultural clout and this is brand advantage.
  • Cultural clout: The role of culture in consumer decision making

    1. 1. Cultural cloutThe role of culture in consumerdecision makingJustin GibbonsCreative DirectorArena Media
    2. 2. We’ve learnt a lot about decision making
    3. 3. And we’re still learning
    4. 4. There is a new layer to consider: the role of culture
    5. 5. Brands sit at the heart of this new understanding
    6. 6. Brands exist in the cultural world of the consumer
    7. 7. What are ‘cultural texts’ ?
    8. 8. A plethora of academic research demonstrates the role of media context
    9. 9. Newsbrands are ‘the new cultural intermediaries’
    10. 10. Media with Cultural Clout support brands’ cultural ideals
    11. 11. Insert film here
    12. 12. 5 things to think about• What are the cultural ideals my brand could or should support?• What stories does my brand have to tell to support these ideals?• In media, where do these cultural stories exist?• Which media have the most cultural clout?• Are there ways of working with Newsbrands to leverage the cultural story?
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