Switching your print on demand supplier? Get in touch with us here

1. What is culture marketing?

Culture marketing: Definition and strategies for success

In an age where brands are competing not just for customers, but for attention, trust, and resonance, culture marketing emerges as a cornerstone strategy. Rooted in the deep understanding and reflection of prevailing social beliefs, values, customs, and practices, culture marketing transcends traditional advertising methods to connect with audiences on a profound level. This approach does not merely involve using cultural trends as embellishments; rather, it necessitates a genuine integration of these elements into a brand's core messaging.

Whether you are a seasoned marketer or just starting out, this guide offers insights that will shape the future trajectory of your campaigns.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Culture marketing employs marketing strategies that incorporate cultural elements to form genuine connections between a brand and its audience.

  • This marketing approach moves beyond merely promoting and selling products and services and embodies respect for varied cultures, reflecting cultural, social, and political narratives relevant to the target audiences.

  • Culture marketing helps brands navigate global markets by tailoring messaging and offerings to be culturally relevant and respectful. When brands listen and learn from the cultures they engage with, they ensure their marketing strategies are impactful, respectful, and supportive.

  • Key elements of effective culture marketing include authenticity, relevance, inclusivity, respect, value addition, and consistency.

  • Strategies to enhance culture marketing efforts include creating content with heartfelt storytelling and intertwining with cultural themes, investing in localized advertising, celebrating regional and cultural events, leveraging user-generated content, etc.

What is culture marketing?

Culture marketing, or cultural marketing, emanates from a confluence of marketing strategies that seamlessly draw upon the various cultural elements and assist brands in establishing a resonant and genuine connection with their audience. It transcends the mere act of selling products or services and delves into a realm where brands embody, respect, and reflect the cultural, social, and even political narratives pertinent to their target audience. Culture marketing focuses on understanding cultural nuances but also involves adeptly integrating them into marketing campaigns, ensuring that communications are culturally relevant, sensitive, and engaging.

Culture marketing in action

An iconic example of culture marketing can be observed in Nike’s “Dream Crazy” campaign, featuring Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback renowned for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Nike didn’t just promote its products; it took a firm, unambiguous stance by aligning its brand with a socially and culturally charged movement. 

This move, albeit controversial, echoed loudly within the cultural zeitgeist, fostering a profound connection with consumers who shared similar values and beliefs. By interlacing its marketing endeavors with culturally relevant narratives, Nike elevated its brand perception from a mere athletic wear company to a socially conscious entity, illustrating the compelling impact and deep-seated resonance of effective culture marketing.

Why is culture marketing important?

Culture marketing emerges as a quintessential marketing strategy in an era where consumers are inextricably drawn toward brands that mirror their cultural values, beliefs, and cultural sensibilities. This approach transcends traditional marketing parameters, embedding brands within the vibrant tapestry of relevant societal and cultural narratives. It's pivotal for forging authentic, meaningful connections, ensuring that brands not only communicate their value propositions but also resonate emotionally and culturally with their audience. 

The importance of culture marketing is accentuated in its ability to foster brand loyalty and advocate behavior, as consumers tend to align themselves with brands that reflect or respect their cultural identities and values.

What makes good culture marketing?

Culture marketing essentially goes beyond the act of embedding a brand within cultural narratives; it entails a profound and authentic engagement with those narratives, ensuring that the brand becomes a credible and respected actor within them. Here are a few key elements of good culture marketing:

  • Authenticity: Genuine engagement and respect toward the cultural elements being addressed ensure the marketing strategies are not perceived as appropriation or insincere pandering.

  • Relevance: The cultural narratives should be currently pertinent to the target audience, reflecting ongoing dialogues, concerns, and celebrations within their communities.

  • Inclusivity: Embracing a wide array of perspectives and voices within the cultural dialogues ensures the brand is perceived as an ally and advocate for diverse audience segments.

  • Respect: A delicate and considered approach that respects the complexities and sensitivities of cultural elements is vital to prevent missteps and backlash.

  • Value addition: The brand should strive to add value to the cultural dialogue, whether through supportive actions, providing platforms, or contributing positively to the narrative.

  • Consistency: The cultural engagement should be consistent with the brand’s established identity, values, and messaging to ensure coherence and credibility.

A brand effectively wielding culture marketing not only amplifies its reach but also enriches its relationship with its audience, becoming a cherished participant in their cultural experiences and dialogues while avoiding the pitfalls of cultural appropriation or insensitivity. It’s this strategic, sincere, and respectful engagement with cultural narratives that propels a brand into a sphere where it is not just seen but also deeply valued and trusted by its audience.

Implement these powerful strategies to enhance your culture marketing efforts

A nuanced understanding of the various cultural contexts and a genuine respect and appreciation for them can help your brand succeed in local markets. Here are some strategies that can help you establish yourself in foreign markets:

1. Create content with heartfelt storytelling

  • Humanize stories: Develop narratives that revolve around people, their experiences, and cultural touchpoints.

  • Intertwine with cultural themes: Weave your brand stories with prevailing cultural themes and societal discussions.

  • Multimedia engagement: Utilize various mediums - videos, blogs, and podcasts to tell diverse, captivating stories.

  • Content diversity: Employ varied content formats - blogs, webinars, and videos, depicting cultural stories and celebrations.

2. Embrace inclusivity and representation

  • Diverse faces and voices: Make sure marketing materials reflect a broad spectrum of individuals and experiences.

  • Empower the underrepresented: Give a platform to stories and individuals that are often marginalized or overlooked.

  • Authentic narratives: Ensure stories of different cultural groups are told authentically and respectfully.

  • Inclusive product line-ups: Feature products that cater to diverse cultural needs and preferences.

3. Invest in localized advertising

  • Geo-specific content: Tailor content to resonate with local cultures, languages, and trends.

  • Utilize local influences: A cultural marketing ad will engage local influencers, artists, or personalities who genuinely connect with the regional audience.

  • Address burning local issues: Identify and address issues pertinent to the local populace in your campaigns.

  • Regional SEO: Optimize your website and content for local searches and vernacular keywords.

4. Celebrate regional and cultural events

  • Participate authentically: Join in cultural celebrations in a way that’s respectful and genuine, avoiding tokenism.

  • Create relevant offerings: Develop products, services, or offers that are specially designed for the cultural event.

  • Collaborate with local entities: Partner with local businesses, artisans, or creators during cultural events to enhance authenticity and engagement.

  • Cultural sales and offers: Cultural marketing takes advantage of cultural events to offer special promotions during regional festivals and celebrations.

5. Integrate cultural insights into product development

  • Develop culturally relevant products: Ensure products/services resonate with cultural practices and preferences.

  • Highlight cultural significance: In marketing, underscore how your offerings align with or respect cultural narratives and practices.

  • Co-create with local experts: Collaborating with local experts or cultural consultants during the product development process ensures authenticity and relevance. This might involve working with local artisans, cultural leaders, or influencers who can provide valuable insights into cultural nuances.

  • Segmented communication: Once a product has been developed with cultural insights, crafting marketing narratives that highlight the cultural relevance and benefits of the product is vital. Ensure email communications are segmented and culturally relevant to different user groups.

6. Digitally engage with your audience through social media

  • Create culturally relevant digital campaigns: Develop online campaigns that resonate with cultural moments and dialogues of your existing and potential customers.

  • Engage in social conversations: Participate in or facilitate online conversations around cultural topics that your potential customers can see and engage in.

  • Support online cultural movements: Identify cultural movements and align with them by showing your support digitally and that they resonate with your brand values and company culture.

  • Create community platforms: Develop forums or groups where existing customers can share their experiences, stories, and cultural insights related to your products.

7. Leverage user-generated content

  • Encourage cultural sharing: Inspire users of a particular culture to share their cultural stories, experiences, or creations.

  • Share diverse user stories: Highlight user-generated content that showcases a variety of cultural narratives and experiences.

  • Diversity of content: Use varied content formats like blogs, webinars, and videos, depicting cultural stories and celebrations to amplify the impact of your content marketing effort.

  • Understand customer preferences and behaviors: Actively observe and analyze user-generated content to gain insights into customer preferences, behaviors, and trends. It allows brands to understand how their products or services are being used in real-world scenarios, helping them improve their product offerings and marketing strategies.

8. Culturally mindful email marketing

  • Segmentation: One size does not fit all, especially in a diverse world. Segmented email communication ensures that the content you send out is tailored, relevant, and respectful to individual cultural nuances.

  • Analytics: Utilize data analytics to understand the demographics of your subscribers. Segment them based on their cultural preferences, geographical location, or festival participation.

  • Engage authentically: Design communications that resonate with each segment, ensuring that imagery, language, and content are culturally appropriate and genuine.

9. Collaborations with cultural influencers

  • Purpose: Culturally connected influencers can resonate deeply with their audience because they share common values, traditions, and narratives.

  • Action: Identify influencers who have a genuine bond with their community and represent cultural values that align with your brand ethos.

  • Engage and empower: Instead of just product placements, empower influencers to share their cultural experiences, stories, or traditions that align with your brand, creating a richer and more meaningful connection.

  • Share stories: Encourage influencers to share personal stories, experiences, or rituals using your products. For instance, an influencer could demonstrate how they use your skincare product as part of their pre-wedding ritual in their culture.

Brands should prioritize listening to and learning from the cultures they engage with, ensuring that their marketing strategies are not only impactful but also respectful and supportive of the cultural narratives they navigate.

Support your culture marketing practices with Gelato

In the vibrant arena of culture marketing, where authenticity and connection are pivotal, Gelato’s on-demand printing solution emerges as an instrumental ally for brands aiming to forge a deeply rooted connection with varied cultural demographics. Through its expansive network and adaptive solutions, Gelato propels brands into a realm where cultural resonance, timely production, and ecological consciousness converge to elevate their marketing endeavors.

Gelato’s platform enables businesses to tailor their marketing materials, promotional products, and customer offerings with a profound emphasis on cultural relevance and specificity. By localizing production and delivery, businesses not only slash delivery times and carbon footprints but also imbue their strategies with an authentic flavor that harmoniously blends with local cultures and sensibilities.

  • Localized production and delivery: Produce and deliver products, such as t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and wall art, closer to your consumers, ensuring reduced delivery times and increased relevance in local markets while subtly weaving regional manufacturing narratives into your brand story.

  • Sustainable and eco-conscious: By minimizing shipping distances and optimizing production processes, brands align themselves with globally cherished sustainability narratives, significantly enhancing their cultural relevance and appeal.

  • Timely and culturally relevant offerings: Engage with local cultures through offerings that are intrinsically tied to regional events, festivals, and cultural narratives, ensuring your brand is not only seen but also valued and remembered.

  • Personalization at scale: Utilize Gelato’s capabilities to create personalized, culture-centric products that echo the local narratives and values, fostering a deeper emotional and cultural connection with your audiences.

  • Global reach, local touch: Leverage Gelato’s global network to ensure your brand maintains a coherent global identity while also adapting and respecting the diverse local cultures it interacts with.

Gelato offers a globally dispersed, robust print on demand platform that enables brands to create and deliver products with the perfect blend of quality, speed, and cultural resonance. It paves the way for businesses to dynamically integrate their marketing strategies with various products, crafting a brand story that is not only heard but also seen, touched, and experienced, creating an immersive brand experience across varied cultural boundaries. So, why wait? Sign up for Gelato today!


Next steps

Start selling products with Gelato