Guide to Cultural Marketing: Key Approaches & Techniques

Guide to Cultural Marketing: Unveiling Its Meaning & Strategies

Guide to Cultural Marketing

Cultural marketing (or culture marketing) is much more than just translation – it’s about resonating with audiences on a deeper, more personal level.

In this guide, we’ll go over the definition of cultural marketing, discover its growing importance in a globalized marketplace, and offer up practical tips so your brand can communicate effectively across diverse cultures.

Takeaways
  • Effective cultural marketing strategies are based on a brand’ ability to navigate and respect cultural diversity in marketing, with success relying on depth of cultural understanding
  • Cultural sensitivity in advertising is important! Brands that use cross-cultural marketing tactics and resonate with cultural consumer behavior will build more authentic connections
  • To create cultural relevance in branding within global markets, companies need to focus on cultural adaptation and aligning their messaging, imagery, and values with the identity and preferences of each market segment

What Is Cultural Marketing?

Cultural marketing is all about tailoring a business’s marketing efforts to the cultural nuances of a target market.

This type of marketing strategy acknowledges and realizes the cultural identities of a target customer base. It involves recognizing and responding to the beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors that are common within a particular culture.

Rather than go for a general campaign, cultural marketing tailors messaging to fit local customers, traditions, and social norms. It’s an effective traditional or digital marketing strategy that helps brands establish an authentic relationship with a certain group of consumers. To foster connections that go beyond borders and languages, it helps to root marketing campaigns in cultural understanding and respect.

How Cultural Marketing Works

To start, marketing teams often conduct an in-depth look of the cultural elements that influence consumer behavior. For example, if the audience is located in Paris, France, they’ll do extensive market research or collaborate with cultural experts of the area to gain more insight.

With this information, brands can craft their campaign strategies around language, visual elements, societal values, and humor which will resonate with the audience. The ultimate goal? To enhance how people view the brand, encourage brand loyalty, and influence purchasing decisions.

Examples of Cultural Marketing Strategy

There are so many examples of cultural marketing across a range of global campaigns by top brands. If you’ve ever traveled to another country and walked into an international fast-food chain, you might have noticed that the menus offer different items.

These chains often tailor their menus to local tastes – for example, the Kimchi Quesadilla at Taco Bell in South Korea or the McDonald’s poutine in Canada.

Another common example is incorporating local celebrations and holidays or local celebrities and influencers to promote a sense of community and relevance. For instance, recognizing and creating cultural marketing ad campaigns based around the holiday of Eid al-Fitr and not just Easter.

Why Is Cultural Marketing Important?

Global retail e-commerce sales are expected to reach 8.1 billion in 2026, from 5.7 billion in 2022 – which means global sales aren’t slowing down.

That means an increase in new markets and varied consumer bases that require brands to navigate and embrace cultural diversity. This will give them a competitive edge that aligns with the values and identities of their existing and potential customers.

Benefits of Cultural Marketing

Brands can enjoy many impactful advantages of cultural marketing, from marketing effectiveness to consumer trust. Let’s take a look at some of them below:

  • Establishes trust and authenticity – When brands tailor their marketing, they show an understanding of what the audience values and foster a deeper trust between the customer and the brand.
  • Enhances brand loyalty – Consumers will feel more respected and represented and thus, become more likely to develop loyalty and advocate for the brand within their social circles.
  • Improve communication – Marketing that includes cultural specifics resonates more with the audiences, which means the intended message becomes better received, maximizing your digital marketing ROI.
  • Helps with market differentiation – Brands can distinguish themselves from competitors and establish themselves as leaders when connecting with diverse groups.
  • Creates deeper consumer connections – Companies can create more meaningful connections through this form of emotional marketing, which helps in customer retention and loyalty.
  • Fosters global reach – Cultural marketing techniques can pave the way to new markets and expand a brand’s international presence.

Best Practices in Cultural Marketing

Embracing cultural marketing doesn’t just require research and insight, but a bit of finesse when you’re carrying it out. To make sure your cultural marketing strategy is effective, follow these best practices to guide your efforts.

Engage with Local Experts from Particular Culture

While there are many ways to look into the cultural, social, and linguistic aspects of your target audiences, collaborating with local marketing specialists or cultural consultants can give you the edge. These experts can identify cultural movements, local customs, language idioms, and societal values that are relevant and respectful, making sure you don’t make unintentional errors.

Test Your Marketing Efforts

Before you rollout a full-fledged campaign, it can be helpful to test your marketing materials with a small segment of your target audience. With the feedback you receive, you can further fine-tune your messaging and avoid any missteps.

Customize Content

It’s all about cultural depth – always customize content to reflect cultural contexts and humor so it feels native and not tone-deaf.

Use Respectful Representation

All marketing materials should portray cultural elements with accuracy and respect. Avoid stereotypes or oversimplifications, which can alienate your audience and tarnish your brand reputation.

Top 5 Cultural Marketing Strategies

Ready to craft your own cultural marketing plan? The best campaign will use the right strategies to build strong connections and effectively engage with global audiences.

  1. Immerse in Local Culture

Truly engage with your audience by immersing your brand in the local language and culture. Whether it’s tapping into a local holiday or creating a promotion around local customs and traditions, this will show that your brand is invested in the community.

To celebrate the opening of its first store in Penang, Malaysia, IKEA used the local Hokkien dialect in a fun and relatable campaign.

Use the video for reference:

  1. Partner with Relevant Influencers

Partner with influencers who have a strong cultural link to your target audience. As these people already resonate deeply within the culture, showing that they endorse your product can give your brand relevance and credibility.

Based in India, healthy snack company Yogabar didn’t just use any fitness influencer – they used Indian fitness influencer and entrepreneur Arun Sharma for their marketing campaign.

Yogabars's post in Instagram app

Source: Yogabar@yogabars.in

  1. Use Culturally Relevant Storytelling

Craft stories that reflect the local culture’s narratives, values, and aesthetics. Stories are powerful for emotional connection and can bring about familiarity and trust. Nike’s London-centric “Nothing Beats a Londoner” campaign focuses on young Londoners shaping sport and culture, featuring cameos from English athletes.

Londoner collection of Nike

  1. Localize Product Offerings

Try to develop products or services that cater to local tastes and preferences. While you might’ve tried the classic salt and vinegar or original chips from Lays, they also make flavors to resonate with a specific culture such as the Garlic Oyster Flavor in China.

Lays banner

Source: eater.com

  1. Monitor Cultural Trends

Culture is constantly changing, so keeping a close eye on trends will ensure you’re ready to quickly adapt your marketing strategies accordingly. We can see that in 2023 and beyond, brand purpose and activism is important and people are vying for nostalgia in entertainment.

But what about trends specific to a culture? In Canada, hockey won’t ever die down, but the hype over certain clothing trends or music artists might.

How to Create a Cultural Marketing Campaign

If you’re now armed with strategies lined up for your specific campaign, here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a cultural marketing campaign:

Step 1: Understanding Your Audience

Start researching the cultural norms, values, language, and behavior of your target audience and put together an audience profile. This fictional person will summarize that audience and help you create a highly personalized campaign.

Then, analyze the data to figure out the most impactful cultural insights that will form the foundation of your campaign. You can use tools, AI, or bring a marketing team together for unique perspectives.

Step 2: Set Clear Objectives

Figure out what you want to achieve with your campaign – maybe it’s brand awareness, market expansion, or increased engagement within a specific cultural group. Once you set these, you can establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with those objectives to measure the effectiveness of your campaign.

Step 3: Develop the Campaign Concept

With a wider team, brainstorm campaign ideas that authentically weave in cultural elements. It’s important to prioritize concepts that celebrate the culture and resonate with your target segment. The best concept will be one that matches up with your objectives and has the strongest cultural impact.

Step 4: Talk to Cultural Experts

Engage with cultural advisors to validate and refine your concept – the campaign needs to be reviewed thoroughly for cultural sensitivities and ensure there will be no misunderstandings or potential to offend.

Step 5: Create the Content

Develop messaging that has cultural referents, so that language, tone, and imagery reflect the cultural understanding you developed in earlier stages. It’s also useful to prepare different variations of your content for the testing stage to see which one users respond to better, often referred to as A/B testing or split testing.

Step 6: Test and Adapt

Before you go ahead and launch the campaign, run a pilot with a small part of your target audience. This will allow you to collect feedback and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 7: Launch the Campaign

Choose a launch time that is culturally significant or ideal according to audience habits and marketing guidelines. For example, it’s said to be best to post on TikTok on Sunday at 1 pm PST, while you’ll perform better on Twitter at 9 am PST on a Friday. Make sure the campaign is integrated across channels that are popular with the audience.

Step 8: Monitor and Evaluate

Even after launching the campaign, you’ll want to continuously monitor its performance in real-time using the KPIs you set in step two and use analytics to learn what worked and what didn’t.

What Are the Challenges Associated With Culture Marketing?

Cultural marketing, with its incredible potential, still comes with its own set of challenges, like any other type of marketing.

Creating marketing material with the different values, languages, and social norms of specific cultures in mind requires a high level of cultural intelligence. There is a thin line to balance between cultural appreciation and appropriation, where sensitivity and authenticity are crucial to avoid misrepresenting or offending the audience.

There are numerous cultural subtleties in the global marketplace, and one misstep can cause a major marketing disaster that can impact the entire brand reputation and bottom line.

How Do You Measure the Success of Cultural Marketing Efforts?

Measuring the success of a cultural marketing campaign will help to understand their impact and inform future efforts. The best way to do this is by using KPIs like engagement rates, conversion metrics, and sales figures within targeted segments.

Using tangible quantitative evidence alongside qualitative data, such as customer feedback and sentiment analysis, will provide multiple layers of insight.

Conclusion

Globalization is certainly on the rise, and this means cultural marketing is becoming a must for any brand looking to make an impact across borders. Using cultural marketing strategies, embracing cultural diversity in marketing, and applying cultural branding techniques with tact can set businesses apart in a sea of brands.

The key to effective cultural marketing is the ability to celebrate diversity and connect with consumers on a deeper level – so if you’re ready to redefine your overall marketing strategy, start by browsing the best web hosting providers today to establish a powerful online presence.

Next Steps: What Now?

Learn More About Marketing 101

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the objectives of cultural marketing?

Cultural marketing aims to enhance brand relevance and resonance across diverse cultural groups, foster strong connections, and build brand loyalty by showing cultural understanding and respect. All of this comes together to expand the brand’s market reach and improve overall brand perception among multicultural consumers.

How is cultural marketing different from traditional marketing?

Cultural marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it specifically tailors its approach to fit with the cultural values and beliefs of a target audience. Traditional marketing typically uses one-size-fits-all promotional messages, while cultural marketers implant cultural values into its strategies for more relevance and engagement.

How does culture affect marketing?

Culture influences marketing strategy and execution by shaping consumer behaviors, preferences, and responses to marketing messages. Marketers should navigate cultural nuances to ensure relevance, avoid miscommunication, and encourage a positive brand perception in many cultural contexts.

Why should companies use cultural marketing?

Companies should use cultural marketing to create deeper connections with diverse audiences, and show respect for their unique cultural backgrounds. It’s an incredible tool to improve global market appeal and ensures that marketing messages resonate more meaningfully – especially if your business is going global.

Sonja Vitas
Edited By:
Sonja Vitas
Content Editor

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