Creating Cultural Brand Relevance Through Social Media

April 27, 2016

Holt, Douglas “Branding In The Age Of Social Media” – Harvard Business Review, March, 2016

In the above referenced thoughtful article, Douglas Holt states that Social Media seems to have made brands less significant and that few brands have been able to generate meaningful consumer interest online.  He offers an alternative marketing perspective to branding called “Cultural Branding”.  Within this systematic approach, a brand will take a position on a consequential social issue that consumers are enthusiastic about and create an innovative communication platform that will stand out in a crowded media environment.

The idea of using Social Media to target brands against “Cultural Flashpoints” instead of just the latest trends determined through market research is an insightful approach for developing an integrated communication plan.  The current method of Brand Relevance Building which involves clearly determining the key benefits, emotional associations, and values shared with a brands consumer remains a critical step in the process.  But once these aspects of the brand have been determined, and the communication Big Idea has been selected, achieving cultural relevance by tapping into a particularly intriguing or contentious social issue is an appealing method of gaining prominence within the category.

The creative leadership for mining this innovative marketing approach rest with our social media partners.  In the rapidly changing world of Social Media, our agencies must stay attuned to the evolving behaviors of our online users.  The strategic leadership of ensuring a brand is culturally relevant in today’s society is a key imperative for marketing and company management.

At Ennis Associates, Inc. we specialize in developing brand marketing training workshops that guide marketers on how to effectively communicate with their primary target to achieve the desired brand strategy.  Click here to view the course curriculum or contact us directly at 1-800-914-4194 or via email at


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