by James Cuthbert

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Cultural moments represent opportunities for brands to connect with their fans and the true power of social media is that it democratized social influence. Gone are the days where you have to be in the right circles, of the right class or invited to the right parties to create a loyal social following. If you have a unique viewpoint, are authentic to your voice, and are relentless in your ambition, you can grow your influence. Furthermore, by merely participating in social media on a regular basis you organically come closer and closer to the very zeitgeist of American popular culture. Literally, every day there are cultural moments that spark dialogues, elicit powerful emotions and drive water cooler and/or barbershop conversations across the globe. For brands, these moments present opportunities to further connect with their fans and drive massive social influence and relevancy. The challenge is that most brands are not structured to capitalize on these moments in a way that shows them as a ‘true patron’ and not a ‘pimp’ of the culture or cultural moment.
Here are a few ways brands can better capitalize on Cultural Moments
  1. Recognition
    The speed at which cultural moments come and go makes early recognition a must for brands looking to maintain relevancy. While there are some moments you can plan for or even bet on, it’s the real-time moments that can propel a brand into cultural relevance or when missed, make brands seem completely tone deaf. It is imperative you have a social team and a trained brand team that can recognize the front end of cultural moments and put systems in place that allow them to quickly react.
  2. Creativity
    Once you recognize a cultural moment the next step is to create content that reinforces your brand values or benefits and positions you as a true patron of the culture. This is where brands can really excel or fall flat on their face. Oreo is really a master at this and their iconic, “you can still dunk in the dark” tweet (when the power went out during the 2013 Super Bowl) is a testament to their creative genius.
  3. Authenticity
    Every cultural moment is not the right moment for your brand. Brands need to have a deep understanding of their brand position within culture, tone of voice, and where they can add meaningful value or perspective to a cultural moment. Find your unique ownable lane and be consistent and true to your brand values.

About the Author

James Cuthbert is an awarding winning brand strategist, a marketing professional, youth culture expert, and community advocate, with over 12 years of experience including stints at three fortune 500 companies (currently at Coca-Cola, formerly at Kellogg’s and General Mills) and two non-profit organizations. To find out more about James please view and checkout his  blog JamesCuth.com

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