Q&A: The Importance Of Brands Connecting Culturally

Q: Why is it so important for a brand to really connect culturally to specific markets, specifically to the black market?

A: People sometimes discount the everyday consumer connections that are taking place. You're cutting across cultures. It doesn't matter if you're a publisher, if you're a TV network or cable operator. It doesn't matter if you're a retail store. Unless you have a very specific product or content matter, service matter, you're moving through and across cultures without even thinking about it. 

It's short, just a natural sort of ebb and flow. And you need to be conscious of what you're doing, how you're speaking, what's your narrative, what your voice is. Is it connecting with everyone's face you're crossing? Is it off-putting? Does it create disconnects? It's really that basic human element of understanding the new normal, the world you live within.

Q: Say, an advertiser says, "I can understand when there's a different language I can allot some of my budget to that" but when you're talking about the black market, specifically, why is that culturally an important thing for me to differentiate?

A: There's that misconception that our differences are marked by language. Yes, that is a barrier you just cannot ignore. But it's far deeper than that and more expansive than that.

Cultural cues have to do with home countries of ethnic origin, and what biases are within -- just based on that simple notion -- has a lot to do with how we identify with each other and everything around, everything from food to clothing to music to personal style to nomenclature. All those nuances come into play. 

It goes well beyond what language is their first language. It has to do with how they identify with everything around this -- differentiating for someone who's Caucasian, as someone who's Latino or someone who's Asian American. Or someone who still is a first-generation versus second-generation level of acculturation and there are far more depths and layers to it.

And some of these things can just go out, make a difference when it comes down to a business proposition and you're trying to cover a given consumer.

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