How Brands Can Earn Permission To Play In Culture Sandbox

Whether it’s reimagined Hollywood storytelling, Snapchat creators or the Paris Olympics, trends and opportunities can emerge and disappear in the blink of an eye. Today’s brands are operating at the intersection of entertainment and culture, but knowing when and how to strike is more challenging, as categories cross and infinite opportunities come and go.

Harnessing cultural intelligence and gaining permission to play in these cultural spaces hinges on a brand’s ability to authentically engage and resonate with audiences, ushering new marketing tactics that tap into partnerships, celebrities and creators to help bring brands to life in culture.

Here are four ways brands can gain permission to play and stay relevant in culture:

Diversified fanbases: Don’t treat categories literally. A growing emphasis on diversity is driving new attention toward previously overlooked groups at major cultural moments, leading to the convergence of unexpected categories and creating new partnerships that cater to more expansive consumer interests and lifestyle behaviors.



This signals a fundamental shift away from traditional audience segmentation. So don’t be afraid to tap into moments that feel unconventional for your category. Often, creators and celebrities can bridge the gap between you and the audiences you want to capture.

Blockbuster creators: Play ahead of culture. As the creator economy grows, so do their audiences. Stepping into the spotlight, they are reaching beyond online platforms and driving visibility across TV, major cultural events and brand integrations. Brands must evolve beyond traditional partnership models, treating creators as integral members of the creative team, with the same level of collaboration and respect for time and process afforded to major agencies, for truly original, impactful content.

These cultural powers boast prepackaged, highly engaged audience bases, with a clear hold on what their audiences want to see. Pinpoint creators with high growth and build relationships that move with them, as they expand their footprint in culture.

Speaking meme: let down the brand guardrails. The biggest modern-day commodity is attention. At the heart of a meme lies shared experiences, frustrations, or cultural moments, which often prevail in winning consumer attention over traditional advertising.

Audiences dictate what resonates in culture, so brands must be prepared to leverage viral cultural moments with swift and timely content production. Refine your ability to monitor emerging cultural moments and internet conversations to integrate real-time cultural feedback into your strategies and adapt to changing consumer sentiments and trends. Let down brand guardrails and show up informally in ways that boost talkability, where audiences organically congregate online.

Making moves together: Rewrite the celebrity endorsement playbook The undeniable impact of talent consistently showcases the ability to drive audiences to and from just about anything, with enhanced audience data, cultural insight, and AI reshaping talent partnerships, offering a fresh approach to effectiveness.

Celebrities are becoming transferable across categories allowing brands to be more playful and creative in who they cast and the role they play. Enhance talent selection criteria and discovery strategies to find the perfect match and elevate above pure commercial plays to create shared value together. Strike the balance of strategic sense with the unexpected to land the most impactful moments in culture.

2 comments about "How Brands Can Earn Permission To Play In Culture Sandbox".
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  1. Karen McCallum from KRQE-TV, May 28, 2024 at 2:23 p.m.

    You have a typo in your headline:  How "Bands" Can Earn Permission...

  2. Monica Watson from Brookdale, May 28, 2024 at 3:04 p.m.

    band or brand???

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