The passion for culture
Growing up in the late 70s and 80s, I remember being excited by TV commercials more than the programmes themselves. In college I met another equally strong love - social psychology. I was fascinated trying to understand why people and societies behave the way they do. Unsurprisingly then, after my Masters, I began my career in the advertising industry. I have been here for close to two decades now, and all I can say is that my excitement and fascination continues.
Bringing brand development and marketing together’
While creating and building brands during my time with different specialist organisations - advertising and brand strategy - the recurrent theme that I noticed was conflicts between short term, tactical marketing objectives and long term, strategic brand objectives. Marketing was always seen as a support to business and rarely ever focussed on consistent brand building while meeting business objectives at the same time. Seeing this gap, along with a marketing specialist (who is also an ex-client), I co-founded a brand and marketing consultancy which specialised in bringing brand development and marketing together. The approach was to create new brands or revitalise them, develop their value propositions, and build them with sharp messaging and content that achieves strategic objectives - brand, marketing, and business.
Helping brands stay culturally relevant
However, during my journey I have increasingly come to believe that while targeted messaging is critical, successful brands will be those that stay relevant in the long term by by participating and evolving in the cultural context that they themselves and their audiences operate in. This is because people no longer consume for mere functional satisfaction, but they seek meaning. And brands are used as symbolic resources for construction and maintenance of identity.
A brand today is not just a means to differentiate from competition, but a cultural engine whose function is to constantly produce meaning and values for consumers when they associate with it. To resonate with people, brands need to see themselves as not just fulfilling a need gap in the market vis-a-vis competition, but also as agents of culture. They can do this through advertising, content, entertainment, and tangible brand experiences like digital and physical spaces. To not just market themselves, but to stay relevant by participating in and shaping cultural narratives.
At this stage of my journey, I am excited about bringing my expertise in brand and content strategy to help brands start and participate in resonant cultural narratives that builds their voice, differentiates them, and makes them relevant to the times.