Facts About Cultural Research In Digital Marketing

Unknown Facts About Cultural Research For Projects

Unknown Facts About Cultural Research In Digital Marketing



Cultural insights demonstrate where consumer behaviour may be changing. These insights point the way toward massive shifts in values, attitudes and behaviours that are lurking just underneath the surface of our day-to-day lives. These trends do not show up in quantitative market research because individuals may not be conscious of these social and cultural tensions.

Marketers need to take into account that individuals are not simply the sum of their own beliefs and actions, they are constantly influenced by their community, friends, family, and cultural makeup. They will fit under the same demographics but the message addressed might be perceived differently through each cultural lens. Some components of cultural research include:

  • Geographic influences: Each country, city, and neighbourhood possess it own ways of communicating, its own historical influences, and perception of the world. People might have live in a place their entire life, others might be new, and this can influence their perception heavily as they are stimulated by different experience built over time. Additionally, each country’s history brings different cultures that can be mixed from past events, colonization, or current event such as immigration. Geographical influences are evolving constantly with the political and economical state of countries but are built around core values and codes that are proper to the location. Think about how differently you would communicate with Japanese and American people and how this influence comes from their location and cultural history.
  • Influential figures/movements: Cultures revolved around icons that are specifically famous within the group. Each country, subculture, fashion trend is created and grows around one individual that has actively been involved in the development of the cultural movement either historically or currently. They can be political figures, singers, artists, activists anyone that become a ‘name’ in that culture as the ideal representation of its value. We can think of Beyoncé in the pop culture and female empowerment movement, Martin Luther King in the black equality movement, Jamie Oliver in the food revolution in the U.K, etc. These influencers can help understand what consumers are aiming for, what inspires them?
  • Language & memes: Language and image reference are at the heart of creating resonating content. You should go beyond the simple language barriers that you need to overcome to enter new markets and look at how people actually talk, words they use, expressions, memes they use to express feeling and ideas. All these can help understand the preferred type of communication, whether its formal or informal, and how to leverage these styles of communication to integrate within a community. A simple example is the words used in different industries. If you are not from the marketing industry and witness a conversation, you would notice these people using acronyms, terms, and jokes that only make sense to marketing savvy individuals. The watcher will not be able to relate to the conversation at all. Apply the same idea to marketers trying to communicate with their audience.
  • Historic & current news: Tying in the previous components, history, news and events will influence the direction taken by a cultural movement and will create a richer cultural experience. New cultures carry a smaller set of influencers, experiences, and groups that are seeking shared experiences to grow visibility. Other cultures are small and never develop as they do not share news or are not part of the visible spectrum of media attention, and these will be harder to study as their history and news are not central.
  • Rules & mores: The cultural aspect of groups, places, religions and beliefs usually comes with a set of implied rules. An easy example is the dietary requirement of religious beliefs i.e. not eating pork, beef, etc. Other rules might be more subtle in certain cultural movements such as not using certain brands because of their values, or avoiding specific colours that carry an unwanted meaning. These rules are important to be aware of in order to understand the scope of what marketers can say or do to sell to a specific audience with strong cultural influences.

Unknown Facts About Cultural Research For Projects

For each point here, ask and answer these questions:

  • Where does my audience live and what influences this area both historically and currently?
  • Who do they look up to? What influencers do they follow? If they could choose anyone in the world, who would they have dinner with?
  • How do they communicate with their peers? What words are specific to their culture and what memes do they share to express themselves?
  • What is currently happening in this culture and what shaped it? Can I create a timeline of events that lead to today’s expression of this culture?

What does being part of this culture imply? What does one need to be accepted and recognized as a member of this cultural community?


Cultural research represents many benefits for marketers interested in reaching out to multiple target audiences across class, location and culture. Some marketers may have a niche audience that shares a similar culture and thus will focus on their code and value, while others might promote products that can be sold across multiple cultures and get involved in cross-cultural marketing efforts.

The benefits of conducting cultural research are plenty, but here are some of the most known:

  • Export a campaign successfully in other cultures: When thinking about expansion, marketers need to rethink their entire strategy as they enter a new market or cultural community. They need to assess what in the marketing strategy needs to change, from the content to the messaging, positioning to visuals, and also media choices. Marketing to US audiences can be very different from marketing to Europeans. A good way to perceive this is to watch commercials from different countries. You can see that the focus of the message is different, the visuals are shot differently, the pace, voices and length changes. This applies to cross country but also across cultures in the same countries.
  • Adapt the positioning and offer to fit in a global context: If a marketer cannot adapt the marketing strategy for each sub-culture he/she is targeting, then cultural research will help to find a common ground that will resonate with most of his/her audience. This doesn’t mean being neutral but rather find a specificity that carries across these cultures. Maybe they all like the same celebrity, or they use similar channels. Using cultural research can be insightful in finding common patterns across audiences.
  • Prevent potential misconceptions or offensive content: Cultural research is a go-to for preventing misconception and offence that could attract negative publicity to the company. A classic example is when companies market a product in another country without changing its name, only to later realize that the name has a very different meaning there and ultimately this casts a negative light on the brand. This is also true for the positioning or message shared. A focus on a specific area of the product or benefits might be something that is too private in a different culture to be talked about in public. By knowing the cultural background of the audience, marketers can prevent these errors and be more successfully accepted in that new culture.


Tools for Cultural Research

Marketers in the digital era have an array of tools that can be used to conduct cultural research. These tools are also useful for classic audience research but make it easier to target specific cultures. The most common tool used for cultural research include:

  • Social Media conversations: Using Keywords, Facebook groups, Twitter communities, hashtags and influencers are powerful ways to understand how a specific community is talking and interacting, and how involved they are with your brand or product.
  • Research: Audience research firms will develop their own research on specific cultural groups and make it available for marketers. This can be done by firms like eMarketer, Nielsen, etc. It can also be done by specialized firms that will create dedicated reports and case studies on what made or broke brands when working on cross-cultural campaigns. Scholars’ research is also a beneficial source of insight, as they can be more in-depth and really targeted to specific sub-cultures.


  • Dedicated platforms: Another way to use digital media to develop your cultural research is to follow the consumer journey through a content. By finding and visiting niche websites, influencers’ accounts, dedicated apps, bloggers and forums, you can learn about all the previous components we have discussed earlier, and see what values are most important to the cultural group. This can be even prolonged by consuming another form of media such as TV shows of movies that resonate with the audience.


Action Point

I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you can drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.


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About Adeniyi Salau 889 Articles
I am an IT enthusiast and a man of many parts. I am a Certified Digital Marketer, Project Manager and a Real Estate Consultant. I love writing because that's what keeps me going. I am running this blog to share what I know with others. I am also a Superlife Stem Cell Distributor. Our Stem Cell Products can cure many ailments.

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