Last week I talked about how marketers should leverage culture to promote brands. Today I would like to talk about why we also can (and should) change culture.
As I watched the video above I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Is marketing changing culture? Or is culture changing marketing?” Or in other words, are these ads changing our perception of beauty or is our perception of beauty changing the ads? I still don’t have the answer, but maybe it;s a little bit of both.
In the end it doesn’t really matter, the bottom line is that the concept of “ideal beauty” has been around for a very long time. However, that doesn’t mean that it has to continue, and as marketers we have a unique ability to make a difference. Because as marketers we, in part, define culture.
How To Change Culture With Marketing
Develop Icons – Cultures love a good icon. For example take a look at Donald Duck in Germany, they love him. A strong icon can be a powerful force with in a culture. And who creates icons? Marketers do, that’s who! If we want to change our culture’s obsession with ideal body types we need to work to develop more icons that embody realistic and diverse forms of beauty.
Change The Narrative – Maybe with the help of some of our new icons we can start telling some new stories. How about a story about a fully figured woman that men fight over. Or perhaps a movie about a funny young guy in a wheelchair that hordes of women lust after (wink). Stories shape our collective conscience and define the way we view the world. They also help define our own personal narrative, which gives us courage to be different and try new things.
Make A Profit – Remember that marketing is still all about generating wealth. With out wealth we can’t elevate icons or tell new stories. So we need to use the power of marketing to create consumer demands that redefine cultural norms. We need to start building brands that target individuals that deviate from the prevailing cultural narrative. We need fashion brands that market directly to consumers with wrinkles and body weight. We need to grow these brand’s revenue streams and make wrinkles profitable.
Quit Being Lazy – As I watched the video above I couldn’t help but think how unimaginative and uncreative the ads pictured were. Smart marketing is never easy. To redefine culture we have to be creative and try many different things and be willing to fail. Sometimes, it’s hard selling failure to our clients, which is why we need to demand and expect more courage from the companies and brands we work with. Most of you that work with large brands know that they are run by good people that want to do the right thing, they just often times lack the needed courage to do what needs to be done.
In the 21st century marketers are one of the most influential elements on our culture. We have the power to redefine ideas and conscientiousness and it’s our job to wield that power responsibly. This does not mean simply abstaining from the types of ads in the video, it also means taking an active role in the development of new trends that shape our collective identity. If we can effectively do that, we can use marketing to make the world a better place while generating wealth. And, to me that sounds beautiful.