Personalization and targeting are powerful tools in direct mail, email, and other marketing channels, but they only work when they create relevant communications for the customer. That’s why top brands incorporate cultural and lifestyle context alongside targeting and personalization.

The 2016 BrandZ ranking of the Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, released by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown, highlights the success of top companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook is doing just this.

“It is interesting to note the successes driven by many of the brands leading in innovation and disrupting the conventional ways of doing business, thereby transcending their category,” notes Bart Michels, head of Kantar Consulting U.K. “They are using a form of cultural strategy to stand out on an emotional level.”
A great example can be seen in the “Superstitions” ad for BMW’s compact crossover, the BMW X1. This television ad features four 30-somethings headed to watch “the big game,” replicating everything they did the last time in order to ensure victory this time, too.

“We’re all wearing our lucky socks, right? Do we have the blue cooler? The green cooler? Lucky rabbit’s foot?”
Then the plug: “Last time we won, we were sitting in different seats!”
But when three of the friends jump out of the car to do the switch, the driver settles in with his hands locked on the wheel. When his friend tries to open the door, the driver looks at him, locks the door, and rolls up the window.
“Okay,” says his friend. “We’re gonna lose.”

Four guys, bonded in sports manhood—an unbreakable bond. Except when it comes to driving the BMW X1, the luxury vehicle that creates a love so strong that it transcends even this epic bond of manhood.
In any multichannel campaign, whether using direct mail, in-store signage, or email, tapping into cultural relevance is critical to engaging your customers. How do you do that?

  1. Understand the key cultural drivers of your audience.
  2. Position your brand as having a unique and key role in that social and cultural environment.
  3. Reinforce the message in creative ways using multiple channels, including print, email, and mobile.

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