THURSDAY 26 SEP 2019 9:30 AM


American fast food chain Wendy’s has its social media strategy down pat. It takes a personable, funny and somewhat antagonistic approach to its tone of voice. It gets involved in cultural events, talks to celebrities and normal people alike and positions the brand as a challenger in its industry.

However, developing a cultural strategy to ensure brands are part of the ongoing conversation is a challenge easier said than done. At Born Social, a London-based social and digital agency, this was the focus of new research and an event, held last week. 

Defining culture as the things people talk about when they get to work, Born Social delved into this murky world to understand what brands need to achieve in order to be part of the cultural conversation. Its report into the interplay between brands and culture on social media found that the risk is inherent for any brand getting involved in culture, but that the rewards were potentially huge. “It’s definitely worth it,” strategist at Born Social Aidan Panagarry, says, “but it has to be good.” 

The findings pointed to four key factors that led to success on social media: authenticity, relevance, commitment and creativity. But, a single post doesn’t have to have all four elements to work within culture; it does, however, need at least two. Of respondents, 27% said relevance was the top factor in ensuring brands don’t get it wrong on social. Making sure the brand and the aspect of culture is the right fit is crucial to ensuring authenticity and relevance. 

A panel discussion followed exploring the challenges facing brands in interacting with culture. One panellist said brands should engage with culture – even considering the risk – because it can help brands cut through the marketing mess. Culture is the lens through which people view all brands, they said, so engaging with it in a meaningful way can have a big impact. 

On the B2B side of things, the rules still apply, but creativity has to work that much harder to encourage awareness and engagement. However, an overall consistency and commitment to a brand’s area of focus – like Always with its commitment to female empowerment – can work wonders for a brand with regards to both its B2B and B2C audiences.