Trend - BITE sized marketing trends

Democratisation of culture

YouTube #MadeforYou

Brands succeed when they break through in culture, however, in a world that is increasingly overburdened by choice brands must work harder than ever to stand out. It is the brands that can elevate themselves above conventional value propositions and category benefits to champion, disrupt, and resolve specific cultural tensions in a social context that stand the best chance of achieving this and doing it in a meaningful and long lasting way.

Brands have looked to the rise of digital and social channels as one of the ways in which to break through in culture. These channels have, as we all know, dramatically shifted the way in which culture is consumed. Previously access to knowledge and entertainment was primarily through tightly controlled broadcast media channels. These broadcast channels created hugely impactful communal moments, with the likes of 30 million tuning in to watch Eastenders. But those moments were passive, one-way and scripted.

As digital and social communications platforms have become mainstream they have not just impacted the way in which culture is consumed - they have also dramatically impacted the way in which culture is created. Now, thanks to the Internet, we live in a world where culture is open and democratic. Knowledge and entertainment are not controlled by traditional media channels but enabled by social and digital platforms where people can share their point of view (or dance moves, beauty tips or DIY advice etc) and connect with others. Where previously culture was controlled by media oligopolies now, empowered by social and digital media, culture is created by the crowd.

This fundamental change in not just how culture is consumed but how culture is created has huge implications for brands and is a missed opportunity for many when it comes to their approach to digital and social communications. Many still use these channels in a consumption-led broadcast way. Repurposing TV ads for digital channels as a way to increase reach and views. Instead the real opportunity is to understand and engage with the emerging cultural trends being driven by creators and communities online - from championing gender diversity to the rise of grime music. Brands can use these platforms not just to distribute breakthrough creative ideas that impact culture but to actually co-create culture with people.

YouTube #MadeforYou

YouTube #MadeforYou

YouTube is a platform that has provided people a place to express themselves and connect with other like-minded people at scale and in ways that were previously impossible. From fuelling new crazes such as the “100 Layers” challenge to providing a platform for championing gender diversity, YouTube is a communal space where new ideas are shared and culture is created.

This environment has created a new wave of celebrities - creators and makers who have found a voice and following online without the support of traditional media channels but whose influence now extends beyond digital channels into mainstream media. These creators and influencers have used social media as a platform to express themselves and connect with others at a scale. This new wave of celebrities has also brought with it a new wave of fans who have a unique relationship with the creators they follow and engage with. It is a connection that is very personal and the creators who make it big are helped along the way in no small part by their fans.

The YouTube #MadeforYou campaign demonstrates the power of the platform in supporting the democratisation of culture. Thanks to the breadth and diversity of content on YouTube whatever you are into, whatever your passion or interest there is a YouTube that’s made for you. The work highlights a range of creators on the platform, from fashion through to comedy, and the impact they have had on culture thanks to the fans who support them.

Agency: We Are Social, London

views of the hero video on YouTube
impressions across Twitter and Facebook
YouTube #MadeforYou
YouTube #MadeforYou

Sport England - This Girl Can

Sports participation in the UK suffers from a significant gender gap. 2 million fewer 14 to 40 year old women than men play sport regularly, despite the fact that 75% say they want to be more active. The “This Girl Can” campaign from Sport England is a powerful grassroots movement to democratise participation in sports and exercise for women with the manifesto that "Women come in all shapes and sizes and all levels of ability. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bit rubbish or an expert. The point is you’re a woman and you’re doing something."

The work was born out of extensive research with real women and the the insight that emerged that women are primarily held back from participating in sports and exercise by a fear of judgement from others. For example, 48% of girls say that getting sweaty is not feminine. The campaign has a vibrant community supporting it across social media. By addressing the real and tangible fears of women when exercising the campaign has tapped into a community that was previously overlooked and as a result started to significantly shift attitudes.

Agency: FCB Inferno, LONDON

Sport England - This Girl Can

Amex - Open Forum

OPEN Forum is an ecosystem of products built with one thing in mind, to help small business owners connect, collaborate, and grow. Through getting to know business owners American Express uncovered two big keys to success. First was that they needed to be connected to other business owners who have faced the same challenges. Second is that they are a lot more open these days with their networks, resources and advice. Building on these insights American Express took the approach of developing OPEN Forum as a way to democratise access to knowledge and expertise for those starting up or running a small business.

Small business owners can browse members, share advice and post questions as well as connect to external expertise for inspiration and support. Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, SVP of Partnerships & Business Development for American Express OPEN, said, "We already have a large part of the pie so our biggest opportunity is with small business growth—if they grow, we grow." By democratising access to knowledge and expertise AMEX helps small businesses to grow and in doing so grows its own share of the market.

O2 - Giff Gaff

The mobile phone industry is consistently seen by customers as delivering poor value for money, customer service and transparency. Giffgaff the SIM-only mobile network owned by 02 set up to democratise the industry by creating a mobile service business that is entirely run by its customers. Not only has Giffgaff never run a call centre, all queries are answered online by its own members. The company‘s entire business model rests on its community. Members not only help new customers, they recruit new “Gaffers” to the network, and come up with strategies to grow the business. As a result Giff Gaff is able to spend minimal amounts on advertising and staff, passing the cost savings back to customers. The results speak for themselves with Giff Gaff constantly topping customer satisfaction polls most recently winning the USwitch awards Network of the Year prize for two years in a row.

About the author

Mobbie Nazir, We Are Social, Chief Strategy Officer

As Chief Strategy Officer at global agency We Are Social, Mobbie oversees social strategies for clients such as Google, HSBC and Adidas with a focus on championing the role of social thinking to drive business value. Previously at Digitas, Fishburn Hedges and JWT, she has a background which spans digital, PR, advertising, and social media channels and a passion for developing integrated brand planning approaches.