Marketing industry in danger of being out of touch with culture, says Magnum & Co’s Carl Moggridge

The marketing and communications world is in danger of being out of touch with culture, by focussing primarily on marketing science, according to Magnum & Co managing director, Carl Moggridge.

“There’s a lot of untapped potential around understanding values,” Moggridge told Mumbrella. “Marketers tend to just create emotional stories, and try and be storytellers. What that does is it allows the rest of the industry, whether it’s advertising and media, to jump on quite a lot of the marketing science and then interpret it in very inaccurate ways.”

Understanding values leads to better thinking, better ideas and improved understanding of the target customers as a marketing professional, he added.

Carl Moggridge

Founded in 2005 Magnum & Co is a brand communications agencies offering strategy, public relations, influencer marketing, content production and social media services. Its clients include L’Oreal, Converse, Go Daddy, Peter’s Ice Cream and Australian Blueberries and Queensland Strawberries.

While there are many examples of brands trying to take culture into account, unfortunately, it seems most organisations and brands focus primarily on marketing science and insights and rather than key drivers for a successful marketing strategy – including values, culture and emotion, Moggridge added.

“We need to actually think about how communications are much more culturally innovative and inventive rather than marketing technology invented,” he said.

“What we want to do is a bit of a rallying cry for people in communications to start interpreting this information in their own way, and start to think about other ways of looking at that same data with cultural innovation and values in mind.”

Moggridge cited a recent survey in Britain that asked the mainstream population what was important to them and what they valued.

(L-R) Magnum & Co’s managing partner Carl Ratcliff, Carl Moggridge and Mumbrella reporter Zanda Wilson at Mumbrella’s recent CommsCon conference

“They then surveyed the market, the industry, what they thought the values of the mainstream population were, and there was this massive disconnect,” he said.

“So as we just look at spreadsheets, and we look at marketing science and brand trackers, we are in very real danger of actually just not understanding people at all.

“In our desire for marketing technology, and advertising and marketing science, we are fundamentally forgetting what drives people.

“We need to actually think about how communications are much more culturally innovative and inventive rather than marketing technology invented.”

One of the challenges companies face when weaving purpose into marketing and branding is that socially conscious initiatives can feel disconnected from brand culture.

A company that does an excellent job mixing consciousness into communications strategy according to Moggridge is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Since its inception in the late 1970’s, the ice cream maker dedicated its business to not only making money and frozen desserts, but also to building a better world.

Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled flavour was released amid the UN climate change talks in Paris in 2015.

Ice cream itself isn’t explicitly linked to social or environmental causes, but through a commitment to making an impact, coupled with innovative creative work, Ben & Jerry’s intertwines purpose into its brand identity.

“Ben & Jerry’s is innovative and inventive in culture, and they deeply understand the people that buy their products. They’re not sitting there with a buyer and marketing science manual around how to grow their brand. They just understand people in depth, and they’re successful at doing so.

“And if you look at a lot of referrals that come from multiple different sources from all around the world, values are probably one of the biggest drivers of consumer behaviour.”

Moggridge added that professionals need to travel abroad or spend time with people who don’t come from the same place to see the impact of culture. The way a person acts, interprets or responds to different situations will be, to a great extent, influenced by their cultural context, he commented.


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