New Age Branding


In the age of social media, traditional branding strategies have fallen short of expectations. Companies initially believed that platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter would allow them to bypass traditional media and connect directly with customers. However, despite significant investments in branded content, few brands have generated meaningful consumer interest online. This article explores the reasons behind this failure and introduces a new approach to branding in the digital era: cultural branding.

The Rise and Fall of Branded Content

Branded content was hailed as a game-changer in the world of marketing. The idea was that by telling great stories and engaging with customers in real-time, brands could become hubs for communities of consumers. However, the reality has been quite different. Social media platforms have made brands less significant, and efforts to insert brands into the digital universe have had little payoff.

To understand this puzzle, we need to recognize that brands succeed when they break through in culture. Digital technologies have not only created powerful social networks but have also dramatically altered how culture operates. Enter crowdculture.

The Power of Crowdcultures

Crowdculture is a phenomenon that has emerged with the advent of social media. It brings together communities that were once geographically isolated, allowing for intense collaboration and the rapid spread of ideas. Crowdcultures come in two flavors: subcultures and art worlds.

Subcultures are communities that incubate new ideologies and practices, while art worlds break new ground in entertainment. These crowdcultures have become powerful sources of cultural innovation, challenging mainstream norms and conventions. Understanding the dynamics of crowdcultures is crucial for brands seeking to harness the power of social media.

The Emergence of Cultural Branding

Cultural branding is a set of techniques designed to generate cultural relevance for brands. It leverages the power of crowdcultures and breaks through the clutter of traditional marketing approaches. By championing distinctive ideologies and engaging with communities, brands can stand out in the crowded media landscape.

How Branded Content and Sponsorships Used to Work

Branded content, which is often repackaged as a digital concept, has its roots in the mass media age. In the early days of that era, companies borrowed approaches from popular entertainment to make their brands famous. Short-form storytelling, cinematic tricks, songs, and empathetic characters were used to win over audiences.

Entertainment media were once oligopolies, limiting cultural competition. Brands could buy their way to fame by placing their products in this tightly controlled cultural arena. However, the rise of new technologies, such as cable networks and the internet, made it harder for brands to buy fame. They had to compete directly with real entertainment, leading to the push for branded content.

The Impact of Crowdculture on Branding

Crowdculture has upended traditional branding approaches, changing the rules of what works and what doesn’t. Branded content that once thrived in the mass-culture industries no longer captures the attention of consumers. Instead, crowdcultures have become the main drivers of cultural innovation, challenging brands to adapt.

Brands that understand and engage with crowdcultures can tap into a wealth of creative ideas and consumer insights. By aligning themselves with these cultural movements, brands can generate meaningful connections and relevance in the digital age.

Case Study: Under Armour’s Cultural Branding Success

Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaign provides a prime example of how to combine celebrity sponsorships and cultural branding to create impactful content. The campaign tapped into the cultural shift towards gender equality and championed female athletes. By breaking through traditional gender norms in sports advertising, Under Armour connected with a broader audience and became a leader in the athletic apparel industry.

Beyond Branded Content: The Failures of Traditional Approaches

While companies have invested heavily in branded content over the past decade, empirical evidence suggests that traditional approaches are no longer effective. Consumers have little interest in the content that brands churn out, viewing it as clutter and brand spam. To succeed in the digital era, companies need to shift their focus away from platforms and embrace cultural branding.

Case Study: Chipotle’s Cultural Branding Triumph

Chipotle, the fast-casual Mexican food chain, provides another compelling case study of successful cultural branding. The company tapped into the emerging crowdculture around preindustrial food ideologies. Through thought-provoking films and campaigns, Chipotle positioned itself as a champion of sustainable and ethical food practices. The brand’s authenticity and commitment to its cause resonated with consumers, resulting in significant sales and profit gains.

Competing for Crowdcultures: Targeting New Ideologies

To brand effectively in the digital age, companies must target crowdcultures and embrace new ideologies. Traditional segmentation models and trend reports are no longer sufficient. By identifying relevant ideologies and gaining traction in crowdcultures, brands can assert a distinctive point of view and stand out from the competition.

The Role of Social Media in Cultural Branding

Social media platforms play a crucial role in the success of cultural branding. They enable fans to create rich communities around entertainers, athletes, and brands. Brands can leverage social media to interact directly with fans, generate buzz, and gather valuable feedback. By understanding the dynamics of social media and harnessing its power, brands can amplify their cultural relevance and connect with their target audience.


In the new age of branding, traditional approaches are no longer effective. Branded content has fallen flat, and brands are struggling to generate meaningful consumer interest online. To succeed in the digital era, brands must embrace cultural branding and target crowdcultures. By championing distinctive ideologies and engaging with communities, brands can break through in culture and establish meaningful connections with consumers. Social media platforms provide the ideal platform for brands to amplify their cultural relevance and connect with their target audience. It’s time for brands to embrace the power of cultural branding and tap into the potential of the digital age.

Are you ready to take your brand to the next level? Contact us today for expert guidance in mobile and web app development.

Leave A Comment


Recent Posts