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Don’t Let the Cultural Moment Pass You By: Part 4

5.21.24 / By Emma Alexander

Why brands and their customers benefit from participating in real-time cultural moments.

Part 4: Do you know where you stand?

Each brand (hopefully) has a unique identity made up of values and vision. It’s our job as marketers to relate that identity to consumers who share in those qualities.

I believe many brands are missing out on an even bigger opportunity to connect on another level with their audiences.

That’s because your business doesn’t live in a bubble. When it comes to what’s going on in the world, you can be certain that cultural moments reflect what matters most to your brand and your consumers.

That’s why we wrote this series to show how you and your customers can benefit from participating in pop culture moments. And in Part 4 of this four-part series, we’ll drive home how your brand can get specific in that participation.


What should my cultural participation strategy look like?

It can come in many forms. Social posts, ads, reports, etc. It’s your commentary on culture. An analysis through your brand’s lens. And above all, it’s a discussion.

Many of the humans behind brands are careful about taking a position or even sharing a comment because they are worried it will backfire.

But remember that you’re not shouting at your audience that THIS is the only way. You’re simply sharing something you believe in and asking them if they believe in it, too.

To do it right, don’t do it alone.

Smart work is rarely born in a vacuum, so lean on your experts and data. Even more than that, it’s not one person’s call to join in the conversation. It shouldn’t happen randomly.

There should be two things you use to back it up:

  1. Brand guidelines. Yes, I think brand guidelines should include a specific section about how the brand is involved in culture conversations.
  2. Depending on the tactic, your team should have a discussion about if and how you should join in this cultural-moment conversation.

A strong brand (and the humans behind it) knows where it stands.

Who’s doing it right?

Look at thought leaders in this space, like Ana Andjelic. Andjelic earned her doctorate in sociology and specializes in building brand-driven modern businesses. Her work has been recognized three times by Forbes for her CMO work.

In 2021, Ana published “The Business of Aspiration,” a book that explores how brands and consumers trade in social, cultural and environmental capital and how this capital transforms brand and business strategy.

The direct link between culture and capital is what drives the work of thought leaders like Ana, who analyze how changing values change business. This visionary work is only growing in prominence, and any business leader worth their salt is paying attention to it.


This has been the fourth and final installation in a series of blogs dedicated to brands and culture—and how they work together. In this series, we’ve covered other topics, like:

By exploring each of these and more, we hope you’ve taken some inspiration to help spark your own creativity. Now it’s your turn to develop a cultural participation strategy for your brand, applying some of these ideas in a way that opens up new connections with your audience.

And remember: when you’re not sure or still have questions, lean on the data or just reach out to your experts at DS+CO. A good conversation takes two (or more), and we’re happy to join yours.


Emma Alexander

Emma Alexander is DS+CO’s content manager and email strategist.