NewsNationalScripps News


Consumers are buying things 'for the culture' now, says expert

From Apple to Nike to Beyoncé's digital strategy, marketer Marcus Collins is spilling the cultural secrets to advertising success.
Consumers are buying things 'for the culture' now, says expert
Posted at 8:59 PM, May 01, 2023

Meta, Crocs and Beats by Dre were the three fastest growing brands in 2022, according to a report on consumer perceptions from Morning Consult.

Researchers say with Meta and Crocs specifically, the companies' rises have to do with "renewed interest" among consumers — from the general growing curiosity over virtual reality to the demand in real-life for comfortable and affordable shoes. With Beats by Dre, analysts say the rise of the brand was helped by the company's collaboration with media mogul Kim Kardashian.

Consumers today have so much choice in what they wear, eat, download and watch. That's changing the game for advertisers as they must figure out new ways to push some of the biggest brands into the market.

"Culture is the most powerful, influential force on human behavior. Full stop," said Marcus Collins, marketing expert and brand strategist. "We live in a hyper-connected world where there's more data than ever before. However, marketers still struggle to understand their consumers."

Collins has worked on brand strategies for companies like Budweiser, Nike and Apple. He's also led the digital strategy for figures like Beyoncé. His new book "For The Culture" breaks down what it means for "culture" and community to drive consumer behavior.

SEE MORE: Why Are Influencers So Influential?

"I would argue that consumption is a cultural act," Collins said. "You wear your Doc Martens because people like you wear Doc Martens, right? The fact that you listen to the kind of music you listen to is because people like you listen to the kind of music you listen to."

Analysts with the financial company Deloitte say Gen Z and Millennial consumers are more likely to trust influencers today when it comes to their buying decisions because online creators "have the power to grow communities, drive awareness for a brand or produce and establish and build trust."

Another report from the Digital Marketing Institute encourages the community strategy, adding that customers are also becoming "more interested in the value and ethos of brands."

"If you're looking for sneaker heads, go where sneaker heads are. If you want to understand what it's like to be in the world of cosplay, go to Comic Con. You got to go where they are, talk to the people, engage with people," Collins said.

Collins hopes to help readers better understand the cultural strategies of major brands and better dissect the campaigns they're seeing every day.

"I think that our responsibility isn't just to shove messages down people's throats so they can crap cash," he said. "I think that we are in a world now where the transparency of information empowers the consumer, empowers people, so that it keeps us honest."

Trending stories at