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What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

305. Finding Your Congregation: Culture as a Catalyst for Connection in Brand Building with Marcus Collins

To build authentic brand connections with customers, it is essential for marketing professionals to understand the unique cultural context within which their target audience exists. This encompasses not only the cultural values and beliefs of the intended market but also the broader societal context within which these individuals reside. By accurately identifying their congregation (NOT target market) and their specific cultural attributes, marketers can create tailored messaging that communicates more effectively with the intended consumer base.

In the podcast, Dr. Marcus Collins discusses his experience working with various brands, such as Beyoncé, Budweiser, and the Brooklyn Nets, that have built authentic connections with their customers by leveraging behavioral science. As a marketing professor and industry professional, Collins emphasizes the importance of finding a “congregation” of like-minded individuals who share the same beliefs, values, and attitudes as the brand. By focusing on these shared attributes, companies can create more genuine and meaningful relationships with their customers, fostering loyalty and a sense of real connection.

In this episode, you will:

  • Understand the significance of culture in crafting effective marketing campaigns.
  • Realize the potential of focusing on a congregation over a target market for greater influence.
  • Grasp the art of blending brand values with cultural norms to create authentic connections.
  • Appreciate the benefits of a humble approach in navigating the ever-changing societal landscape.
  • Analyze successful implementations of cultural marketing by leading companies.
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SHOW NOTES:

00:00:00 – Introduction,
Host Melina Palmer introduces Dr. Marcus Collins, an award-winning marketer, cultural translator, and author of For the Culture.

00:02:21 – Dr. Marcus Collins’ Background,
Dr. Collins talks about his background, growing up in Detroit, studying engineering, and his journey into marketing, including working at Apple and running digital strategy for Beyoncé.

00:06:29 – Importance of Culture,
Dr. Collins explains the importance of culture and how it influences people’s behavior and decision-making. He believes that understanding and respecting culture is crucial for businesses to effectively connect with their audiences.

00:09:40 – Learning About People,
Marcus shares a pivotal moment in his career when he realized that his understanding of social media was limited because he didn’t understand people. This realization led him to study human behavior and psychology, which has been instrumental in his work as a marketer.

00:14:13 – Marketing to Diverse Audiences,
Dr. Collins discusses the importance of marketing to diverse audiences and the challenges that come with it. He emphasizes the need for businesses to go beyond surface-level diversity and truly understand different cultures and communities.

00:14:22 – The Power of Influence,
Marcus Collins talks about the power of influence and how he became a better practitioner by studying network theory and the social sciences. He also shares how theory helped him launch campaigns for the Brooklyn Nets and Budweiser.

00:15:45 – Career Journey,
Marcus Collins shares his journey from wanting to study musical theater to becoming a marketer and eventually pursuing a doctoral degree in sociology. He also talks about the importance of having mentors.

00:19:13 – Learning from Dan Ariely,
Marcus shares his experience of being connected to Dan Ariely. Melina also shares about the kind nature of Dan. They collectively agree on the power of asking questions and being generous with others.

00:22:06 – Consumer Culture Theory,
Marcus Collins talks about his doctoral research on consumer culture theory and how he became interested in the role of culture in understanding consumer behavior. He also discusses the evolution of marketing, from using psychology to sociology to culture to better understand people.

00:27:21 – Find a Congregation,
Marcus discusses the importance of finding a congregation – or a group of people who share your values and beliefs – rather than a generic target market. He emphasizes the need for brands to focus on building a community and connecting with their audience on a deeper level.

00:28:37 – Understanding People and Business,
People are at the core of business. Culture is anchored in our identity, and our identity is the character in the story we tell ourselves. Therefore, companies should target people who see the world the way they do, and those people will not only consume but also tell other people like them.

00:31:23 – Finding the Congregation,
The biggest cheat code for understanding the underlying physics of humanity is behavioral sciences. Consumption is a cultural act, and our consumption is a product of our cultural subscription. Therefore, companies should focus on finding the congregation of people who see the world the way they do, and those people will do the marketing and communication for them.

00:35:01 – Relating it to Nike’s Core Belief,
Nike believes that every human body is an athlete, and they exist to help people realize their best athletic self. Nike talks to athletes, not people who just buy sneakers. They preach the gospel to their congregation, which is made up of many tribes who see the world the way they do. And those people not only consume but also share the gospel with other people.

00:38:55 – Consumption is a Cultural Act,
Understanding the underlying physics of humanity is the biggest cheat code for any profession, whether you’re an accountant, finance person, marketer, HR, leader, or C-suite. Consumption is a cultural act, and our consumption is a product of our cultural subscription. Therefore, companies should leverage the behavioral sciences to segment, target, and activate the market.

00:44:06 – Theoretical vs. Practical,
Marcus Collins discusses how everything is theoretical in social sciences and how he spends more time contextualizing his explanations than teaching theories. He talks about how he breaks down complex ideas for students, and this approach has helped him socialize thinking within organizations.

00:45:16 – Humility in Academia,
Collins talks about approaching academia from a humble place and realizing that everything is based on what is known at present. He believes that looking at the world from a more humble state has helped him be a better corporate citizen and partner.

00:47:53 – Melina’s Closing Thoughts,
Palmer discusses the idea of building a congregation of listeners and how understanding identities and tribalism can help businesses connect with consumers. She encourages listeners to consider what their brand could do to embrace culture and create a mutual benefit for everyone involved.

00:49:20 – Conclusion,
Melina’s top insights from the conversation. What stuck with you while listening to the episode? What are you going to try? Come share it with Melina on social media — you’ll find her as @thebrainybiz everywhere and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn.

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