The Carrot Blog

As a strategist, it's imperative to be a part of and understand culture... it's likely my favorite part about being a strategist. I'm obsessed with understanding who people are, how they live their lives and the importance of culture in creating shared experiences with other individuals. Culture is what allows us to connect and what gives our lives context.

By first exploring culture, we are able to better suggest the ways in which to naturally and authentically integrate brands where they fit best. (Writing this I'm having an existential crisis, but let's not fool ourselves --we're still in the business of selling stuff.)

In my recent years in the social and digital advertising world, I've been fortunate enough to work on a variety of luxury and premium brands, including Lexus, Jaguar, David Yurman and Rolex. During this time, I've spent a fair share of time researching and understanding the luxury space, and I've noticed a common tension caused by luxury brands attempting to integrate with culture.

Something that is deemed 'luxury' is, by definition, rare and special. The exclusiveness is part of the ethos that makes it so desirable. We typically want to craft a world where more people want what we're selling than those that can actually attain it... playing into the notion that people want what we can't have. Branding plays an integral role in creating this scenario. However, with the ubiquity of social media, anybody can have the voice that was once reserved for the big brands (with bigger budgets).

With this insight, and my own personal interest in hip-hop culture, I noticed a rising tension between luxury brands and hip-hop culture --one that's existed since the subgroup arose in the 90's. Hip-hop has a long love affair with luxury brands, but the relationship is not widely reciprocated. Sadly, this is likely due to an overwhelming fear of hip-hop "hijacking" the brand, or not conveying values that support the brand vision.

Hip-hop culture is overwhelmingly also popular culture. Luxury brand marketers have a choice on the matter and need to determine a cultural strategy. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that this will make or break a brand, but the following deck explores brands that accept and participate in hip-hop culture, and brands that decided to take another route.

In love and hip-hop,

Amanda

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