Our Cultural Clarity philosophy

When operating in international markets, applying a cultural lens is essential for deriving meaningful consumer insights.

In our experience, our clients often find themselves either with limited information about their key markets, or a wealth of data that is difficult to make sense of. Whether they’re at the beginning of a journey into this market or are well-established, this lack of clarity can make it difficult to truly understand local consumer needs.

We specialise in delivering Cultural Clarity to our clients to help unlock the potential in these markets.


What is Cultural Clarity?

When it comes to understanding different cultures, we need to get at the things that consumers can’t readily articulate. Whilst certain human needs are almost universal, the way that these needs manifest in local markets is culturally specific.

Cultural Clarity is about uncovering the core values and drivers that are deeply ingrained in a culture, and understanding the influence they have on the attitudes and behaviours of the people in that culture. Our Illume Guides are an important part of our Cultural Clarity offer, as they provide us with ‘on the ground’ insights  – helping us to understand culture from a local perspective. You can find out more about our  work with Illume Guides here.

Through our approach, we illuminate what is central to a culture so that you can better understand your target consumer and achieve commercial success.


How do we use it?

  • Identify where clients can elevate their brand positioning in a more culturally relevant way to maximize success and unlock potential
  • Illuminate broader opportunity areas for clients based on the forces for change in a particular market and category
  • Inspire clients to think ‘glocally’ by bringing to life their local market consumers within the organization, helping to open up new ways of thinking and opportunities

How can it be applied?

Cultural Clarity can be used for a number of commercial challenges:

Examples of our work in Cultural Clarity

Example: Strategic marketing planning for global football club

Tasked with the goal of transforming a global football club into a ‘fan centric organisation’ our client recognised the need to better understand football fandom in key markets around the world.

We worked with Illume Guides in four markets – USA, China, Indonesia and Thailand to build a context rich picture of football fandom in each locality. We also drew on popular culture and cultural history to create compelling narratives about each market.

We delivered a series of immersive workshop sessions, helping the internal team get past the stats and into a space where they truly understand the cultural context and changing lives of their target audiences.

The outcomes of the workshop sessions are currently being used to inform content and media plans, NPD and merchandising strategy.


Example: Understanding loyalty in local markets

A global airline wanted an audit of the best competitor loyalty schemes in their key markets (USA, UK, Germany, India, China, Australia, KSA and UAE) to inform local positioning and help them to unlock the potential of their own loyalty programme.

Alongside secondary research, we heavily involved our Illume Guides. This helped us evaluate the loyalty schemes from a local market perspective and to understand how they perform against cultural attitudes and expectations of loyalty schemes.

We presented back recommendations on how to communicate in each market and shared future development opportunities for our client’s own loyalty scheme. This allowed the client to understand the levers that needed to be leveraged to compete against the best competitors locally.


Example: Investigating local emerging trends in breakfast consumption

Our client approached us with a challenge they were facing in Germany. They were seeing an overall decline in the breakfast cereal category in this market and wanted to understand the dynamics behind this trend and how one of their brands was performing in light of this.

We used a combination of desk research and on the ground input from our Illume Guides to uncover subtle insights regarding brand perception in Germany against a backdrop of people moving away from cereals.

The findings were used to inform the primary research and to guide a set of recommendations about how the brand could adapt to this category shift in the market.


Get in touch

Hopefully you now have a general understanding of our work in Cultural Clarity. If you’re interested in hearing more or would like to chat to us about working together, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

Kate Skivington – Cultural Clarity Lead