What are Culturespaces and why are they important?

Oftentimes, in trying to outline Brand and Design Strategy, we speak a lot about our ideal audiences – we identify the people that we intend to be interacting with the brands we are building, usually in the beginning of the process, during some sort of discovery session.

In these sessions, we list and map various foods, experiences, hobbies, music genres, tv shows or other cultural activities that we understand are both defining and appealing to our target audience or ideal customer. We use these to understand how the specific person would assess and value the characteristics of the brand we are currently crafting.

But this way of approach might be limited, because it attaches the mapping to a person who might be living in different cultural environments (Culturespaces) at different times. A person might be very different at their corporate work environment, using different language, codes, symbols, even displaying different values, than say, their extreme sports hobby on the weekends, or their woodcarving collectors’ network.

Culturespaces define the landscapes where people (among them our ideal audiences) adopt, share and create new cultural blocks – defined by Richard Dawkins as “memes”, discreet units of culture. They should be roughly equivalent to “habitats” and “ecosystems” in biology. Ultimately, we cannot afford to ignore Culturespaces when we are doing branding and positioning work. In the same way that a Siberian tiger would behave much much differently in the Siberian steppes and in a small London studio flat, our John Carpenter, banker, does not react the same everywhere.

A non-exhaustive list of things to be considered when outlining Culturespaces:

  • Language
  • Values
  • Brands
  • Walls and Out-group dynamics
  • Media franchises
  • Fora
  • Marketplaces
  • Portals and fuzzy borders
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