Cultural Intelligence for Marketers

Building an Inclusive Marketing Strategy

Non-Fiction - Marketing
280 Pages
Reviewed on 03/19/2024
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Author Biography

Anastasia Kārkliņa Gabriel is a cultural theorist and strategist, specializing in inclusivity within marketing, media, and tech. Currently a senior insights lead at Reddit, she earned her doctorate in cultural studies from Duke University and has consulted for the world's top brands and agencies. A lifelong activist, she helps brands ignite cultural innovation and leverage the power of media for good. Her insights have been featured in the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Advertising Week, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and Teen Vogue.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

In Cultural Intelligence for Marketers, Anastasia Kārkliņa Gabriel speaks about the imperative for brands to move beyond stereotypes and superficial gestures and demonstrate a true understanding of cultural nuances and power dynamics. She writes about the evolution of cultural intelligence, proposing the Culture-Strategy-Innovation framework, which integrates cultural insight, strategy, and innovation while prioritizing inclusivity and equity. Gabriel introduces the Cs of Cultural Intelligence, leaning toward positive engagement with cultural communities and critical consciousness in marketing. She explores the complexities of representation and the decoding of cultural symbols, and the importance of context in consumer insights. Gabriel also discusses the transformative potential of culturally intelligent marketing, cautioning against tokenism and advocating for authenticity and accountability. Through case studies, conversations, figures and frameworks, she encourages brands to align with cultural movements authentically, promoting societal dialogue and fostering a more equitable future.

When I was growing up and started to dabble in cosmetics as a teen, I couldn't understand why I had to spend four times more on make-up than my friends, buying Shiseido because Revlon didn't make powders and foundations for the yellow undertones of East Asian skin. On the flip side of this, there was, and still is, the perplexing use of the word “oriental” as a perfume note. What does that even mean? For this reason, the standout part for me in this book is the section where Anastasia Kārkliņa Gabriel addresses the need for brands to implement brand accountability by considering the impact of their actions on the communities they interact with. And yes, this includes acknowledging historical exploitation and actively working toward equitable relationships with cultural communities. As Gabriel points out, we've come a long way, but there is so much further to go, which is why Gabriel's work is so important. Dozens of takeaways will positively impact all businesses in this book, and I do not doubt that moving toward implementation can only lead to greater success. Cultural Intelligence for Marketers is very highly recommended.