Meet the Remix Culturalists

This is the first of a six-part series on Wave X Remix Culture, the latest edition of Lodestar UM’s social media tracker

e4m by Shrikant Shenoy
Updated: Dec 16, 2019 11:10 AM
Wave X

Consumers no longer fit neatly into stereotypes
Caught in the heat and dust of a new brand launch, Mr. Marketer admitted that he had his doubts about the consumer research, even the tried and tested kind.

Because consumers are no longer the same, usual research may not be nuanced enough to keep pace. The generations that have been lumped into monolithic groups like millennials, boomers and Gen Z seem to have evolved. The labels fail to capture the nuanced trends and tastes influenced by trust, identity and the proximity of space and time.

For instance, we see a ‘fade out’ of Gen Y/Millennial attitudes and a ‘fade in’ of Gen Z values resulting in a unique mashup with contributions among the current audiences based on their own background as well as global culture as inspiration.

How can I step into the consumer’s mind, decipher the complex web of influencers operating inside and tap into the right ones for success?’, asked Mr. Marketer.

Our answer is Wave
Wave is the world’s largest and longest-running survey of social media usage. Based on an online research survey run continuously since 2006 by Lodestar UM, Wave X – Remix Culture is the 10th edition.

Wave has been actively tracking the active internet user (those who use the internet every day or every other day) over 81 countries including India. These are the people who represent most of all internet usage worldwide.

We interviewed 56,398 active internet users for Wave X. They speak 44 languages and represent a universe of 1.73 billion active internet users worldwide.

Remix Culture is the first culturally focused iteration of Wave, uncovering the real consumer behind the stereotype and deciphering the values and motivations that shape modern consumer cohorts.

Wave X – Remix Culture enables us to navigate the changing world of culture on behalf of brands. It helps us to sift the shifts and trends that are truly important and gauge the impact of those trends on identity and culture.

A new strategic framework in an era of complexity
Wave X Remix Culture helped tap into the most important characteristics of modern culture.

Consumers are now emboldened thinkers, creators and leaders who live by their own codes, finding new and creative ways to express their individuality. Through our proprietary research, we identified the four most influential cultural shifts shaping the modern consumer - Resist, Retrograde, Reglocalise and Recreate.

These four pillars serve as lenses through which brands can gain a new perspective on their consumers. We apply this framework to not only understand cultural trends but also identify the territories brands should play in, audiences across the world and the media platforms they interact with.

This framework allows us to activate cultural triggers for marketers, making brands more relevant in their lives today and in the future.

What do the four cultural pillars stand for? Here’s a closer look -

RESIST – Standing up for something

The world feels increasingly disconnected due to erosion of trust. Living by standards that we don’t identify with is unacceptable, even unimaginable. There’s a natural resistance to circumstances that don’t agree with our values.

Yet the world is also more connected than ever before, thanks to the internet. We are more empowered to speak out and boycott the undesirable and expect brands to align with our beliefs and be more purpose-driven.

RETROGRADE – Authenticity and nostalgia

The digital generation has easier access to past decades of music, art, fashion and other forms of cultural expression than its forefathers. The internet has made it possible for several decades of cultural expression and identity to be rediscovered and celebrated, with the convenience of a smartphone.

It is easier than ever before to indulge our natural inclination to uncover our authentic selves, even if the world doesn’t always embrace our differences. We look for experiences and brands that are reminiscent of simpler times and connect us to other eras.

RECREATE – Mixing up to disrupt

Social media has not only made it possible to connect with local contacts and influences but also brought us closer to family, friends, new products, cultures and influences from around the world.
We now have the power to create opportunities and lifestyles by choosing elements of culture and tradition that we like and refashioning them the way we want them to be. Nothing is too distant or unreachable. Our curiosity can find more answers than ever before. We can splice, twist, tear down and put it all back together into new and original ideas and products. This is life reimagined.

REGLOCALISE – Global reach and local connection
Global mainstream brands are often unable to quench our insatiable thirst for originality. We are naturally driven to look for local ‘flavours’ that not only have a stronger appeal to our sense of individuality but also enjoy proximity of space(geography), making them more accessible.

Local culture drives global culture and technology helps facilitate this natural exchange.

Wave X helped Mr Marketer identify his core audience, their passions, online hangouts and the specific needs he would have to address at each stage of the purchase journey.

Our forthcoming articles will analyse the pillars of Remix Culture in detail, starting with ‘Resist’ and culminating in recommendations on how to ‘Remix’ your brand to address an evolving audience.

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