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Adapting to the Times

How Sociocultural Shifts Reshape Marketing Strategies

Sociocultural factors play a very critical role in the success of a business. They can be customs, values, and lifestyle that categorizes a society. Considering these factors in marketing and advertising cannot be stressed enough.

With changing times, the trends in marketing also change. This change happens due to the shift in human behavior as time goes by. And how the business adapts to these changes plays a crucial role in the echelon of success that is achieved.

Many businesses’ marketing strategies primarily target the sociocultural aspect of society. The movement of products from the shelf to the consumer depends largely on these factors. Understanding this and exploiting the potential of targeting consumer behavior has put many companies at the top of their game.

Here is a classic example of a company whose turning point was when they targeted the sociocultural margin. Mattel introduced the stereotypical Barbie with an idealistic view of beauty. This doll gained high popularity and was a must-have for little girls in the US. However, when this product was globalized, with the change in the market, Barbie faced many challenges.

For example, in India, the people did not accept the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Barbie as that was not the standard of beauty in India. They preferred the locally made Indian dolls over this. Mattel understood this challenge and taking into consideration the shift in socio-cultural nuances of the region, introduced an Indian Barbie!

Mattel did the same with different parts of the world. Apart from the demographics, there was a shift in people’s outlook as well. They believed that having the perfect skinny figure with the perfect features is not the only form of beauty. People could not relate to the existent Barbie and believed that it created a sense of insecurity among young girls.

Barbie quickly caught up with the change in belief and introduced a huge range of dolls in different shapes, sizes and colours.  Its audience no longer believed that the idea of a strong beautiful girl is not just lying on the looks.

Hence, they introduced a wide range of dolls with different occupations, from a News anchor to an Astronaut – symbolising women empowerment.

Mattel went above and beyond the expectations when they released the 2023 live action movie “ Barbie ” highlighting the shift in times and how they have worked towards achieving representation to almost all communities – be it regional, social, cultural, LGBTQ+, Autism spectrum etc. The movie promotes inclusivity and self-acceptance. It also makes a bold move to portray the message that rather than having one gender have superiority, society should be egalitarian, where everyone has something valuable to contribute. This is a huge feat!

In summary, sociocultural factors are paramount in marketing because they inform how messages are received and interpreted by the audience. Companies that encompass and respect these factors can create more compelling, effective and socially responsible campaigns.

Writer :

Anna R

PGDM – Krupanidhi School of Management,Bangalore

Sunstone Select

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