Trust and culture
Better than advertising
A new report emphasises culture's value in strengthening ties and building trust. This is advertising’s holy grail.
The British Council focuses on “cultural relations”. This means teaching English and sharing British culture internationally, and sharing international cultures with the UK.
And new research shows that this has one effect that's of huge importance - cultural diplomacy results in an increased level of trust in the UK.
It shouldn't be news to anyone that culture can help improve people's perceptions of a country.
The report, by research agency Ipsos Mori, studied ten countries where the British Council works. And the trust angle is really important.
For most brands, trust is the most important sort of emotional association can have with their brands.
The best form of advertising
The accepted theory of the development of advertising theory shows this.
First, advertisers tried to push products by shouting about their benefits ("my linament does a better job than yours"). They now call this approach “persuasion”.
Next, advertisers cottoned on that just standing out was good enough (often with big sale signs or controversial advertising). They call this approach “salience”.
So they looked at getting people involved with their brands. This meant being interested and engaged with the brand - and they did this by being provocative or interesting. This approach is “involvement”.
Finally, advertisers looked to develop trust and an emotional engagement with a brand: brand commitment. This was when branding became a properly big business.
This emotional engagement is particularly valuable to advertisers because it's a long term and powerful connection.
And this report comes out as the UK government roll out their “Great” Britain advertising campaign. Costing an estimated £25 million, this relies on one uncomfortably colonial pun.
It’s estimated that 90 million people will see the Great Britain campaign. But seeing a poster is very different from a substantial and deep engagement with the UK brand.
Compare that to what the cultural sector could do with an extra £25 million. It’s easy to see which would have the “greatest” impact.
Creativity is Great courtesy of Visit Britain
British Council banner credit to Ewan McIntosh on Flickr Creative Commons
British Council tent credit to Abidavis on Flickr Creative Commons