This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here

FEATURE1 October 2009

60 Second Soapbox – Inka Crosswaite

Inka Crosswaite, semiotics and cultural insight analyst for Added Value South Africa, wants to see fewer numbers and more research into consumers’ culture.

?The product I’m most excited about is…
My washing machine. I just love to watch the laundry go round and round. What freedom it has provided for many women of the western world! The Vatican’s official newspaper once declared that the washing machine was more instrumental in the liberation of women than the pill. I’m reminded every day as this is a freedom still to come for the many women living in Africa who spend hours each day getting on with the laborious job of hand-washing their clothes and linen.

A client I’d like to get my hands on is…
Apple – I just love the creativity, the style and the way the company has produced products in the true Bauhaus philosophy of form and function. I imagine working with them would be a really inspiring experience.

An idea I wish I’d had is…
“Let’s talk to Coca-Cola about saving the world’s children.” This initiative was started by Simon Berry on Facebook. His idea was to make use of Coca-Cola’s existing distribution channels to distribute oral re-hydration salts and other medicines – in the unused space in the crates between the bottles – to children in the poorest parts of Africa. It eventually led to the ColaLife campaign and website.

A campaign that grabbed me recently is…
The Persil ‘Dirt is Good’ campaign, which turned the product’s biggest enemy into its best pal. The campaign liberated dirt from all its negative connotations and transformed it into the symbol of creativity, adventure, exploration and curiosity.

A campaign that needed more research is…
The Dove ‘Real Beauty’ campaign. It’s often praised for its liberating take on femininity and beauty, which is certainly true from a western perspective. Yet the campaign was not well received in Asia where beauty ideals are different and women felt offended by the depiction of women in the ads. This just shows that one needs to understand local cultures before going global.

One thing this industry could use more of is…
Cultural insight into branding. Culture drives consumers’ behaviour and in order to understand consumers’ relationships with brands you have to understand the culture that is impacting and influencing them. Understanding culture enables us to unpack unconscious cultural patterns which shape consumer behaviour and attitudes in local markets – insights that consumers are not always able to articulate.

One thing this industry could use less of is…
Numbers, volumes and the understating of consumers as boxed segments. The industry has focused for too long on understanding categories and brands, neglecting the human aspect behind the numbers. Understanding consumers as people opens so many more doors, allowing us to create more compelling brand ideas based on human truths rather than ranks of numbers.

In five years time we’ll all be talking about…
Absolute mobility. We will remember the times of carrying around big laptops on our shoulders. Some of us might even remember having to drive to work everyday. The work place will eventually follow virtual developments, where more people work from home.

And one thing never to forget is…
My notebook. You never know when you’ll make an interesting observation about human behaviour or be struck by inspiration.

0 Comments