Oprah time: Cultural Strategy by Douglas Holt and Douglas Cameron

I was recommended Holt and Cameron by a client to ‘better help understand their business’. The book is an accessible easy read as business books go. Holt and Cameron propose that culture can be a key defining factor in business success:

  • An organisation culture can make it more resilient or innovative providing a clearly differentiated experience between a brand and its competitors in the eyes of consumers. Their concept of cultural orthodoxy is similar to the red ocean strategy, where companies in mature sectors tend to look alike.
  • By understanding consumers and the cultural context of the product or service, a market opportunity can be found. This is essentially what a good planner does in an advertising agency, but the Dougs look to bake this into the organisation rather than having it as a wrapper at the end of the product process

After reading the book, I am still no wiser about my client was trying to say about their business; but that was more about them than my reading material. This story however emphasises an important point, what may be perceived as a cultural innovation internally in a company may not manifest itself as brand innovation or even a differentiated position.

More information
Cultural Strategy by Holt and Cameron
Cultural Strategy Group