Now Trending: “Culture”

Posted By Brooke Randel on January 09, 2015

Every year, lexicographers at Merriam-Webster deliberate over what will be the word of the year. Sometimes it’s inspired by technology, sometimes by passing fads. Not this year.

2014’s word of the year is culture.

While it might not be a neologism, people are using the word in a fairly new way. Think coffee culture, consumer culture or the culture of transparency. Think corporate culture. We’re discovering specific ways of thinking and acting, and identifying them as entities unto themselves. Culture is everywhere.

The word’s linguistic rise is no surprise (…she said with 20/20 hindsight). As we’ve become more interconnected, we’ve formed more like-minded circles. Online, for example, we have Pinterest for recipes and crafts, Twitter for political movements and hate-watching TV, and Facebook for keeping track of our friends and frenemies. Each site has its own distinct culture that we cross in and out of with perfect ease. Here at Karma, some of us belong to the high-minded NPR culture and some to the Taylor Swift “shake it off” culture. Some to both. We have a foodie culture and Francophile culture and an all-around collaborative culture. Having so many observable, accessible cultures right at our fingertips helps us see each more clearly. And talk about them a whole lot more.

So what does the culture trend mean for communications?

It means our audiences are becoming more complex, more curious. At Karma, it means our work is becoming part of a larger conversation, marketing monologue be damned. This year, we’ll craft more nuanced strategies and narratives perfectly tailored for these discerning customers. With this trend in mind, we’ll roll niche blogs into our research, follow more thinkers on Twitter, attend up-and-coming arts events and expand our influences on the whole, so we can better speak with (and not just to) a broader set of cultures.

Before ever setting pen to paper or cursor to screen, we’ll be thinking about the cultures that surround us and our audiences. Because, from the looks of it, culture is here to stay.