Category Archives: Strategy

The intrinsic value of culture for entrepreneurs

“Culture is power. It connects people to their roots and to one another. Those who understand where they come from and celebrate who they are, are better at imagining what they can achieve.”

The economy of culture, the culture of economy

The interplay between culture and economy is vast and profound. As the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship points out, “…wherever culture is thriving cultural entrepreneurs are busy building businesses and organizations that express ideas, values, traditions, perspectives – sharing across cultures through markets and commerce.” On a global perspective, these cultural activities translate into $646 billion in annual global exports of cultural goods and services, according to UNESCO.

How a friend described the relationship of culture and politics to me is also applicable to culture and economy: culture is economy in the raw.

 “This way of seeing is important because it also encompasses the broader ways of life-understanding of culture by revealing how identities and life-worlds are intertwined with the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. It also recognizes that what we refer to as the “economy” is bound up with processes of social and cultural relations. In this sense, it reminds us that the economy itself is a part of culture.” – Jane Pollard et al / UNESCO

Cultural entrepreneurs as change agents

This integration of culture in the economy and vice versa is fertile ground for seeding change. Cultural entrepreneurs have this enormous advantage to effect change down to a personal and community level. According to Tom Aageson, author of The Cultures and Globalization series, “(e)ntrepreneurship in the cultural economy has the power to change an entire community’s economic trajectory.”  Take into account as well the Cambrian explosion of digital and social technology – you will then see the radical potential for cultural entrepreneurs to disrupt traditional means of value creation, distribution, and signification of meaning.

 “Cultural Entrepreneurs are cultural change agents and resourceful visionaries who generate revenue from a cultural activity. Their innovative solutions result in economically sustainable cultural enterprises that enhance livelihoods and create cultural value and wealth for both creative producers and consumers of cultural services and products.” — Thomas Aageson, The Cultures and Globalization Series: The Cultural Economy

This realisation was a driving force behind an initiative that brought my friends Patricia Gonzales, Michael Dizon, and I together. With passion and joy, and on the first day of spring, we started Kultura Co. ‘Kultura’ means ‘culture’ in Filipino; ‘Co’ stands for companies, community building, and collaboration.

Kultura Co. is a programme borne of the recognition that:

  • Culture lies at the heart of nation-building. It underpins our lives as individuals and as a nation, and is the fourth pillar of sustainable development.
  • Cultural entrepreneurs are catalysts for prosperity and innovation. They see potential, create opportunities, and design goods and services that have meaning for both makers and users. They are in the business of promoting identity and heritage, enriching experiences and human connections, and fostering sense-making and creativity. They help shape and re-shape the economic, environmental, and sociocultural life of communities.
  • We are all stakeholders in the development of our communities, countries, and peoples.  Filipino cultural entrepreneurs are in a unique position to foster economic and social development. In our own small way, we want to help them as they change our world. We commit to celebrate and support Filipino cultural entrepreneurs by providing creative and innovative solutions to the products and experiences that cultural entrepreneurs generate.

 Culture’s intrinsic value proposition for entrepreneurs

As part of our efforts to popularize the concept of cultural entrepreneurship among our networks, Kultura Co. co-founder Patricia Gonzales, wrote an article defining cultural entrepreneurs and the value they add to entrepreneurship. Below are the main points:

  1. Like social entrepreneurs, cultural entrepreneurs (CEs) maximize mission and profit but this mission is framed in terms of how culture enhances quality of life – for the people who create products or experiences, those who consume or practice them, and for society in general.
  2. CEs generate profit from cultural activities and connect cultural products and experiences (and their creators) to market.
  3. Cultural activities refer not only to the tangible items that are the products of human intellectual and creative work (e.g., art/craft, the built environment), but also the intangible expressions of a way of life (e.g., traditional knowledge, rituals).
  4. In the process of creating financial returns for themselves, CEs bring to market goods and services that have built-in significance for their consumers. As a result, consumers engage with cultural products and experiences more deeply and more personally than with other kinds of wholesale goods. For us at Kultura Co, organizations that can serve and promote tangible products and intangible expressions are justifiably cultural enterprises that deserve support.


Characteristics of cultural entrepreneurs
Reprinted from Kultura Co. with permission. Figure adapted from Abu-Saifan, S. 2012. Social Entrepreneurship: Definition and Boundaries. Technology Innovation Management Review. February 2012: 22-27 and Moss, S. (2011). Cultural entrepreneurship. In B. Walmsley (Ed.), Key Issues in the Arts and Entertainment Industry (Vol. 56, pp. 161–177). Oxford, UK: Goodfellow.

As an entrepreneur myself, what excites me the most about cultural enterprises is how their goods and services already possess intrinsic value proposition. It already has built-in significance for consumers because they already recognise its connection to their own heritage, aspirations, and normal or unique experiences as members of different tribes.

Applying the lens of cultural entrepreneurship to your business might uncover a new value proposition layer for your brand.  Perhaps it can spark new connections between your existing products and services, inspire you to communicate differently your marketing message, discover new touchpoints with your target group, or even gain an entirely new audience.

We at Kultura Co. are in the process of tinkering with this kind of framework. Think “cultural entrepreneur value proposition canvas” of sorts.  I’ll certainly keep you updated on this. In the meantime, here are some examples of how cultural and creative activities were instrumental in delivering added, if not, new value to business propositions, and achieving organisational goals. In all of these cases, the addition or surfacing of a cultural dimension has resulted in something that is far greater than the sum of its parts.

  1. How could the process of redesign unlock new business propositions? (How Droog Design created a second life for dead stock)
  2. Check this article on how three inspiring social enterprises are breathing life into discarded materials:
  • One evolved from a fashion brand into a ‘stylish social statement’.
  • Another spins new creations by crocheting and knitting, but at the same time helps their target audience reimagine their identities and rebuild their lives.
  • And the last one was able to win community buy-in and sustainability for their clean and green project by 1) appealing to their community’s sense of identity, and 2) turning the project into a source of community pride.

Get updated when we bring out the cultural entrepreneur value proposition canvas

Connect with us at Kultura CoYou’ll  also get hand-picked stories, trends, and information on cultural entrepreneurship.


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How can small businesses increase organic reach on Facebook?

There’s a strategic way small businesses can increase organic reach on Facebook with minimum costs despite its push for paid posts and other issues cited in “The problem with Facebook” video.

“The Problem with Facebook” is an insightful video that raises the right kind of questions. I agree that the filtering / surfacing of feeds of friends should be better, more relevant, and ultimately decided by us, the users. Regarding the business side, now that Facebook is saying it’s time to pay rent, I think businesses should not just focus on the question of ‘Should I stay on Facebook or should I go?”

How small business can address "The problem with Facebook"
Now that Facebook is saying it’s time to pay rent, I think businesses should not just focus on the question of ‘Should I stay on Facebook or should I go?”

Continue reading How can small businesses increase organic reach on Facebook?

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What’s in a name: content strategy, content marketing, content brand

I enjoyed the Gamification course last year on Coursera, so I decided to take up another course: Content Strategy for Professionals. While it is already what I do (having naturally blossomed from my work on social business strategy, digital strategy, online marketing, and copywriting), I think it’s still worth my time to find out how it was approached in the academe, and if there were any new things I can learn.

In one of the video lectures, Content Strategy was laid out as “…credible, trustworthy, transparent content that enhances the organization’s strategic goals.” This definition generated a lot of questions and discussion in the course forum. The general criticism was that it seemed to imply that content strategy is a characteristic of content rather then the plan or framework that guides content creation and implementation. A lot of students favoured Kristina Halvorson’s definition of content strategy cited below in my own reply to this discussion thread. Others also raised questions to how content strategy was differentiated from content marketing.

What’s in a name: content strategy or content marketing? How about content brand? In essence, I agree with the general criticism but do think that Halvorson’s definition doesn’t contradict the course definition. I find the perspective on content marketing too one-dimensional, and I’d rather move the discussion towards how a good content strategy should aspire for the creation of a great content brand. Below is my detailed response: Continue reading What’s in a name: content strategy, content marketing, content brand

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Altimeter report: The state of social business 2013

“What was previously a series of initiatives driven by marketing and PR is now evolving into a social business movement that looks to scale and integrate social across the organization. The following report reveals how businesses are expanding social efforts and investments. As social approaches its first decade of enterprise integration, we still see experimentation in models and approach. There is no one way to become a social business. Instead, social businesses evolve through a series of stages that ultimately align social media strategies with business goals.” – Altimeter Group

Some highlights: Continue reading Altimeter report: The state of social business 2013

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Five good reads: handy content strategy checklists, nothing-to-hide privacy, don’t shortchange framing the question

1. 3 Angles to Create Magnetic Content with the Triangle of Relevance

Before diving into content planning, consider the Triangle of Relevance approach: “a content strategy principle incorporating three angles – business interest, user interest, and time significance – to maximize relevance and magnetize content, creating user action.”

content strategy triangle of relevance by angie schottmuller

Continue reading Five good reads: handy content strategy checklists, nothing-to-hide privacy, don’t shortchange framing the question

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Five good reads: Mar. 25-31

In a nutshell:  Open Badges for getting “recognition of the skills you learn everywhere”, the need for postnormal strategies, Social TV, Twitter engagement infographic, and “a rant in praise of the unremarkable”.

1. Open Badges

Way better than LinkedIn endorsements, I hope this will soon get the popular acceptance it deserves. Badges are digital records of skills, achievements and participation. Mozilla Open Badges is a “free software and an open technical standard any organization can use to create, issue and verify digital badges.” You can join badges together “to tell the full story of your skills and achievement.” You can collect them from multiple off- and online sources and display them on different platforms and channels.

Open Badges
Screenshot from

2. Postnormal Disruption Calls For Postnormal Strategy
Long-term strategic planning is obsolete. Near term strategies based around speculative design is the only hope, and yes, companies should be looking for ‘truth tellers’ who have consistently presaged major market shifts. That vision, to see the ‘turning point’ in markets, is the only means to future proof a company, now, not planning.

3.  Studying WWE’s playbook for social TV: Brands that reorganize their entire company around social experiences
Successful social brands reorganise their business around the telling of stories that are important for fans.


“The real key lies in breaking down the office walls between the TV operation and the Web office. As time goes on, …“The social group, content creation, and engineering will form one group, and you will not be able to distinguish them.” That way, he said, “When I’m creating content, I’m already creating social.”

“The approach was not that there was just a social media department, but every piece of that business, right from the top to the creative teams to the live events staff to the writers to the superstars themselves, now have a stake in telling that story for the fans that really expect it on a 24/7 basis.”

4. A Rant: In Praise of The Unremarkable

One of the most honest posts I’ve seen in a long time. No “rainbow bombs” whatsoever.

5. Infographic: Twitter Tweet Cheat Sheet To Increase Engagement

Nice overview of Twitter engagement data that can be useful for your content strategy.

Twitter Cheat Sheet

Twitter Cheat Sheet , an infographic by Linchpin Digital PR

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