12 July 2010 22 Comments

Brands: How to fund your social and cultural capital

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

social capitalWe live in the age of information, connection and conversation. Any brand that will be successful today must understand generosity to thrive. To make impact you must go all out to help both established and upcoming brands. I am beginning to understand that you must be ready to give without a demand for returns immediately when you are pioneering a cause. I have made a commitment to help, affect as many people that need my professional advice. Each day I get called from students who are interested in brand community building, social media and how it relates to Public relations, marketing etc.

As tight as my schedules are, I have learnt to create time for them, took them one- on -one session and load them with enough materials they will need to stand alone. Sometimes that appears a mere waste of time but recently I was doing a study on social and cultural capital and this gave me a new perspective. While trying to help, I discovered my brand is becoming visible to future managers who will hold position of authority in the industry. As we know visibility and reputation affect the decision making process and at the end of the day they influence behaviours.

It is a privilege to have knowledge to share. I read recently also that ‘When an individual has a lot of people in his/her life who are willing to support him and his ideas, people who want to hear what he has to say and who are interested in talking to him and talking about him, such  an individual has an incredible gift that is called social capital’

Social capital also refers to both network of relationships, you have and have access to. French sociologist Pieitrre Bourdieu also defined social capital as ‘the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognitions’. Funding this account so that you can draw on it later means that you are making connection, building bridges, reaching out to people with aim of giving, staying in touch always with either your strong or weak ties.

Weak ties are those you meet in occasions, online but there is no such bond but you are willing to stretch yourself to those that matter. Technology, social software and networking sites can help us to do this well. You do not need to visit or having to call them every day. But we may need to acknowledge that it is not how many we have that count but how you make use of them.

As good as social capital is, it has limitations. So what takes your brand from here is cultural capital. Cultural capital rests on depth of influence. A great connection or network without strong influence will not help much. Cultural capital encompasses person’s knowledge, experience, connection to the extent, amount of influence a brand has in a society or tribe.

What this meant is that with all the social connection, if the brand has no expertise, experience, knowledge among other great features, it may not wield influence that will guarantee enough capital that it will need to exchange for other tangible or intangible values. The import of the above is while trying to build connection, network among other ingredients that will help build brand’s social capital, the depth of the value of such capital can be affected when the brand lacks expertise, experience and knowledge that will add up to brand’s depth of influence on the social network that produces the cultural capital.

In closing, every brand needs to start from somewhere. Start building your social capital while you are still building your cultural capital. If you have to wait until all the features of Cultural capital are in place before building social capital it may be late. Research has shown that Social capital plus Cultural capital will always guarantee heavy financial capital. Someone actually concluded that Social capital and Cultural capital are greater than financial capital. Whether that is true I cannot draw conclusion here. But what do you think?

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