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The TRA Cultural Compass

road winding through brown countryside

Cultural influences are all around us. 

They are constantly evolving and morphing and are largely out of our control.

So how can a business know how to navigate, and what of many directions will get them to their goals? More importantly how do we stop ourselves from thrashing between the current talking point to yesterday’s viral meme or today’s headline trend?

Culture is fluid and dynamic but that does not mean we can’t define a structure that helps us locate ourselves, define our direction and navigate toward our goals.

A framework we’ve developed is the Cultural Compass, supported by a culture engine that monitors the shifts, measures the swells and captures the emerging changes.

The Cultural Compass can be applied to a range of business scenarios, market situations or specific areas of business interest, including:

  • A framework for innovation
  • Internal culture appraisal and change
  • Future scenario planning
  • Brand cultural coding audit (is the brand on code?)
  • Brand purpose and identity recalibration to become relevant
  • Understanding of a market or an issue to update and realign beliefs
  • Asset management planning
  • Strategic review of ‘what business are we in’

The Compass also serves as a window into what influences the way New Zealanders think and behave. The many cultural signals that we pick up every day seep unconsciously into our thought processes. Many signals are beamed through online sources, and we also hear what other people are talking about and what they are doing. Cultural signals are all around us and we are developing better antenna, making the line between what’s on code and what’s not very fine indeed.

Companies can’t react to every new cultural pulse, nor should they. To become (and stay) relevant in people’s lives, companies just need to find the right cultural priorities for their business and then use that to define their course and stay on code.

tra cultural compass
The TRA Cultural Compass
Colleen Ryan
Partner at TRA
Colleen has a curious and strategic mindset fueled by 40 years of experience in business across Europe, North America and APAC countries. With a fascination and deep understanding of what it is to be human, specifically applying principles from cultural sociology, social psychology, behavioural science, and cultural analysis, she brings breakthrough insights to brand strategy, creative development and customer centricity.

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