Understanding people begins with understanding cultures

What We Do

cul·ture  /kul-chur/ n:  the product of a group's shared beliefs, values, traditions, stories, rituals, and inventions

We are a boutique research and strategy consultancy that helps small and medium sized organizations better understand and connect with their audiences. With special attention to people's cultural contexts, we identify solve the critical marketplace and workplace questions that emerging businesses face in today’s globalized and digitized world.

Market and Stakeholder Research

From marketing research to behavior mapping, our quantitative and qualitative services help clients gain a better understanding of their stakeholders by analyzing external cultures of consumers and internal cultures of employees. Some of our competencies include immersive and digital ethnography, consumer behavior trials, behavior mapping, focus groups, quantitative surveys, customer purchase intention analysis, customer segmentation, trade-off analysis, pricing and elasticity modeling.

Organizational Identity and Brand Strategy

For organizations, knowing what they are, where they're going, and why they're valuable to society is critically important to success. We help organizations answer these questions to build a brand platform, including market positioning, business line and product architecture, brand messaging, and brand equity valuation, that can guide their communications and behavior.

Marketing-Communications Strategy

As an extension of our research and branding services, we also help clients develop comprehensive integrated marketing strategies that focus heavily on cost-effective methods like digital marketing and guerrilla public relations. Our marketing strategy deliverables include ready-to-execute tactics bolstered by research, messages, budgets, and timelines. Through some of our trusted partners, we can also help clients implement these strategies when necessary.

Cultural Transformation and Change Management

Changing the behavior of employees or consumers is a difficult task. People are naturally inclined to seek stability, certainty, pattern, and routine. These tendencies can often prevent organizations from driving new ideas, new policies, new products, and new technologies through their workforce or customer base. Leveraging our expertise in social behavior and ethnography, we help clients identify and change the cultural characteristics among employees or consumers that may be creating discord or hindering progress.

Our Work

Our team members have experience working with major organizations across a number of industries. Our current clients are growing organizations that need help better understanding and connecting with their stakeholders. Our international client list includes technology companies, restaurant groups, national non-profits, and consumer packaged goods companies. Contact us to learn more about our past work and how we can apply our approach to your organization or industry.

Who We Are

After spending years studying human behavior and working in brand strategy, market research, political campaigning, and technology, we realized that many traditional management and marketing consultancies weren't able to understand how our broader cultural environment - the bigger picture - influences how people behave, and thus weren't able to design strategies that actually had meaningful impact on target audiences. We created Culture Concepts to address this problem and help emerging organizations compete in our rapidly changing world.

Remington Tonar

Remington is a diverse scholar and consultant who has worked with iconic nonprofits and Fortune 500s at one of New York's top organizational identity and brand strategy firms. He has also worked in marketing for a global technology company, political communications for statewide and local campaigns, and in digital strategy and web application design for dozens of SMEs. He holds graduate degrees from New York University and Loyola University Chicago, where his research focused on how myths and social systems influence economic behavior. He received his undergraduate degree from Marquette University. He currently sits on the board of three non-profits and is involved in a number of tech ventures. Remington is a basketball fanatic, and enjoys tannic red wine and big cities. Follow him on Twitter @RemTonar.

Jacob Jasperson

Jacob is an accomplished marketing professional and market researcher whose experiences include founding and leading the marketing insights department at a midcap technology company, financial and technical instrument sales, business development, advertising, and real estate management and sales. He holds his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Marquette University, where he studied marketing and economics. His graduate studies focused on the application of economic theory and empirics to the practice of marketing research in traditional marketing and macroeconomic models, deriving decisions based on accounting and economic profit. Jacob enjoys golf and good conversation shared over a glass of well-aged scotch. Follow him on Twitter @JacobJasperson.

How We Think

People are social animals by nature, creating cultural systems - religions, nations, economies - out of a necessity to survive and a desire to connect. These cultures play a dominate role in determining who we are, who we want to be, what we know, who we know, what we believe, and how we behave. Indeed, nothing is quite as important to being human as human culture. Everything Culture Concepts does begins from this belief.

Cultural Commerce Blog

Humanizing Cultural Change Initiatives | 11.27.13
ost managers and management consultants recognize the importance of organizational culture, but few have any idea how to support it, evolve it, or change it. A recent Booz & Co report, “Culture’s Role in Enabling Organization Change,” reveled that 60% of C-suite execs surveyed believe that culture is more important than their company’s strategy or operating model, with 51% saying that their culture needed a “major overhaul.” + Read More

Thinking Like a Business: Taking Small Nonprofits to the Next Level | 10.21.13
Nonprofits, by definition, are purpose-driven organizations. Their mission is their identity, and the change they seek cannot be bought and sold but must be wrought by human hands and human hearts. As such, nonprofits – especially small ones – often adopt a laser-like focus on their work, cobbling together teams of passionate staff and volunteers to do what they can despite resource restrictions, red tape, and societal apathy. + Read More

Reversing Social Inertia to Achieve Social Change | 8.21.13
At some point in their lifespan, most companies have to drive new policies through their workforce or introduce new products into their marketplace, both of which often prove to be formidable tasks that can take years to accomplish. The success of such initiatives hinge on a company’s ability to overcome social inertia – the tendency for groups of people to resist change – to transform the attitudes and behaviors of their employees or their consumers. + Read More

Unlocking the Power of Metadata | 7.14.13
Organizations had barely wrapped their minds around the concept of Big Data before it was overshadowed by its progeny, metadata. Metadata – the new Big Data buzzword – has a number of definition, the most common and etymologically accurate of which is data about data. It isn’t enough – some say – to have a deluge of data, you have to have a deluge of data about your deluge of data. It’s like a dream about a dream, or a painting about a painting. How meta. How hipster. + Read More

The Importance of Future Focused Strategy | 6.5.13
Although a lot of companies claim to be forward-looking, their horizon quite often usually only extends one to five years into the future – especially when it comes to SMBs. Given the rapidity of technological change today, it makes sense that many organizations would be afraid to predict developments too far into the future much less invest in preparing for potentialities. However, even if companies are not prepared to spend money developing proactive strategies to emerging technologies and ideas, they should still be aware of them for a number of important reasons. + Read More

Designing a Design Thinking Culture | 4.15.13
Design thinking has become increasingly popular since the publication of IDEO CEO Tim Brown’s book, Change by Design, in 2009. Although familiarity with design thinking isn’t yet ubiquitous throughout the professional services world, most agencies and B2C companies with younger workforces have been exposed to it. Its focus on innovation and its proven ability to identify and solve sometimes difficult to understand consumer problems has made brought it acceptance within the business community. + Read More

Working From Home: The Bigger Picture | 3.26.13
For those who observe culture from a multidisciplinary perspective, the controversy over the remote worker should come as no surprise. In fact, the rise of working from home, and now the opposition to it, were foreshadowed by trends in philosophy, art, and technology. Analyzing and comparing some of these macro-trends can also help us predict the future of the technologized workforce. Where will it head next? Will it stay at home? Will it head back to the office? Or, will something else emerge altogether? + Read More

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Cultural Thought Leadership

Gen Y and Tomorrow's Workforce | 6.2013
Culture Concepts partner Remington Tonar talks to Chief Learning Officer magazine about Millennial entitlement and how to engage and involve young workers to maximize productivity, increase ownership, and unify generational and cultural divides. Read the interview online here.

Eating Well and Doing Good | 2.2013
The February edition of Quirk's Marketing Research Review, a marketing research industry publication, featured a Culture Concepts case study as the cover story. You can read the article online here or download the PDF of the print publication here.

Consumer Values For a Value | 5.2012
The full version of this presentation was originally given at the 2012 Corporate Researchers Conference in Dallas. The presentation discusses ethnography and how to conduct ethnographic research more affordably.

Data Driven Decisions
This webinar, presented for the Marketing Research Association, addresses the deficiencies of traditional marketing research methods and explains how an ethnographic approach can give organizations more relevant actionable information.

A Cultural View on Branding
21st century approaches to branding must take into account the cultures that frame consumer behavior - whether those consumers are individuals or other businesses. This short video outlines understanding cultures can lead to better insights, better strategies, and better results.

From Meaning to Magic
In this white paper, Remington Tonar explains how a cultural approach to branding can help businesses understand their consumers on a more meaningful level and create strategies that ultimately lead to more powerful, cultural brands. Download it here.

Data Driven Decisions
In this white paper, Jacob Jasperson explains how culturally attune research can yield more insightful data, help researchers avoid analysis paralysis, and help them empower their organizations with actionable information. Download it here.

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