Why you need to invest in your cultural capital

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Thanks to the pandemic some people have seen a growth in their financial capital, with the UK alone saving an extra £190bn – which some might say is a modest amount compared to the US’s $4tn in incremental savings.

So perhaps you could argue that now is not a time for the financial services industry to worry or even to mix things up. However, at Keko, we think there is a pressing opportunity for them to retain, and even grow, this financial capital by thinking about their customers’ cultural capital.

The seismic changes seen in the consumer segment have not been limited to the acceleration of e-commerce and technology adoption. In fact, they’ve led to increased opportunities for brands – especially financial services brands – to consider their role in their audience’s accumulation and appreciation of their cultural capital.

Cultural capital is now publicly traded at a faster rate and frequency than ever before thanks to social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and WeChat. These platforms continue the trend of increased visibility and shareability of what is the ‘zeitgeist’ among peer groups, communities or the population at large.

At a notional point when disposal income could be at its highest levels in contemporary history, the world and its cultures and sub-cultures are more connected than ever before – and now financial services brands have an opportunity to step, or indeed leap, from rational and functional partner to emotional supporter and facilitator for their customers.

Imagine a world where your financial services providers not only give you confidence in how you manage your money, but also how you spend it. For these valuable consumers – and we call them modern affluent consumers – their wealth is accelerating at the fastest rate in history and they are natives to the lexicons of ‘drop’ culture, collaborations, cryptocurrencies, NFTs and the metaverse. Brands that can contribute to modern culture, or at a minimum have awareness of it, will be the benefactors of this accelerated wealth accumulation and the spending done by modern affluent consumers.

We don’t believe cultural capital is the reserve of fashion and luxury brands. All brands have an opportunity to not only win a share of these modern affluent wallets, but the loyalty of them too.

Our question is simple: why aren’t any of the established players (or their fintech adversaries) capitalizing on this audience’s relentless demand for growing their cultural capital when there is such a strong, direct link to their financial capital?

You don’t need to be storming the metaverse to be part of the conversation but, as we heard at the Modern Affluence Summit in September, the brands that do will be the BFFs of the modern affluent consumers shaping it.

Ben Whattam, chief operating officer at Keko.