Igniting Brands with Cultural Intelligence

At Alexander Dunlop, we believe that global cultural understanding is the key to finding a unique global story for your brand. All of our services use a Journey and Discovery approach. Collaborative exploration, mutual learning and generating insight are central to how we operate.

The Four Journeys of Alexander Dunlop




Who are You?
What is your Story?




Embedding Brands deeply in local Cultures




Optimising Global Communications – Turning local into global




Gaining cultural expertise in Story/Myth to deliver real results globally

  • ico-brandID

    Global Brand Identity

    Behind each great Brand is an archetype embedded in a story wrapped in a myth

    Great brands deserve great Storytelling.

    We are in an era of marketing where what the product or service does is less important than what it means to people. Iconic brands acquire cultural meaning through having a distinct personality. They have a story to tell, a myth – ultimately they have the ability to create a world that people want to immerse themselves in.

    How do we do it?

    We work with Global Brand teams in a journey of discovery which is informed by an archetypal analysis of the brand and category and a selection of promising archetypes, which we introduce through story until a clear choice of archetypes and story emerges. This is the foundation for exploring all the other aspects of building a coherent meaning system.

    What will you get out of it?

    This journey delivers a secure rock on which the brand's meaning system is based. It is more reliable than a definition based on concepts, words, and a set of adjectives – and one that is more transferable across cultures.

    Start your journey here →

  • ico-culturalEng

    Global Cultural Research

    Success for global marketers today lies in their ability to understand the cultures of the world. People bring their own stories to your brand's story, so in order to connect with consumers, you need to know their stories.

    Beyond the Export Model of Marketing

    Living in Europe, if I want Asian food I want the authentic experience, but if I want a product or service that is to be part of my life, in my home, in my kitchen, in my body, I usually want that object to be part of my culture. We work with Global Brands that are passionate about connecting with local cultures but who fully understand the practical limitations of global economics. They want the best of both. They want the local and the global to dance!

    How do we do it?

    At ADL, we have spent the last 5 years developing a Global Cultural Panel™ comprising of all of the main cultures of the world, and you can access them all in one room. We can look at multiple cultures, culture clusters, or we can take a deep look at just one specific culture.

    I - Global/Regional Engagement
    Using our process skills we act as the neutral outsider to facilitate Global/Regional sessions with Global Brand Teams, Global/Local Agencies as well as other functions, such as market research.

    II - Global Cultural Explorations
    Using our Global Cultural Panel™ to explore themes, issues, opportunities and find global clusters

    What will you get out of it?

    A deep understanding of each cultures specific matrix - their worlds, their stories, their memories, a real insight into their culture – we call this their 'Mythographic'™.

    Understand how they feel about and engage with the codes of a category and an understanding of the visual imagery and the emotional drivers they associate with that category.

    Their response to a piece of communication (existing or in the developmental phase) and if that story being told resonates with them or not.

    You will gain a deep understanding of what separates the cultures of the world, and what mostly importantly for global brands, what stories can unite them.

    Engage the world in a room →

  • ico-comms

    Global Communications Optimisation

    The One Thing a fish knows nothing about is water - Marshall McLuhan

    People feel before they think.

    Quantitative studies will tell you what is or isn't working in your communications, but it won't necessarily tell you why. Standard qualitative studies put several people from one culture in a room where there is so much that they don't need to talk about because it is culturally shared, and therefore taken for granted. (Like the fish above, they can't see culture.). Our approach starts with the culture because what you're looking to uncover may not be in the area of the visible, (above the surface), it is often in the unconscious, the dark.

    How do we do it?

    We use a trained Cultural Panel from the key countries and cultures. We use principles such as ‘putting the world in the room’, cultural probes’ and ‘cultural pairing’ in order to make explicit what is culturally relevant. This enables us to make a Communication Success Prediction identifying whether the creative route will work initially, and also to give detailed feedback as to why it is or is not going to work and what to do next.

    What will you get out of it?

    This service delivers:

    Communication Success Prediction (CSP) - based on our evaluation of the communication in terms of archetype, story and setting

    Communication Optimisation matrix - identifying exactly what needs to be done to improve the communication

    Let's open the lines of communication →

  • ico-mastery

    Global Marketing Mastery

    Mastering the three wisdoms of global marketing: the cognitive, the affective and the cultural

    We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are

    Typically global marketeers have been outstanding in a local market. When they move to global markets they have to deliver results across multiple cultures. They probably don’t have time to gain a mastery of all the different cultures they are now operating in. We provide a service through which a global marketing team can develop their cultural intelligence and their effective intelligence (how to move people though story) to complement their high level of cognitive intelligence.

    How do we do it?

    There are two aspects to the Marketing Mastery:

    Global Cultural Competency
    This action learning involves analysis of the "stuff" of culture: TV, film, religion, and games, to develop familiarity with an accessible suite of interpretive tools called "The Mythic method"..

    Masters in Global Brand Management
    Collaboration with our Masters in Global Brand Management which is a 12 module, 2 semester Programme and Dissertation in Griffith College, Dublin starting in 2014.

    What will you get out of it?

    A mastery of the range of competencies necessary to be a successful Global Marketeer of the Cultural Myth School of Branding.

    Master your cultural intelligence →

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