Your customer is now your audience

Quynh Mai, Founder and CEO at Qulture, on content creation

by India Fizer , AdForum

Screenshots provided by Qulture | #boostofhope social campaign


New York, United States
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Quynh Mai
Founder & CEO Qulture

In the latest of our interview series exploring the intersection between content, culture and marketing, we chatted with Quynh Mai, Founder and CEO at award winning agency Qulture, formerly known as Moving Image & Content. 

Content is the bridge between you and your audience. How do you anticipate and then integrate the right topics for your audience while maintaining a consistent brand voice?

Marketing has evolved as the digital ecosystem matured, especially social media.  Your customer is now your audience, and the brand materials you create now must suit their interests, their lives.  Brands now must humanize and shift their storytelling to show how their products can benefit their customers’ lives, whether from utility, or for bragging rights.  At the same time, they must create a brand voice through tone-of-voice or creative style that is consistent and recognizable.  As TikTok continues to steal attention away from Instagram and Facebook, it is critical for brands to develop a unique voice, while being just like them.


What role does branding play in content marketing?

Branding now has to be super stealthy, and the brand’s product and storytelling needs to emerge in an organic, conversational way.  The branding needs to be integrated into a larger cultural ecosystem while existing within targeted platforms and subcultures in order to feel current and modern. 


Not everything can be advertised the same way, which can require a different approach across clients. How does content affect the way something is marketed and how do you pivot to treat this?

The main difference between advertising and content is the context.  Content needs to fit into people’s interest and behavior.  Brands need to insert their message into their consumers’ lives and be relevant and constructive.  Advertising is a forced view that, when successful, entertains and connects with the consumer. 


Without giving away your secrets, what are some things that are integral to your internal checklist when creating content? 

When making content, you must reverse engineer your approach. First, you look at the trends happening online (through video views, hashtag uses, evergreen trending topics on Twitter), then you have to conceptualize storytelling that aligns your product or brand ethos around those subjects.  Creating content requires that you insert yourself into culture-at-large and be a part of a larger conversation or interest group online. 


How do you strategize for the way audiences will want to interact with content in virtual realities, Web 3.0, and the metaverse? To what extent do you involve influencers and consumers in creating the brand narrative?

TikTok has really galvanized consumers, especially Gen Z, to participate and collaborate with brands.  Whereas on Instagram, brands invited users to post selfies wearing or using their product, today consumers want to express their creativity and uniqueness when collaborating with a brand.  We have seen that through our hashtag challenges for brands like Marc Jacobs #PerfectAsIAm which garnered 10.6 billion views, or our latest for philosophy #findyourgrace with 10.9B views.

That same collaborative mentality is permeating Web3 where users want to play, interact and create with the brands they like.  The backbone of the metaverse is gaming, so brands need to think of ways that its prospective and current customers and can participate and play in those new spaces.