“There is no communication without culture, and no culture without communication.”
As Umberto Eco rightly pointed out, “there is no communication without culture, nor culture without communication”. Communication and culture are intrinsically related from the first moment in which communicating is part of one’s own culture and one’s own cultural object.
When we talk about cultural communication we are talking about a type of communication aimed at enhancing and serving the cultural and creative industries, whose main economic profitability derives from the cultural value itself.
Although it is true that cultural communication does not differ from purely corporate communication in terms of the tools it uses, nor in terms of the main objectives of more corporate communication (generating new business, improving reputation and creating new professional relationships), it is necessary to adapt them to the needs and characteristics of this industry. We are talking about a sector in which the main agents incorporate creativity as a central component of their production and have an artistic, cultural or patrimonial content with a double nature: economic and cultural (in terms of the generation of meaning, significance and identities). Their goods, services and activities are frequently protected by intellectual property, copyright and related rights and, finally, they are linked to an audience that is difficult to anticipate.
In order to speak of cultural communication, we must effectively focus on communication and stop thinking about dissemination. In other words, not only linking communication to the final phase of the product, understanding the public as a mere final consumer. Communication should be considered as one more ‘to do’ and go hand in hand throughout the design and construction process of the project. The objective of cultural communication is, in addition to turning the public into a visitor or regular consumer of our cultural products, to achieve the collaboration and active involvement of these audiences.
In the same way, it is important not to set strictly sales goals. Thus, leaving this ultimate goal aside, cultural communication is a key tool in managing relationships with the target audience, with other agents, organizations and institutions, to generate new opportunities for current debate and a fundamental element to reinforce brand image and reputation.
Cultural communication must be attractive, suggestive and clear in order to position itself as something essential for the quality of life of the consumer and that motivates them to choose our proposal. In addition, you must be very in touch with the reality of the moment and know how to adapt quickly.
The reality of the cultural sector is not easy. According to the study by the consultancy EY ‘Reconstructing Europe: the cultural and creative economy before and after the covid-19’ 2020 was dramatic for the CCI (Cultural and Creative Industries), with a loss of 31% in business volume and a accumulated loss of 199,000 million euros, being the first to suspend most of its activity. In addition, they will probably be the last to resume it without restrictions.
In this sense, and although this part has been happening for some time, the cultural sector, always so closely linked to offline communication, has undergone a digital transformation in recent years that has been boosted by the arrival of Covid-19 . The pandemic tremendously affected the cultural fabric of the country, which had to reinvent itself to improve and strengthen its online presence.
But, at the same time, the confinement highlighted the need for people to consume culture and the great opportunities that digital channels offer to cultural and creative industries to communicate and retain their target audience. Digitization processes have accelerated and hybrid models have appeared between new technologies and the content and activities of traditional cultural industries. See the offer of large museum institutions during the last year. And with the reopening of cultural spaces, online activity has not disappeared. Furthermore, in most cases it has been consolidated and will remain. Cultural communication has not been alien to this process either and since last year it has adapted to the above circumstances also using more innovative tools, such as social networks, gamification tools, use of streaming platforms … in accordance with the new habits of user consumption.