It's The Culture, Stupid: IPG/Twitter Find Brands Must Be Engaged

While traditional brand attributes still are vital factors, the extent to which they perceive brands to be culturally engaged is becoming a differentiating reason why many consumers prefer a brand. That’s the top-line conclusion of an extensive study released this week by Interpublic’s Magna and IPG Media Lab, in conjunction with Twitter.

The study, which was conducted online among two separate samples reflecting the general population, as well as “Twitter boosters,” found “cultural relevance” accounts for 25% of product purchase decisions.

While the meaning of culture is somewhat subjective, the study also finds that consumers’ definitions are evolving, with 83% citing “something other than” traditional measures such as language, religion and cuisines.

Among the other attributes “inclusion” is deemed imperative by 50% of the general population and 60% of Twitter users.

Interestingly, the study also found that celebrity endorsements may be wearing out in terms of overall cultural impact, and consumers are more supportive of brands that play a philanthropic role.

“Brands simply can no longer sit on the sidelines while the most important cultural conversations are taking place and reshaping the world we live in,” stated Deidre Smalls-Landau, global chief cross-cultural officer of IPG Mediabrands’ UM Worldwide unit, adding, “Consumers want to know they are giving their money to companies that share their values and are as passionate about social issues as they are. In short, brands that do good will likely do well.”

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