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Cultural Capital

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A new philosophy for brand management in the culture-led economy.

A new philosophy for brand management in the culture-led economy.

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  • 1. Measuring the RealValue of a Brand in theCulture-Led Economy
  • 2. Cultural Capital // Volume 012 3
  • 3. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 Welcome to Cultural Capital®. A unique new way of measuring the value of a brand in the real world—in culture.4 5
  • 4. CulturalRelevance Culture rules our lives. It is our beliefs, our values, our language, our interests, our passions, our aspirations... it is the way we identify with our world. For anything to be relevant to us, it has to have a role in our life and for anything to become popular in our life, it must have a cultural role. The more cultural relevance something has, the more valuable to us it becomes: an artist’s painting, a pop star, a city landmark, a product, a design, even a brand. Yet while this intangible cultural equity is the source of all popularity, there has never been a viable method of measuring it. Until now. 7
  • 5. Cultural Capital // Volume 01Introduction Consumerism was born of the marriage of capitalism and democracy. A clever ideology set in play to influence society’s belief that buying, owning and consuming the things we want will increase the quality of life and promote the social good. The media provided uninterrupted and direct access to millions of people who were raised on a steady diet of brands—all designed to make them feel happier, sexier, more confident, more successful... a satisfied consumer. Consumerism took hold of pop culture, it cultivated the idea of being an individual, promoted the importance of self-identity. And it worked. Economies grew stronger, companies increased their profits, employment was up, people felt free to enjoy a better life. The prosperity symbolized by the brands consumed gained massive status, influencing culture not only domestically, but across the world as trophies of cultural popularity. New Meanwhile the new generation is coming way to creativity and self-expression. But as we know, this story changed. Or more to the point, we are living Cultural Ideas of age, nurtured on collectivist values, Ownership has been replaced with sharing, through the start of that change. The flow of influence in culture is reversing. respectful of community and environment, and digital startups are rapidly replacing Society is now influencing consumer culture through our values and it is eager to perform their role as citizens the ambitions of corporate career ladder. changing everything. in society and find personal success by For businesses and brands to succeed in Corporations have shifted in perception from icons of prosperity to contributing to the greater good. these changed conditions, capitalism must distrusted symbols of mindless greed. Consumers are paying the price Social values are culturally charged, and change. It must answer to culture. of excessive living, and materialism is giving way to conservatism and the popularity of materialism has given sustainability. The ability to influence the masses through paid media is being replaced with the open conversations of social media.8 9
  • 6. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 Cultural Capitalism The Change in Consumerism Social Change Social activism and the role of social media are a well-documented pairing affecting change. Public opinion influences political, environmental and corporate behavior across the world. The role of social values influencing purchasing behavior is also leading to a fundamental rethinking in the structure of capitalism. In a 2011 report, Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School published his opinions on this subject in a paper entitled, "Creating Shared Value." His work focused on redefining capitalism to create a value model where both economic and societal benefit is generated. The implications of these fundamental business principles go far beyond the marketing department, demanding that for brands to succeed, it is imperative they adopt and reflect the social needs of their consumers in culture. Digital Impact The role of social media and digital connectivity is at a tipping point for brands. The real difference now is BIG data. Facebook, TwitterSM, YouTube and the other leaders in social media were originally based on ideas—smart ideas of what people might want to do using the new Internet technologies available—but intuitive ideas all the same. Now, for the first time in history, the level and quality of data these organizations have gathered means that there is a meaningful insight to guide decisions. Changing Culture Our lives are constructed of what we think, feel and do. Our cultural interests Affects Brands and passions are fundamental to what makes us tick. It’s no new news that brands try to tap into and associate themselves with these interests—whether it’s sponsoring our favorite people and events, advertising within our favorite media content, or finding ways to enter the cultural conversation taking place at anytime. Brands Perform Brand preference is all a question of relevance within our individual lives, in Culture within our culture. If a brand is not relevant to us, even though it may be widely available and we may be well aware of it, it simply is not within our consideration for consumption, as it would not be useful or beneficial. Yet while much has been done to measure brand preference, little focus has been placed on measuring the relationship between brands and culture—the relationship that creates preference. Longstanding equity measurements seek to validate advertising in its ability to influence positive preference for a brand, but little if anything has been done to really understand how brands can influence their relevance in culture. The Cultural Capital® Study has been designed to answer this need, by creating the first analytical approach to measuring a brand’s cultural relevance, and providing diagnostic tools that can deliver meaningful insight to guide the strategy of a brand. Business Shared Society Value 11
  • 7. What’s Inside 1 How to Measure Culture 2 Analyzing the Cultural Capital® of Technology Brands 3 Culture’s Most Relevant Technology Brands 4 The Power of Cultural Capital 5 How to Increase Your Brands Cultural Capital12 13
  • 8. Cultural Capital // Volume 011How toMeasure Culture Introducing the Given the fundamental role culture plays in driving Cultural Capital Index a brand’s performance, we believed it must be possible to find a suitable way to measure cultural popularity and relevance of a brand. What we found is that not only could we measure popularity and relevance, but we could in fact value it accurately—in effect, we could put a number on culture.14 15
  • 9. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 How to Measure Culture // Chapter 1 Measuring Culture Is Complex and So Are People The first challenge of measuring the value classify cultural influence, so that we of something in culture is to create a could understand how different audience system to measure culture itself. dynamics within genre groups play a role To do this we segmented popular culture in the cultural relevance of the brand. as a series of related genres based around While the ultimate goal of creating this interests, behaviors and social values. system was to provide meaningful data Then we considered which interests, that measured a brand’s Cultural Capital, behaviors and social values formed the our top priority was to ensure that motivations for engaging with a genre, whatever methodology we used could be and how actively audiences engage. operationally pliable in order to apply it to Finally, we constructed a process to the various challenges a brand faces.16 17
  • 10. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 How to Measure Culture // Chapter 1A Three-StepMethodology 1. The Audience Social Influence 2. Cultural Engagement 3. Brand Preference and Relevance First, we isolate audience groups for a specific brand— We correlate personal views with the sense of influence If we are to create a brand strategy designed With insight into the values and cultural engagement either by age, life stage, demographic, gender or individuals have within their socio-cultural groups. to influence consumers through their cultural of an audience, we then explore the brands that really other defining factors. How do they see themselves in their social groups? interests, then it’s important to understand what matter to that audience for any specific cultural genre. Then we examine their values—both personal and How socially active are they? Do they look to follow or they’re "into" and how heavily it shapes their lives. We’re able to track top-of-mind/most popular brands social—to understand how an audience sees the lead opinions within their cultural genres of interest? We took a view of culture and how the interests that based on any number of varying characteristics world and how they relate with others. What are their Do they seek out the latest trends, or follow drive people manifest as cultural genres. This can be derived from their values, attitudes and behaviors. socio-cultural motivations? What personal and social mainstream popularity? broken down into 24 inter-relating genres. Doing this allows us to capture the attributes these beliefs drive them? This form of influence segmentation allows us to Then, each of these genres is filtered through a popular brands convey to the audience that engages understand the dynamics in play within overall values lens by which any consumer or audience within a genre, and then interpret their behaviors to cohorts, ensuring that future communications can talk perceives their world. translate learnings to the brand in question. to both influencers and followers in meaningful and So while fashion is represented broadly as a cultural engaging ways. genre, it is fragmented into many sub-genres such The Brands Role in Life as: High Fashion, Streetwear, Sportswear, Basics, For the purposes of the beta study, we selected four Luxury and so forth. It is also contextually different basic criteria for measuring brand preference based depending on the consumer type. Or, in other words, on the role it plays in someone’s life: one person’s aspirational fashion label and style can be polar opposite to someone elses. 1. Useful in my daily life Importance By taking this approach to cultural genre segmentation 2. Reflects my personal values Personal Values How my perception we can build an understanding of which genres are 3. Reflects how I want others to see me What I believe. influences my choice. important to a consumer and which are not. 4. Relates to my personal interests These criteria can be adapted to evaluate any specific measures of a brand or audience type. 1 Influences What guides my values. Perceptions How I view my world. 2 Cultural Engagement How my perceptions form roles in my life: 3 Brand Preference The Audience How my purchase choices My life. Entertaining / Experience serve a role in my life. Social / Shared Useful / Helpful Media Preferences How my information sources serve a role in my life. Through the survey structure, we question the Investment level of importance a genre plays in their lives Social Values How much time and measure their level of engagement based on What we believe. and money I spend time and money spent within that specific genre. on what I do. What this allows us to do is rank consumers by their level of interest and engagement to qualify how "into" any particular genre they are. Likewise, given our knowledge of their values Cultural Relevance is measured and self-perception of their own influence, we are as the difference in engagement able to gauge their level of social influence within level between people heavily and impact upon their favorite genres. This helps to determine whether they are actively shaping "into" any genre against those a genre—following it closely and socializing with "less into" the same genre. what they follow, or whether they are simply a casual observer buying into the mainstream. For the purposes of the beta study, we simplified the measure of engagement as those "into" the genre (who were heavily interested), versus those who were "less into" the genre, with lighter levels of interest and time/money spent.18 19
  • 11. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 How to Measure Culture // Chapter 1Measuring CulturalCapital Is Competitive Given that cultural relevance is dependent on the level of interest, engagement and available brand choices within a category, we realized that we needed to use a relative measurement approach to score it. The Cultural Capital Score we assign to a brand is based on the relevance that brand has with any audience of people "into" the measured genres of culture, versus those "less into" the genres. We measure the difference between the more and less engaged audience members using a chi square statistic. So if those "into" versus those "less into" show no difference in opinion, there is a zero score. In simpler terms, the higher the score with people into something, versus the lower the score with those less into something, the higher degree of cultural relevance due to the change in popularity. Naturally there’s still the overall level of popularity any brand measured may have within an aspect of the cultural genre, but it’s the difference that shows the relevance, credibility and ability to engage an audience. The Final Score The Cultural Capital Index is unique in that it measures cultural relevance in a way that allows the brand to diagnose its performance in culture. It gives a sense of the overall level of popularity a brand has within any given genre, but more importantly, it shows how important that brand’s relevance is by determining the difference in appeal of the brand between those heavily interested in a genre versus those casually following it. For many brands, the starting point is the overall Cultural Capital Score. By aggregating the genre-specific scores, we’re able to determine the overall differences between brands to see who the real winners and losers are in terms of cultural relevance. The real benefit of the Index Score is the many ways it allows a brand to diagnose performance in specific genres, and to isolate stronger and weaker areas. Again, the starting point is the audience. If you realize that a vast proportion of your audience is into fashion in a big way, and you can understand why your brand is underperforming, then you are best positioned to do something about it.20 21
  • 12. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 22The Cultural Capitalof Technology Brands Measuring the Real Value of The Cultural Capital study provides a competitive audit the World’s Most Successful of brands within a shared category. For the beta Technology Brands in Culture test study, we selected seven of the most popular technology-based brands to measure how popular and relevant they are in culture. We did this in part due to their high recognition and engagement and also because of their crucial role in millions of lives. During the course of 2012, technology convergence and planned product launches have led these brands to aggressively compete for share of consumer spend, time and attention across an array of different platforms, technologies and social uses. Our study sought to understand who holds the competitive advantages in culture to come out winning and who has the most to lose.22 23
  • 13. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2Technology Brandsin Focus Founded in 1995 for book lovers, Amazon.com is now the world’s largest online retailer. Amazon® boasts 15 Originally a search engine, Google® started in 1995 and has now expanded to include a portfolio of nearly retail websites (including Zappos.comSM and Endless.com) and 2 million + partners that use their e-commerce 50 web-based products and services, including Gmail®, YouTube®, Google Play™, Picasa™, Chrome™ and platform. In addition to revolutionizing e-commerce, Amazon now offers cloud-based services, most notably Google+™. The company is now branching into the operating system space as a platform provider for the for their Kindle® line of e-readers. As a go-to shopping destination, Amazon processes and fulfills a huge Android™ operating systems, Chromebook™ and Google TV™. Google is ubiquitous—it sees an enormous number of orders daily—on Black Friday 2010, there were a record-setting 158 orders per second. volume of traffic with over 1 billion searches per day. YouTube also sees huge numbers with over 4 billion videos viewed daily and boasts interactive users. More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than all of the major U.S. TV networks made in their entire 60-year history. 2011 Interbrand 2011 Millward Brown Number of Ranking, BrandZ™ Ranking, Facebook Fans 2011 Ad Spend Movement & Valuation Movement & Valuation (May 2012) 2011 Interbrand 2011 Millward Brown Number of Ranking, BrandZ™ Ranking, Facebook Fans $1.4B 26 (+32%) 14 (+37%) 4.7M 2011 Ad Spend Movement & Valuation Movement & Valuation (May 2012) $12.8B $37.6B $1.54B 4 (+27%) 2 (-2%) 9.8M $55.3B $111.5B Established in 1976 with the Apple® personal computer, the company now boasts an array of design-centric and user-friendly devices at a premium price point. These highly sought-after products include Mac® computers, iPod®, iPhone® and iPad® devices, as well as software such as iTunes®. The company has Ubiquitous on PCs and Macs alike, Microsoft® Office products have made Microsoft a household name and turned into a major business and cultural force worth more than all the gold in the Federal Reserve, and long-term blue-chip company. Founded in 1976, Microsoft saw a steady rise to omnipotence. Slow movement commands lines at product launches that rival those at Black Friday. Upon the death of founder Steve Jobs to touch interfaces has left Microsoft striving to regain popularity with products such as Windows 8, the new in 2011, the outpouring of millions of fans made it a cultural event in and of itself—not surprising since there Windows phone, SkyDrive® and the popular Xbox 360® video game console. are now more iPhones sold each day than babies born. 2011 Interbrand 2011 Millward Brown Number of 2011 Interbrand 2011 Millward Brown Number of Ranking, BrandZ™ Ranking, Facebook Fans Ranking, BrandZ™ Ranking, Facebook Fans 2011 Ad Spend Movement & Valuation Movement & Valuation (May 2012) 2011 Ad Spend Movement & Valuation Movement & Valuation (May 2012) $1.9B 3 (-3%) 5 (+2%) 1.7M $933M 8 (+58%) 1 (+84%) 6.4M $59B $78B $33.5B $153B As the new kid on the block at just six years old, Twitter users 140-character status updates have infiltrated A dot-com bubble darling, eBay® is an online consumer auction and shopping site that started in 1995 and pop culture (@ - #Friday). The microblogging site isn’t as widespread as Facebook, but its users are devoted— continues to be successful with over 100 million active users. Companies and individuals use the site to sell the 140-million person user base sends over 340 million Tweets daily. The service is particularly popular as a everything from the world’s fastest car to purses. There is so much activity on the site that a pair of shoes news feed and a way to connect with celebrities (addicts include Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and is sold every seven seconds and an iPad is resold every 2.3 minutes. eBay also owns PayPal®, an online Ashton Kutcher). Twitter has also played a major role in political activities such as the Arab Spring and the money transfer service and StubHubSM, a ticket re-selling platform. Occupy movement. 2011 Interbrand 2011 Millward Brown Number of 2011 Interbrand 2011 Millward Brown Number of Ranking, BrandZ™ Ranking, Facebook Fans Ranking, BrandZ™ Ranking, Facebook Fans 2011 Ad Spend Movement & Valuation Movement & Valuation (May 2012) 2011 Ad Spend Movement & Valuation Movement & Valuation (May 2012) $977M 36 (+16%) 82 (+15%) 3.0M N/A N/A N/A 8.6M $9.8B $10.7B Started as a dorm-room project by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and friends in 2004, Facebook has now seemingly taken over the world. Currently 1 in 13 people in the world have a Facebook account, and it’s expected to hit 1 billion users in mid-2012. Facebook accounts for one in five page views in the world, and 9 precent of online traffic in the U.S. When Facebook filed for an IPO in 2011 it was valued at $90 billion. Facebook has also made its way to cinematic culture with The Social Network, an Academy Award-winning film about the creation of the site. 2011 Interbrand 2011 Millward Brown Number of Ranking, BrandZ™ Ranking, Facebook Fans 2011 Ad Spend Movement & Valuation Movement & Valuation (May 2012) $427M N/A 35 (+246%) 67M $19B24 25
  • 14. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2Measuring Cultural Capital Testingwith Young Adults Cultural Genres For the beta test of the Cultural Capital research methodology, To provide a meaningful sample of data, we restricted the Cultural we homed in on this dynamic group of young culture-focused Genres we tested to four large, culturally relevant genres: consumers to understand what’s driving their brand choices when it comes to culture. Not only do they represent the most active, dynamically engaged FASHION MUSIC MEDIA TECHNOLOGY cultural audience, they are also at the heart of the technology brands we chose to examine, so we were sure the findings would prove revealing and relevant to the brands in question. Our study includes young adults living in the USA’s largest culture-leading cities: • 18-24 years old • L.A. and NYC (DMAs) • Equal male/female split • Multicultural These were chosen due to their broad popularity in the day-to-day lives of young adults, which ensured a high level of respondent participation. We included respondents in genre-based questions if they confirmed they were at least "somewhat interested" in the genre in their day-to-day life. We then further segmented those respondents into groups of "into" the genre versus "less into" based on their level of interest and engagement.26 27
  • 15. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Young Adult Culture Young adults continue to represent the most dynamic force in culture. They maintain a voracious appetite to discover their own sense of self-identity by exploring and experimenting within their cultural landscape. They influence both those older and younger than themselves through their impact in cultural genres from fashion and style, to music, language and beyond. In previous generations, this active, expressive and often experimental period of individuation in life has created a significant disconnection from the previous adult generation in control of socio-political and economic policy. Through the explosion of post-World War youth culture, we have now seen three generations of young adults coming of age and exerting their beliefs in very different ways. Today, being one of the 30.67 million young adults in the U.S. population aged 18 to 24 represents a unique set of conditions. These conditions influence and absorb the most dynamic shift in our culture’s history—a shift that is rapidly reshaping consumerism. Youth Connecting to unemployed the Internet 17.1% 48.8% 94% of 18-29s use the Internet 87% are on a social networking of Americans below 25 of American below 25 are are unemployed unemployed during the site at least 1-2 days/week summer months Living at home Average with parents income levels 59% 50% $31,240 average income for those $28,322 average income for those of men 18-24 in 2011 of women 18-24 in 2011 ages 18-24 in 2009 ages 18-24 in 201028 29
  • 16. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Culturalism Replaces Materialism Emerging into early adulthood in the resulted in the heightened importance wake of 2008’s global economic crisis placed on gaining social popularity through has forced this generation’s young adults culturalism rather than materialism. to reframe their sense of ambition. In This notion of culturalism can be measured Fear of many ways, they have been raised for on many levels in young adult behavior success, with high standards of education today, whether it’s mining the past to find and nurturing families. Then they have real vintage treasures, acquiring skills and Anonymity subsequently watched their career paths crafts, customizing belongings, shooting disappear in front of them. films, uploading songs, or simply in the However, the new economic reality language and humor of tweets and status has also been a catalyst to refocus the updates. For young adults in today’s society, If we accept that cultural expression is de-positioning the dominance of material priorities of today’s young adults. The cultural currency is of far deeper value than ownership as the new measure of social popularity for young adults, then conversely ever-developing Internet has provided the things you can buy, mostly because it is a it must be anonymity, which is the new anxiety replacing "being broke." perfect platform for them to apply their genuine reflection of who you are, not just Indeed if creativity, funny/smarts and self-expression are rewarded by likes, friend optimistic, collectivist values and sense an image you’ve purchased. requests, views, sharing and followers, it creates a very public scale of popularity of enterprise in order to redirect their career For this reason, brands must realize that where the popular rise is pseudo-celebrity and influence, while those not part of the ambitions, ethics and societal beliefs operating in a market where the currency conversation are simply ignored. into a mass effect of micro-initiatives. traded is cultural popularity means that At a stage in life where gaining independence means figuring out how your life matters, Technology has also fueled their creative a brand’s perception must authentically it’s no longer good enough, or often possible, to aim to prove yourself through financial/ resources and removed the barriers of deliver on a promise to provide a significant material standing. Now, to matter you must play an active role in culture through diverse self-expression traditionally reserved for role in the life of the purchaser. It must contributions driven by your broad social agenda. celebrities and media broadcasting. meet the many cultural values expected For brands, this perspective provides a clear insight into how to help consumers: by Combining the conditions of restricted of the brand’s parent company, provide enabling their cultural expression. Help them find their voice, provide them with the financial means, access to every con- a source of entertainment or usefulness means to increase their social exposure, facilitate their contribution to the cultural ceivable source of inspiration, the tools for consumers, and deeply immerse itself conversation, and promote their ideas and initiatives. By using the marketing funds and to create, book-smart ability and open within their interests. the public platform the brand holds for the benefit of young adult expression, brands access to personal broadcasting has will translate actions into brand advocacy and purchasing loyalty.30 31
  • 17. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Fashion The Role of Values in Fashion All survey respondents completed general values/attributes questions, which we can Key Insights Don’t underestimate the role of social values over personal values when communicating to the average fashion follower. Certainly with the younger adult consumers questioned in L.A. and NYC, mainstream It is often assumed that younger audiences are cynical and resistant to advertising and marketing from brands, but certainly this shows the importance of relevance in communications. In fact, we found that then apply to cultural genre responses to determine which values are seen as most values tell a different story than die-hard fashionistas. those heavily into fashion saw the role of advertising relevant to people "into" that genre versus those "less into" it. While Appearance, Social Status and Public Image as an important component of their engagement Perhaps it’s not surprising that Appearance was the most important value/attribute of are still very much the key to relevance with people with their fashion interests and brands. people who are into fashion. It was also the trait that carried the greatest distinction into fashion, the key to unlocking the connection Equally, we found that people into “Image carries less weight with between people into fashion versus those less into it. So it’s clear to see that if you’re between the core fashion followers and the mainstream marketing image, beware that Appearance only truly matters to those seeking it out. “Appearance only fashion consumer is achieved by translating the fashion value being consumers of average levels of seen as cool. This interest in fashion, in comparison In fact, we found that Nature, Environment and Wealth were all traits seen as more truly matters to aesthetic into a deeper social role based in success. could sound like an with concerns that carry a important to those individuals less into fashion. This shows that image carries less weight with consumers of average levels of interest in fashion, in comparison with concerns those seeking it out.” Perceptions obvious statement, deeper social role.” that carry a deeper social role. When we studied the psychographic portion of the but what it really tells us is that fashion is a by-product What we found most surprising was that Public Image and Social Status were seen as survey we examined the responses relating to each of status, not something driven by the appreciation the least relevant traits of the top scoring values, regardless of how into fashion someone genre that showed the most significant response levels. of design. We found people into fashion also enjoy was. That said, the preference in Public Image and Social Status was definitely a polarizing For fashion, one of the biggest findings was the being the center of attention socially more than those factor. It was seen as far more relevant to people into fashion versus less into it. difference in perception between the role of advertising less into it and see themselves as a source of what’s In every case, people into fashion displayed a higher level of relevance from all these and the sense of self-image. cool, while people less into fashion looked to others top traits when compared to less engaged individuals. Twenty nine percent of those less into fashion stated to determine their sense of cool. that they find advertising annoying, whereas 81 percent of those into fashion see it as a great way to learn about products and services.32 33
  • 18. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Fashion’s Most Popular Brands: Into Fashion Less into Fashion FOREVER 21® FOREVER 21 Gucci® Nike® H&M® Old Navy® Nike Levi’s® American Eagle®/COACH® GAP® Among the cosmopolitan 18-24 year-olds surveyed, we asked unprompted which brands were most relevant to them in relation to their fashion interests, as a baseline for establishing the genre. We found consistently across both people into and less into fashion that the brands they purchased most heavily and frequently also ranked as most relevant. "Fast Fashion" retail brands were the real winners, with Forever 21 seen as consistently the most universally appealing. H&M was also extremely popular, but skewed toward those into fashion, indicating a higher level of relevance among more fashion-forward respondents, but less engaging with people less into fashion. Perhaps the most significant brand appearing in responses was Gucci. While not appearing at all with those less into fashion, Gucci averaged the second most popular brand with people into fashion, and in most cases pushed H&M into third place, losing out only to Forever 21. Given that the survey respondents were all of an average income level, we can determine that the people into fashion were into Gucci, not because of consumption level, but because of brand aspiration. This is not surprising when we correlate Gucci’s preference against the values traits people into fashion shared. For this group of young fashion-focused consumers, Gucci is the brand most closely representing their aspirations, shaped by the media and music celebrities who influence their tastes. Social Status, Public Image and Wealth are all traits Gucci personifies through its brand positioning and high-profile celebrity consumers, traits which directly connect with this image-led audience group. Aside from Forever 21, the other notable performer across all respondents to the genre was Nike. While Nike’s level of popularity varied based on the different responses to questions about the brand’s role in life, it was consistent that Nike has a broad base of relevance with the audience in relation to fashion and image. These findings reflect Nike’s long-standing focus of marketing to the cultural genres that influence this audience’s tastes in sportswear and street style, but also indicates that the brand could do more to increase the level of fashion-oriented engagement in order to defend the brand’s positioning as a leading tastemaker from mass ubiquity, where it could lose its edge in culture.34 35
  • 19. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Fashion The Technology Brand Leaders in Fashion Culture performers in every sense, which confirms what we may experience for fashion provides a stronger platform expect, given a lack of a real role in the fashion space. for the brand to continue to grow both its popularity We examined each of our four Role in Life questions Conversely, Apple’s relevance demonstrated a more and tap into relevance with people into fashion and in relation to the seven technology brands we tested. potent draw to the brand, which perhaps is more fashion brands. While we only measured these mass reflective of the iconic design credibility the brand brands, it would be fairly safe to presume the biggest 85% holds and the caché held as a fashion item in its own rivals to their popularity in daily usefulness would be right. Certainly this is something Microsoft could the fashion-specific portals and apps serving fashion 81% strengthen if it wishes to gain ground among fashion/ content. PinterestSM, GiltSM, Asos and other interest sites style-conscious consumers. and retailers naturally rely on Facebook as a channel Into Fashion Finally Facebook was the runner-up to Google in for marketing, but equally Facebook and Google overall popularity, and while the relevance draw could lose out to these channels as consumers build Less into Fashion based on consumer engagement wasn’t significant, behaviors around the interest points themselves, and the opportunity for Facebook to curate a user’s no longer have a need for the middle man. 66% 2. Reflects My Personal Values The technology brands’ roles in reflecting personal values follow a similar pattern to use in daily life—both in 57% 57% terms of popularity ratings and also levels of relevance based on engagement. 55% The key difference we found was that Google’s score shifted to show a marginal positive relevance score, 52% indicating that people more into fashion perceive the brand as more relevant in reflecting their personal values related to fashion. 46% In pure relevance terms, Twitter again showed the highest level of difference between those into fashion versus those less into it. This further reinforced the brand’s role as a go-to reference for fashion followers, and 43% shows the brand’s solid role in reflecting the interests and personal image of fashion’s community members. 40% 38% 34% 72% 29% 65% 61% 19% 55% 51% 49% 46% 44% 40% 38% 37% 33% 25% 1. Useful in My Daily Life 20% Google was singularly the most popular brand within of people claiming Twitter was useful in their day- the genre when it comes to usefulness, as we would to-day lives was lowest, the difference in usefulness likely expect to be the case. between those into fashion versus those less into it In fact over 80 percent of the respondents considered was the greatest. Google to be most useful, whereas less than 40 This indicates that the role of Twitter holds a high percent consider Twitter to be useful. However, even level of relevance and usefulness as a channel for though Google’s popularity was highest, the level interests for fashion’s loyal followers. of stated relevance actually decreased with people Like Twitter, eBay holds a relatively strong position more into fashion versus less into it—so the more in terms of relevance to those into fashion, given its fashion-interested segment saw Google as less role as a retail channel. Even so, the actual overall relevant to their day-to-day fashion interests than level of popularity was lower than might be expected. those less into the genre. This tends to suggest that eBay is failing to really cut Meanwhile, Twitter’s numbers were lower in overall through with fashion followers in a way that connects popularity, but its relevance score was significantly their actual interests with the brand. higher. This was because while the overall number Both Microsoft and Amazon proved to be average36 37
  • 20. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Fashion Into Fashion 4. Relates to My Personal Interests Less into Fashion The most interesting insight in relation to how brands relate to someone’s personal fashion interests is the jump in popularity and relevance for 65% Facebook in this role. 64% While it still sits behind Google in overall popularity, its relevance is stronger. Google’s high popularity could most likely be attributed to its ubiquity in this instance. Facebook’s performance is more likely a result of its ability 57% to easily connect its users through fan pages of the fashion brands and 55% 54% interests they’re seeking. 50% 74% 44% 42% 41% 69% 41% 39% 38% 65% 59% 57% 57% 56% 26% 22% 45% 44% 42% 41% 36% 31% 28% 3. Reflects How I Want Others to See Me Within the Role in Life questions, associating a In the study, we found that overall popularity of brand in relation to how you want to be seen by brands dipped in comparison to the other Life-Role others is perhaps the hardest area in which to gain responses, no doubt a symptom of the effect good data. This is because consumers simply don’t mentioned above. often think (or want to think) about their motivations That said, we found that the relevance of Twitter to impress others. really spiked in this capacity—even disproportionately to Although this is true, what we do know from previous its social media companion Facebook. This certainly studies of 18-24 year-olds is they are more comfortable demonstrates Twitter’s high level of Cultural Capital with their public identities and more consciously in fashion as a device to express not only your fashion aware of how their actions and choices shape interests, but also to broadcast how you want to be opinion of them. Likewise, they are more conscious seen in the world. of what brand choices mean to them in a social For this reason, it is perhaps the most effective “18-24 year-olds are more comfortable context. Peer groups are more vocal and clear on medium for social popularity and public expression their approval rating of brands, so the incidence of within the fashion genre. with their public identities and more dependable data increases the validity of findings, at consciously aware of how their actions least within this group. and choices shape opinion of them.”38 39
  • 21. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Fashion Cultural Capital Index The Cultural Capital score of a brand measures its relevance against its competitors and shows the score as an index, where 100 is the neutral relevance. 163 121 Popularity | 32% 80 Popularity | 35% 28 Popularity | 53% Popularity | 71% 100 39 Popularity | 41% 119 Popularity | 59% 150 Popularity | 45% Our results showed that Twitter was a clear winner in iPhone and iPad, it has become the most culturally Fashion Culture Summary the fashion genre. Its role in the lives of those into relevant manufacturer without a doubt, and the There is a clear story that plays out within the fashion genre relating to fashion dramatically differentiates it from those less brand’s innovations both for product design and technology brands. First, the overall popularity of across all roles does into fashion. It holds down the top spot not only content strategy have ensured it is completely in tune not equate to active cultural relevance. because it connects peoples’ interests to relevant with both image-based aspiration and day-to-day Google’s strength is its ubiquity: It is the universal go-to reference for communities in their cultural life, but also due to its functional use. finding what you want. Therefore, it is certainly an important gateway to accessible social platform. It is also highly reflective of Google’s low “Twitter: Highly reflective any interest, not exclusively to fashion. But as a brand, it does not have fashion-interested users’ personal and social values. performance any meaning in the fashion space. It helps fast-track users to the values they crave most, is no reflection of fashion-interested users While this may seem irrelevant for Google’s brand strategy, it is something including Appearance, Public Image and Social Status. of the brand’s personal and social values.” to consider for new product innovations. Products like Google TV, Twitter’s potential has perhaps been overlooked awareness Google Play or Android are platforms in a different competitive category given its relatively small audience in comparison to or engagement level, but it does indicate it has no setting, where cultural relevance is a determining factor for the choices Facebook. However, its ability to build a relevant increased value in the lives of young fashion followers. consumers make to buy one solution versus another, heavily based on role in peoples interests shows it has the ability With the growth of fashion sites like Pinterest, their personal values. In this context, Google may lose out to its competitors to build stronger communities by offering a more Gilt, Polyvore or even eBay, and the continuing like Apple that have invested in building much higher relevance through meaningful role in interests. growth of app-based browsing, Google needs to their style and image-led positioning. Apple’s high ranking in the number two spot is most defend its role beyond utility function to feature certainly a result of the inherent style caché and a real role in the lives of those seeking out their image of the brand, which has helped it gain relevance fashion interests. among fashion followers. Through products like the40 41
  • 22. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Music The Role of Values in Music Along with fashion, music has long been one of the most archetypal definers of youth and Key Insights Perceptions young adult pop culture. They have been mutually inclusive cultural allies helping to shape and The importance of Wealth and Social Status with In reviewing psychographic statements from those inform mainstream and sub-cultural identities, often at a generational level. those into music is a clear signifier of the role perceived less into music, versus those more into it, we found Innovations in digital platforms have opened access to music beyond ownership, which in turn have success plays in gaining cultural relevance with this that a social theme carried through. broadened and blurred musical tastes borrowing from any and every influence from the past. At audience base. Sixty-three percent of those less into music said they the same time, the fusion and experimentation of musical genres has given rise to "mash up" and It seems fair to assume the values driving people have "fewer, closer relationships," whereas more "remix" culture, where traditional genres are mutated, remixed and reproduced into new sub-genres. who are into music may vary by demographic, audience than half those into music claimed to have "a large Even though tastes have continually broadened, there are still clear genre mainstreams and popular lifestyle cohort, and other factors. However, when social network." artists, which represent and reflect the ideals of their listening audiences. reviewing this group, it was a clear indication that While it would certainly be a stretch to infer that Music also remains perhaps the single most popular platform for the social experiences of brands reflecting social success and affluence would those people less into music do not enjoy the social young adults—whether it be live performances, clubs and DJs, or just background ambience perform well. popularity of their musically connected friends, what for social spaces. this does support is a belief that people who engage For this reason, it was not surprising to find that the most relevant value highlighted by respondents more heavily with music see their Social Status as into music was a Social Status. In fact, it was seen as twice as important on average than those “People who engage more heavily with more front-of-mind, in the same way those into less into music, correlating the importance of music with the level of social popularity. music see their Social Status as more fashion held greater importance for Public Image The other value—or rather attribute—drawing the greatest relevance with people into music was front-of-mind, in the same way those into and Social Status. found to be Wealth. fashion held greater importance for Public Wealth may at first appear to be an unusual trait to increase in importance the more someone is Image and Social Status.” into music, but it is important to consider the audience in question. With the young, L.A./New York audience surveyed, Wealth is a critical measure of success, and regularly personified with many of the popular urban music artists who influence their aspirations and self-perception.42 43
  • 23. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Music’s Most Popular Brands: Into Music Less into Music iTunes Apple Apple iTunes Sony® Rock YouTube Amazon PandoraSM Sony/iPod Within the research methodology, respondents were asked to rank their most popular unprompted brands in the given genre. What we found from both respondents into and less into music was that Apple and its iTunes brand hold the dominant role in life for music. But even at the top, the brand preference shifts depending on how into music you are. For those into music, iTunes was in the top position across all roles in life, whereas for those less into music, it was Apple at number one in all cases except for "Useful in daily life," where iTunes clinched it. The ranking of brands for those into music extended consistently across all roles, with Sony always lagging well behind iTunes and Apple in third place. YouTube performed closely with Sony’s level of preference and attained fourth place, but in every instance Sony and YouTube’s combined preference rankings did not even match Apple’s second-place scores. While Apple and iTunes success differed based on audience engagement, the actual percentage variance in each case was relatively close, which suggests the role of iTunes becomes marginally more relevant with people more into music, but both brand names carry immense equity. Maybe the most interesting finding among unprompted brand ratings is that respondents actively see iTunes and Apple as unique and different. They did not pick one or the other but rather listed both as most relevant to them.44 45
  • 24. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Music The Tech Leaders in Music Culture Given that Apple was so successful in listings within the unprompted brands of the music genre, it provided an excellent point of reference to follow if that relevance carried through to Cultural Capital measurement among the brand’s tech competitive category. 81% 2. Reflects My Personal Values Into Music Facebook showed the highest relevance in relation to personal values, followed by Amazon and then Twitter. 75% Overall popularity of role was scored highest by Google and then Apple, with Facebook in third place. Less into Music Twitter showed the lowest level of popularity from respondents, but maintained its consistently strong relevance. 72% It is relatively unsurprising that the social media channels would show positive relevance in reflecting personal values relating to music, and while the lower popularity of Twitter is appropriate to the penetration of users in comparison to Facebook, it can still be considered in close ranking to its larger peer in terms of relevance draw. 63% 60% 70% 67% 53% 63% 50% 61% 55% 55% 43% 42% 41% 44% 32% 32% 42% 29% 41% 40% 36% 24% 33% 30% 29% 1. Useful in My Daily Life In terms of usefulness in daily life, Apple was in fact eBay was the lowest performer in terms of popularity a strong second place contender in terms of popularity and showed a zero difference in relevance, indicating it and also demonstrated a small increase in the level showed no differentiation based on music engagement. of relevance with people into music. Microsoft showed comparable levels of relevance to Google claimed the number one result for popularity, Apple, although its popularity of use was at a similar and yet in the same pattern as seen with the fashion level to Twitter’s. genre, the usefulness in daily life was actually less Facebook, which ranked in third place in popularity, relevant with those into music compared to those actually recorded the highest level of relevance, less into music. demonstrating a strong role in daily life for people Twitter returned a popularity rating that was relatively into music. low, but a high relevance—a performance consistent with its score in fashion.46 47
  • 25. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Music Into Music 4. Relates to My Personal Interests Less into Music Overall, we found the relevance of brands relating to personal interests compared more closely. Facebook was the only exception, where the level of relevance spiked 65% 64% significantly and there was a high popularity score. Google maintained its high usage role in popularity ranking, but showed less relevance difference. 57% Most interesting was the drop in relevance level seen in Twitter in comparison 55% 54% to the relevance levels seen in the other roles. Clearly, users see Twitter as important and relevant as a channel, but its limited content generation perhaps 50% correlates with less relevance as a platform to engage with music content. 44% 70% 42% 41% 41% 39% 67% 38% 66% 62% 56% 51% 26% 22% 49% 45% 44% 43% 39% 37% 35% 33% 3. Reflects How I Want Others to See Me Both Google and Facebook recorded the highest levels of popularity in relation to this value, but Facebook showed almost double the nearest competitor in level of relevance between those into versus those less into music. Apple and Amazon were the runners up in terms of overall popularity, but Apple’s brand proved far more relevant. Twitter, Microsoft and eBay all followed in near-equal third place in popularity. But while this was the case with popularity, Twitter showed a massive difference in positive relevance for those into music. This is clear proof that music users in Twitter’s community see the role of the brand as massively relevant in how they want others to see them.48 49
  • 26. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Music Cultural Capital Index The Cultural Capital score of a brand measures its relevance against its competitors and shows the score as an index, where 100 is the neutral relevance. 228 92 Popularity | 55% 66 Popularity | 58% 40 Popularity | 49% Popularity | 68% 100 60 Popularity | 34% 90 Popularity | 39% 124 Popularity | 35% Social status was highly important to those into music and their self-perceptions Music Culture Summary reconfirmed this. Perhaps the biggest narrative to the role of tech Undoubtedly this is a result of the content and sharing This is why we see the highest Cultural Capital Index score is achieved by brands in music culture relates to the social effect. combination Facebook provides, in comparison to Facebook with Twitter in second place. While Apple and iTunes were listed as the most popular Twitter’s more limited content engagement role. The ability to socialize music culture is the driving force and clearly brands, with respondents replying to unprompted By gaining access to fan pages, keeping up with something brands like Google, Amazon and eBay are failing to capture. consideration, as soon as the competitive set was news, and easy audio and video sharing, Facebook To increase relevance, developing strategies that provide consumers with the considered and the different roles of the brands has grown its role as the go-to reference in music. ability to interact and share their music preferences and experiences through were examined, this story changed dramatically. Likewise innovations like Spotify®’s music integration the brands will no doubt allow them to increase this relevance. Clearly there is a brand caché to Apple that drives will also contribute to Facebook’s integration in Finding platforms that integrate a brand its preference and certainly findings may have music culture, enabling users to share what they are within the social aspects of music interests “Brands act more like entertainment shifted if we had measured iTunes in place of the listening to with friends. will likely pay the greatest dividends for channels and can build a genuine role parent brand. The social effect is underpinned by our findings relating to the importance and scale of social networks brands. The real value in relevance terms as the facilitator of the conversation.” However, the cultural relevance of Twitter and with music fans. can be achieved by first harnessing the Facebook in relation to music interests is indisputable. voice of the artists through the brand and then curating the conversation Regardless of popularity levels, Facebook proved of the fans. By investing in this behavior, brands act more like entertainment itself almost twice as relevant as Twitter with channels and can build a genuine role as the facilitator of the conversation. people into music.50 51
  • 27. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 “From a psychographic standpoint, when looking at media we observe a shift in social self-confidence between those into media, versus those less into it.” Key Insights Media The media genre seems to be measured by the value "like things to be tried and tested before they adopt of information and the confidence to share opinions. them," and 65 percent stated they "look to others to In understanding the self-perceptions of those find out what’s hot or cool." measuring as more or less engaged in media, we see Contrasting with this group, those signifying they were that media, regardless of specific channel, is about into media had already stated they believe in their own sharing information and is related to the confidence judgments and seek to share and evangelize their of those individuals sharing their opinions. preferences. Eighty-five percent of them stated, "If I If you were to ask a room of people a question, you find a new product or service, I tend to tell everyone The Role of Media in Culture would naturally find that some people would be more I know," and more than half of them stated, "People opinionated and vocal than others. In the same way, look to me to find out what’s hot or cool." In contrast to fashion and music, while media maintains an omnipresent role in our lives it is we see the effect of social self-confidence relates to not an interest that we seek out. By contrast, it is the channel or delivery device by which we the level of engagement with media in culture. connect with our interests. With the growth of social media, we have seen a reverse in the flow of news, whereby the Perceptions “Respondents who measured as social channels now readily inform the mainstream media channels. From a psychographic standpoint, when looking at less into media tended to be more For brands, the presence within the complex earned-media landscape is vital for awareness and relevance. Within the technology category, this landscape increases in complexity as brand and media we observe a shift in social self-confidence reluctant to form, follow or share between those into media, versus those less into it. channel blur and intersect. When understanding the role of In simplest terms, the respondents who measured their own opinions.” media for young adults, clearly the importance of media comes “With the growth of social media we have as less into media tended to be more reluctant to with a social suffix, allowing for an active role in the conversation seen a reverse in the flow of news, whereby form, follow or share their own opinions and more as well as being the passive recipient of information. the social channels now readily inform the likely to seek the influence of others in gauging their mainstream media channels.” opinions. Sixty-nine percent of this group stated they52 53
  • 28. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Media’s Most Popular Brands: Into Media Less into Media Facebook Facebook Twitter Google Apple Apple Yahoo!® News Google Twitter When asking people to self-select brands that relate to roles in their life for media, you might assume that respondents would list networks like MTV, ESPN, ABC, HBO, etc. In fact, only FoxSM received any significant mention by respondents who listed the network as reflective of their personal values, but still only by 4 percent of those into media. Social media dominated respondents’ perception of media. To this end, Facebook proved its universal leadership of the overall group, as the most popular brand by both those into the genre and less into it, and across all life roles. Twitter was second in the rankings and as with Facebook, performed equally well with those less into media as those into it. This demonstrates there is less of a core distinction between brand preferences in relation to media engagement, even though we have seen there is a difference in self-perception between groups. Google appeared in results relating to usefulness in daily life, as did Yahoo! Apple was also listed as a popular brand in relation to media, which is perhaps a reflection of the brand’s devices and apps used to source media content, rather than the function of the product. It was mentioned with equal levels of popularity by those into and less into the genre.54 55
  • 29. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Media The Tech Leaders in Media Culture Given the universal appeal of Facebook and Twitter across both into and less into respondents in the unprompted brands section, we were interested to see if a level of relevance would exist in our measured brands, and show 2. Reflects My Personal Values any difference between the engagement levels between the groups. Google related well with this role, but showed relatively low difference in relevance. Apple proved to be highly differentiating within this role. The brand proved of equal Into Media popularity with Microsoft in terms of levels of response, but was more than one-third 92% more relevant than Microsoft when considering the difference between those engaged Less into Media in the media genre and those less engaged. 85% We found that eBay had the most differentiation in terms of relevance: respondents into media considered the brand far more important to their personal values within media than those less interested in media overall. However, eBay was also the brand with the least 79% overall popularity, demonstrating that high relevance also needs to be considered within the context of the overall role consumers believe a brand holds in any given cultural genre. 81% 63% 62% 74% 58% 57% 57% 69% 51% 49% 60% 58% 58% 45% 42% 54% 48% 34% 43% 41% 41% 28% 40% 33% 29% 1. Useful in My Daily Life Predictably, Google returned the highest sense of popularity as a useful source for media in daily life, but remained undifferentiated in terms of relevance by engagement. Facebook proved second most popular among respondents and returned an average positive relevance, drawing more appeal with those into media. However Facebook’s relevance score was in no way an indication of significance, given that it measured within a point of Apple, Twitter and Microsoft. Amazon was the least differentiated, showing almost a neutral shift between people into media versus less into it.56 57
  • 30. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Media Into Media Less into Media 4. Relates to My Personal Interests In contrast with the previous role question, respondents stated a high level 73% 73% of overall popularity when considering the role of brands in relation to their personal media interests. Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon were all considered to be extremely 66% popular. Apple proved to be the most relevant, reflecting the brand’s popularity within unprompted brand consideration. Facebook and Twitter were considered equally relevant, although the 58% proportion of difference was heightened for Facebook given the brand’s 56% popularity standing. 55% 70% 49% 67% 66% 44% 43% 43% 41% 62% 38% 56% 34% 33% 51% 49% 45% 44% 43% 39% 37% 35% 33% 3. Reflects How I Want Others to See Me Our measured brands returned some of the lowest overall scores when considering this socially related question for the media genre. This can be attributed to a lower caché and aspiration associated with being interested in media. As a genre it simply doesn’t hold the same level of social status as fashion or music interests. Within this role, Facebook proved most popular and also showed the greatest difference in relevance between those into the genre versus those less into it. As with personal values, eBay showed the lowest level of popularity, but recorded the highest percentage differentiation by relevance.58 59
  • 31. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Media Cultural Capital Index The Cultural Capital score of a brand measures its relevance against its competitors and shows the score as an index, where 100 is the neutral relevance. 138 102 Popularity | 53% 90 Popularity | 36% 57 Popularity | 65% Popularity | 51% 100 72 Popularity | 75% 92 Popularity | 49% 110 Popularity | 38% Overall media genre Index scores represent less relevance when compared Media Culture Summary to fashion or music genres. This is perhaps an indication of the lower overall When considering brand relevance in the media genre, two level of importance of the genre to respondents than it is a reflection of characteristics really stood out: brand performance. First, respondents considered product-led brands such as Equally, the overall difference in relevance between brands is lower and Apple as important as social media channels. more closely grouped, which shows that none of the brands are dramatically Second, relevance needs to be considered in relation to differentiated in the genre. scale of popularity. While eBay recorded stronger relevance Clearly Apple’s caché creates enough of a differentiating factor to identify differentiation with people into media, its scores were the relevance for the brand within the genre, but it is perhaps an indication consistently low in overall popularity. of the group showing relatively low/neutral relevance with the majority of brands, that no technology brands studied are seen as drawing relevance between those into media versus those less into it. It could be considered whether the results would dramatically change if the brands in question were all media channels or TV shows—where the interest would be driven by content relevance in relation to the genre and would be greatly reflective of individual choice.60 61
  • 32. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 “Technology is not about technology, its about social currency.” “People into technology display self-assurance in their decision-making behaviors, opposing their less into counterparts who favor following trusted conventions.” Key Insights Technology is not about technology; its about while their less into counterparts who favor following social currency. trusted conventions. They also display greater Technology The role of the technology genre is seen as a means to spontaneity, risk and social leadership. an end to demonstrate social popularity. Creativity and Self Expression have long been Into Technology: considered the core social currency of young • "I tend to make spontaneous purchases, even on adults, and technology is seen as the platform by major items." — Over 1 in 3 which to communicate these values to others. • "I always try new products and services before Our responses show that the more into the genre the others do." — 49% respondents, the greater the increase in these values, • "I have a large social network." — 2 in 3 The Role of Values in Technology which fuels the importance technology plays in their life. • "People look to me to find out what’s hot or cool." — 53% We found that the value attributes listed by respondents who were into the technology genre were Perceptions • "Advertising can be a great way to find out about a close reflection of those associated with music and fashion genres. The attributes showing most We can correlate the level of self-confidence in products and services." — 79% distinct relevance were Appearance, Social Status, Public Image and Wealth. respondents with the level of engagement with their While these attributes are certainly popular and important with the young adults surveyed, it is preferred genre. Respondents into music and media Less Into Technology: interesting that they peak in importance when considering genres such as technology as reflective genres showed distinctions in their most relevant • "I look to others to find out what’s hot or cool." — 64% of these values. This indicates genres that are in sync with their values are always more important. psychographic statements, which demonstrated • "I like things to be tried and tested before I buy That said, the most popular attribute across both those into and less into technology was increased self-esteem between those into the genre them." — 3 in 4 Creativity. Clearly the link with technology as a means to be creative and express views and versus those less into it. • "I find all advertising annoying." — 1 in 3 ideas with others is fundamental to interest in the genre. In a similar vein, people into technology display • "I spend quite a lot of time researching products self-assurance in their decision-making behaviors, before making a major purchase." — 86%62 63
  • 33. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Technology’s Most Popular Brands: Into Technology Less into Technology Apple Apple Sony Sony Microsoft Microsoft HP® Samsung® Google Google Reviewing the most popular unprompted responses Sony was a close third to Microsoft, with Samsung for technology brands, within a study focusing on trailing Sony by a percentage point. Each of these technology brands, provided the opportunity to competitors followed the same trend as Microsoft: effectively blind test the relevance respondents falling in relevance against engagement and losing consider without framing our category. out on percentage points that Apple gained. We were then able to correlate the findings here This was a clear pattern throughout the subsequent versus the prompted brand questions to better life-role questions. understand how young adults perceive brands in Apple claimed no less than 40 percent of those into isolation versus comparatively. the genre in each instance, and in every case rose We found that respondents universally cited Apple at least 10 percentage points from the less into as the most popular brand in the technology genre respondents. regardless of engagement status. Sony and Microsoft battled for second and third What we also found consistently across all four place, though there was very little difference between life-role questions was that Apple grew in relevance them and they continually performed at around one- based on level of engagement with the genre. third the level of percentage points of Apple. In relation to "Useful in my daily life," Apple was HP had a low ranking with those into technology, and seen as useful by 51 percent of respondents into wasnt recognized at all by those less into the genre. technology versus 39 percent of those less into it. The only non-manufacturing brand to feature was Microsoft scored the second most popular against Google, which ironically appeared in low results across this question, but reversed with engagement, so 18 all questions except for "Useful in my daily life." It percent of those less into technology referenced the should also be noted that Google did not reflect any brand in comparison with 15 percent of those into increase in preference in relation to relevance. the genre. Microsoft showed diminishing relevance with cultural engagement.64 65
  • 34. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Technology The Tech Leaders in Technology Culture Given the clear narrative takeaway seen in the unprompted brands section, we were most interested to see if the same results would appear within our measured brands. 2. Reflects My Personal Values Many of the points above were reflected in relation to this question, but the most significant difference was Microsoft. 86% 85% Microsoft recorded the lowest level of relevance (or most negative) in the entire survey. Those less into technology were happy to reference the brand as reflective of their Into Technology personal values, but those into technology actively shunned the brand. Meanwhile Apple showed a strong positive relevance in common with its role in daily life. Less into Technology Twitter and eBay again scored consistently, showing a relevance for technology- engaged respondents. 71% 68% 76% 76% 66% 63% 60% 69% 57% 64% 63% 62% 48% 46% 46% 56% 54% 44% 46% 44% 43% 43% 27% 20% 27% 24% 1. Useful in My Daily Life Popularity levels were high across most brands Twitter also showed an extreme spike in relevance for this life role. Google proved most popular with from those into technology versus those less into about 80 percent of respondents rating the brand as it, but consistent with previous findings, the overall useful. While this is a fairly obvious and predictable numbers were relatively low in popularity. association, as with other genres we found that eBay performed similarly to Twitter, with strong Google’s relevance fell with engagement level. relevance draw, but lower popularity, suggesting the Apple held a small margin of popularity against retail brand is seen as important with those young Microsoft with those into technology, but the propor- adults into technology, but hardly features with those tional difference in relevance was huge. There was less engaged with it. little in Microsoft’s draw of relevance, while Apple returned the highest degree of difference in relevance measured in the whole study.66 67
  • 35. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Technology 4. Relates to My Personal Interests Personal interest responses followed the same pattern as previous questions, Into Technology with Apple recording levels of relevance massively different between those into versus less into technology. Less into Technology Twitter showed high relevance, as did eBay, although typically we found their overall popularity levels were relatively low by comparison to the other brands. Facebook proved popular, as did Microsoft, but both showed little change 76% in terms of relevance. 72% 68% 81% 67% 77% 59% 58% 72% 57% 69% 65% 64% 63% 46% 46% 46% 59% 43% 41% 52% 47% 47% 46% 30% 26% 31% 30% 3. Reflects How I Want Others to See Me Again, Apple showed strong relevance with those engaged versus Microsoft’s low relevance. Given the social nature of the question, Facebook increased in popularity of consideration and also showed a strong degree of relevance with those most engaged.68 69
  • 36. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Cultural Capital of Technology Brands // Chapter 2 Technology Cultural Capital Index The Cultural Capital score of a brand measures its relevance against its competitors and shows the score as an index, where 100 is the neutral relevance. 190 150 Popularity | 57% 87 Popularity | 38% 10 Popularity | 60% Popularity | 63% 100 14 Popularity | 79% 98 Popularity | 52% 151 Popularity | 38% Apple has successfully optimized the brand’s role In the case of Twitter, the high relevance in relation Technology Culture Summary in portraying those most desirable values within its to those engaged with technology is a positive Apple proved to be the most popular unprompted marketing and provides a powerful draw with those attribute for the brand, showing a strong role within brand, and it proved to be the most relevant brand viewing technology as important to them culturally. a community that is important for a communities- to technology consumers within the study. It also best reflects the psychographic habits and based platform. The same cannot be said for eBay, What we also found is that relevance is not popularity, attitudes portrayed with those most engaged. where low popularity with high relevance indicates but ability to engage. While we found that Twitter and “Relevance is not popularity, Perhaps the most telling story within this genre is the eBay is struggling to broaden appeal beyond the eBay showed strong relevance in each instance, it polarizing effect seen between Apple’s relevance and core engaged audience, and therefore losing out on was still with relatively low levels of overall popularity. but ability to engage.” Microsoft’s lack thereof. Given that in most cases the potential volume, likely as a result of lack of purchasing In these instances the brands proved to hold strong levels of popularity in responses were comparable confidence. Simply put, consumers less into technology appeal based on engagement, but give the sense that between the two brands, it is a true reflection that just don’t see eBay as a relevant brand for them to choose. they are less popular than their competitors. Apple’s level of influence upon those most likely to To measure the full impact of the brands it is evangelize their brand is their strongest cultural asset. important to look at the values driving the scores Given that engaged consumers in this genre and not only the scores themselves. will likely have a heavy influence in purchasing behavior over those less engaged, relevance is certainly a critical component for success in purchasing behavior.70 71
  • 37. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 Culture’s Most Relevant Technology Brands // Chapter 33Culture’s Most RelevantTechnology Brands72 Who Has What it Takes to Win In reviewing the findings of this test study, we have the "Tech War" in Culture? identified the specific areas of performance for the brands included. This Cultural Capital Index Summary is a good snapshot of the overall relevance standing of these brands, but as we have observed, the data tell the deeper story. 73
  • 38. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 Culture’s Most Relevant Technology Brands // Chapter 3 142 131 Popularity | 53% 75 Popularity | 60% 39 Popularity | 51% Popularity | 73% 100 57 Popularity | 48% 108 Popularity | 38% 137 Popularity | 35% The Most Cultural Capital—Apple Apple has effectively done everything right in its Apple’s smart strategy to maintain premium products journey to cultural dominance, and in specific reference and build out properties that position the brand at to the young adults living in cosmopolitan cities the heart of consumer interests has established its whom we surveyed, the brand is perfectly attuned to products as perhaps the most ubiquitous range of their sensibilities. aspirational cultural products in the world today. Within the fashion genre, Apple’s aesthetic-driven Yet, while it is clearly the most successful in cultural premium product design ensures the brand reflects terms, it also has the most to lose. the important image-led values that drive relevance Perhaps the biggest threat to Apple is Google. “Apple has effectively done among engaged, fashion-centric consumers. While Google recorded the lowest Cultural Capital everything right in its journey While the total score for music Score overall, its score masks a story of untapped to cultural dominance.” is down versus Facebook, “Data tells the potential waiting to become relevance. In most Apple was cited along with deeper story.” cases, Google recorded exceptionally high popularity iTunes as consistently the and usage when considering the brand’s role in most popular unprompted brand. This popularity life. In fact its popularity is its downfall in terms of carried over into the branded questions and although relevance, as it fails to create an active draw through relevance dipped, its performance was solid. cultural relevance. Within media, Apple succeeded in generating a draw in relevance that outstripped the perceptions of the social media giants of Twitter and Facebook. Technology showed Apple’s greatest distinction, proving the brand’s outright authority and influence over its competitive set.74 75
  • 39. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 Culture’s Most Relevant Technology Brands // Chapter 3 Most Relevant Brand Within a Cultural Most Active—Twitter Most to Improve—Microsoft, Genre—Facebook for Music Twitter’s relevance score placed the brand as the Amazon and eBay Facebook was popular across many of the measured runner-up to Apple overall. Microsoft was considered the second least relevant could find they become a brand of the previous cultural genres. Indeed, it was rated as the most front- It’s worth noting that in nearly every genre and life brand studied and performed very poorly in comparison generation with no relevant equity in culture today. of-mind and popular brand within the media genre. role, Twitter recorded low popularity scores, which to Apple in virtually every metric. Amazon and eBay would appear to tell a similar Within the music genre, respondents cited iTunes and is a fair reflection of the overall penetration the In many ways Microsoft’s strength is its universal story of utility: They are just there as and when Apple as the brands most front-of-mind, but when it brand has with distribution, and its low relevance may be a consumers need them. When there is a specific came to considering brands within our competitive the young adult “Facebooks ability to curate music reflection of low active brand choice. It has simply audience/cultural need-state, their relevance set, Facebook proved its worth, achieving the highest population. content and drive the conversation with become the background service provider, powering increases. When there is no need that relates to the relevance What is evident, its broad user base means it can most the branded PCs and devices consumers choose. services of the brand, they drop out of interest. score in the however, is that directly capture the role music performs Universalism could be a risky strategy for the brand, In many “Twitter is highly appealing with those heavily engaged.” entire study. Twitter is highly though. respects, “When there is a specific cultural When relating for those more actively appealing for Becoming their middle need, state relevance increases.” involved in culture.” “Universalism could be a values to the those more actively involved in culture. It is highly a utility for ranking in music genre, effective in helping those engaging within a cultural technology risky strategy for the brand.” relevance terms reflects a degree of ambivalence we were able to see the importance of Social Status genre stay connected. leaves the toward the brands and suggests both companies with those engaged in music. Facebook’s ability to It is also highly representative of the values of brand open to competition both from the premium end should place greater effort into increasing the curate music content and drive the conversation with young adults. Its public social platform allows of competition (such as Apple) and also with lower day-to-day role with young adults. Given that both its broad user base means it can most directly capture engaged users to manage their cultural interests as a price-point competitors (such as Google’s Android). brands represent content and products associated the role music performs with those heavily engaged. form of social currency, and they trade it on Twitter. Microsoft’s low relevance with young adults with many of the most popular young adult cultural surveyed for this study represents a lack of focus interests, it should be relatively easy to translate to appeal to the cultural interests of the audience. presence within culture into increased relevance Overlooking this valuable audience seems odd with the audience. given Microsoft’s success with Xbox, but if the brand fails to connect with young adults, Microsoft76 77
  • 40. 4Cultural Capital // Volume 01 The Power of Cultural Capital // Chapter 4The Power ofCultural Capital A Robust Approach to In studying cultural relevance using the any culture, and measure that popularity Performing in Culture. Cultural Capital methodology, for the first by examining the attitudinal and behavioral time we have been able to show how the role of that brand in their life. Understanding level of engagement with an audience’s these preferences allows us to capture cultural interests can be used to directly the behaviors and values represented by measure the relevance of a brand. these brands and apply them to any other We have been able to identify an brand wishing to gain success within a audience by qualifying their social values genre or audience segment. and perceptions, We have been which enables us to “We are able to ascertain the brands that able to measure qualify the are most popular and front-of-mind within the competitive motivations driving any culture, and measure that popularity.” landscape of them to choose brands broadly their cultural interests, and better understand within the technology category, in order to how these traits apply to brand preference better understand how they are perceived within culture. within the measured genres and how We are able to segment our audience strong their relevance score is based on based on their level of engagement and engagement/popularity difference. influence within culture to help determine We are now able to combine the findings the dynamics in play that show the depth to provide an overall cohesive picture of relevance any brand has, based on of the relevance of brands in culture. how its preference shifts between levels Moreover, we have thorough, data-driven of engagement. diagnostic tools at our disposal to We are able to ascertain the brands that measure, optimize and change the are most popular and front-of-mind within performance of a brand in culture.78 79
  • 41. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 Five Ways to Increase Your Brand’s Cultural Capital // Chapter 55Five Ways to Increase YourBrand’s Cultural Capital80 81
  • 42. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 Five Ways to Increase Your Brand’s Cultural Capital // Chapter 5 1. Build Your Brand Idea on Culture 4. Focus on the Cultural Role in Your Brands that understand culture understand how Consumer’s Life to interpret their product role into the cultural As the findings of this study illustrate, saying a role for their consumers. This effectively enables brand is popular in music culture does not explain the functional benefit of a product to transform why it is popular. into the emotional benefit of the brand. By understanding the role (or roles) a brand plays in A good example of this would be Red Bull®’s idea culture, it allows you to focus communications to help of "Vitalizes Body and Mind." By translating this consumers identify more readily with why they would clear role of the product into the cultural context, choose your brand. Red Bull is able to ensure this role means many different things to different audiences within 5. Focus on Building Engagement cultural genres spanning extreme sports, urban Relevance is individualized—the greater something music or high fashion. reflects your personal interests and values, the more relevance plays a role. 2. Focus on Your Consumer’s Most brand marketers will say they do focus on Cultural Values building brand engagement. But that’s the problem: Values drive engagement with the cultural genres. The engagement does not come from focusing on People self-select their interests based on their the brand. Engagement comes from focusing on values. Likewise, by learning about the values that the role of the brand in culture. matter to those people engaging in cultural genres, By concentrating we can recommend which values to convey in efforts on increasing the “Relevance is individual—the communications messaging within any genre. role of the brand in greater something reflects your Given the widely accessible data on consumer a cultural genre, the personal interests and values, values, it is possible to understand how to promote brand will become the more relevance plays a role.” those values within cultural interests. respected for its contribution. And the more the brand is respected, the more loyalty it will generate—and loyalty promotes 3. Focus on Cultural Influencer Strategies advocacy to broader audiences connected through Understand the differences and connective tissue those cultural interests. with heavily engaged consumers of culture versus the mainstream in order to find the tipping points. Many brands understand the importance of investing in early adopters, but fail to translate their advocacy into mainstream appeal because they do not shift the tone in communications messaging to reflect “Focus communications to help the different values and perceptions of the less consumers identify more readily with engaged audience. By understanding and identifying which elements why they would choose your brand.” of a cultural interest attract different audiences based on different engagement levels, it is possible to translate cultural engagement into mass appeal.82 83
  • 43. Cultural Capital // Volume 01 About the Clyde McKendrick Clyde is Executive Strategy Director with integrated Author advertising agency WDCW, based in Los Angeles. He is also founder of the Cultural Capital Insight & Innovation Lab, a division of WDCW dedicated to analyzing the changing influences in culture and providing strategic consultancy for culture-led strategies. Originally from the U.K., Clyde founded his own lifestyle brand consultancy, advising the cultural strategies for brands including Red Bull, Coca-Cola®, Stella Artois®, Levi’s, T-Mobile®, Bombay Sapphire® and Diesel®, before moving to the U.S. to lead brand strategy for Pepsi ® with TBWAChiatDay. Clyde is a contributing writer for business and cultural media, including Fast Company, Mashable and Ad Age. He also founded MILK Magazine, a periodical journal reporting on changing culture and creativity. For information about Cultural Capital contact Clyde McKendrick. clyde.mckendrick@wdcw.com @clydemckendrick www.culturalcapital.tv Produced by Wong, Doody, Crandall, Wiener www.wdcw.com Seattle Office Los Angeles Office 1011 Western Ave 8500 Steller Drive Suite 900 Suite 5 Seattle, WA 98104 Culver City, CA 90232 (206)624-5325 (310)280-780084 85
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