The WPP-owned strategic marketing consultancy Added Value has revealed its fourth annual study US Cultural Traction™ that measures “cultural vibrancy” of more than 70 brands in 14 sectors based on such attributes as Visionary, Inspiring, Bold and Exciting (VIBE). The report explores how brands manage to stay culturally relevant to Americans, and spots some new trends and cultural shifts. The VIBE band, as Added Value defines it, indicates future success of the brand.
For the study, the partner company Lightspeed Research has surveyed 7,500 adult respondents from the U.S. Based on their votes, the top 10 culturally vibrant brands in 2014 are, as follows:
1. Tesla Motors
The electric car maker Tesla leads the chart of the most inspiring and boldest brands, overcoming tech giants Google, Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft, as well as stalwarts of all imaginable rankings Coca-Cola and Nike. Interestingly, a rather young yet bold champion of the hand-made e-commerce Etsy is 7th, hot on the heels of its competitor Amazon.
More findings from the Cultural Traction™ 2014 study include:
1. The three drivers of the “cultural vibrancy” are, as follows:
- purposeful positioning of a brands as a “change agent”
- establishing true, deep, lasting relationship with customers
- creating open-ended on-going brand experiences
2. The British car brand Jaguar has made the the biggest leap in 2014’s ranking, while the greatest fall in Cultural Traction (27%) has been shown by the U.S. retailer Target.
3. The so-called challenger brands Chipotle and TOM’S lose their top inspirational positions, as many other brands has taken up the cause.
4. Facebook is not so vibrant in reality—its VIBE attributes has been down by 25% since 2011.
5. Among four biggest American airlines only Delta has got a positive VIBE score. Virgin, American and United keep losing positions in the ranking.
Maggie Taylor, CEO of Added Value North America, commented on the report:
“Culture is constantly evolving. We use Cultural Insight to uncover what is emerging for our clients, and track their cultural health, to better enable them to anticipate and make the most appropriate next steps. We’re in an age where people seek a multiplicity of brand experiences, super-personalized connectivity, and deeper, more meaningful interactions with the world around them—including the brands they affiliate with. Tesla, Google, and Amazon stand apart from the pack as those best leveraging, even driving, these shifts in culture.”