Study shows the strong relationship between brand cultural relevance and the amount consumers are willing to pay for brands


New York, NY- June 16, 2022 – New research conducted by MAGNA Media Trials, MAGNA’s industry-leading proprietary research offering, in partnership with Twitter, quantifies the benefits and drivers of brand cultural relevance today. The study, “Cultural Relevance Drivers: Understanding the Building Blocks of Brand Relevance,” reveals that brands clearly benefit from cultural involvement even to the extent of people willing to invest more in those that are perceived as more culturally relevant (based on correlation of R2=0.9786). The study found that people are no longer satisfied that brands “talk the talk,” they must also “walk the walk.” While there are many types of actions brands can take to ensure cultural relevance, accountability is now table stakes in the minds of consumers.


Another key finding from the study highlights the clear opportunity marketers have to make a big impact, with media accounting for 67% of what drives brand cultural relevance. Social media, in particular, allows brands a pathway to achieve the topmost impactful brand action – developing a 2-way relationship with people, by listening to what they have to say and reacting to their feedback. The implication is that brands should go beyond using media to simply put out a series of messages and get involved in places where they can converse and collect feedback.


“The results not only show that brands should be owning their brand actions, but also telling a measurable story about them over time,” said Kara Manatt, EVP, Intelligence Solutions, MAGNA. “Social media serves as a critical ingredient because it allows brands to own their own narrative around their place in culture and, in addition, build ‘listen/react’ relationships with people.”


Additional key findings from the study include:


  • Cultural relevance pays: Brand cultural relevance is highly correlated with metrics that matter, including Brand Favorability (R2=0.797), Purchase Intent (R2=0.791), and Brand Preference over other brands (R2=0.994).
  • Donations are a tangible way to show accountability: While people want brands to put their money where their mouth is, people are willing to do the same and pay more for brands that are donating.
  • Brands must embrace inclusivity: Creative inclusion goes beyond positioning brands as culturally relevant – it meets expectations and is a strong driver of purchase intent and brand favorability.
  • Actions speak louder by industry norms: The strength of brand actions varies by industry vertical. For example, sustainability is critical for CPG, having an even bigger impact on the bottom line than the brand making donations.


“Life’s events play out across social media—Twitter is called the world’s town square by many for that reason—making the category the logical place for brands to share their stories and values and engage with people,” said Stephanie Prager, VP, Global Business Partner at Twitter. “Being part of the conversation in real-time, staying current and communicating through culture are some of the attributes brands can build through proactive, culturally relevant social media strategies.”


The methodology used in the study included both qualitative and quantitative components. Focus groups were utilized during the qualitative phase to help define brand cultural relevance and uncover potential drivers. The quantitative phase consisted of a drivers’ analysis based on 4,917 online surveys among a nationally representative sample.


The full study can be found here.


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Media Contact:
Zinnia Gill
Vice President, Global Corporate Communications
(646) 965-4271