By David Cohen, Published by Adweek
Social media can help them develop a two-way relationship with people, rather than just sharing their messages

Respondents to a new study conducted by Magna Media Trials in partnership with Twitter had a strong message for brands: It is no longer satisfactory when they “talk the talk,” and they must also “walk the walk.”

The study found that brands clearly benefit from cultural involvement and, while there are many actions they can take in order to ensure that they are culturally relevant, accountability is the most important factor in the minds of consumers.

Media accounted for 67% of what drives a brand’s cultural relevance, and the two companies found that social media, in particular, gives those brands a pathway to impactful brand action by enabling them to form two-way relationships with people, to listen to what those people have to say and to incorporate their feedback into their actions.

Magna Media Trials and Twitter found that brand cultural relevance is highly correlated with metrics including brand favorability, brand preference and purchase intent.

The two companies shared the following takeaways for brands:

  • Be consistent: Magna Media Trials and Twitter found that younger people, in particular, are especially likely to see brands as culturally relevant when they show a consistent commitment to a cause.
  • Develop a two-way relationship with people: Brands should go beyond using media to simply put out a series of messages and get involved in the earned ecosystem, where they can converse and collect feedback.
  • 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 consumer packaged goods, having an even bigger impact on the bottom line than the brand making donations.


Twitter vice president of global business partners Stephanie Prager said in a statement, “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. 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.”

Magna executive vp, intelligence solutions Kara Manatt added, “The results not only show that brands should be owning their brand actions, but also telling a measurable story about them over time. 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.”

Download the full study


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