Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Tap into culture to win hearts and minds, urges research from Impero Activate

More than twice as many consumers choose brands due to cultural influences (70%) than because of advertising (28%), research from Impero Activate has revealed. 

The newly established division of London-based creative agency Impero also discovered just 22% of consumers know what brand they want to buy from before heading in-store, suggesting a big majority of decisions are made as people reach the shelf. 

Impero Activate launches with a mission to use culture to drive conversion at the point of sale and accelerate advocacy long after someone buys a product. Shopper marketing often falls into the trap of focusing on product offers and promotions, but via its latest research, the agency has identified that modern consumers value brands which create desire by tapping into culture. The new division wants to give a wider range of brands access to this approach that has made household name brands so iconic. 

Kelly Badal, Strategy Director, Impero Activate, said: “As the world becomes simultaneously more digitally connected yet more socially fragmented, we’re all looking for ways to feel part of a collective cultural experience with others who share our interests, identities, and values. 

“Shopper marketing has always been about creating value and attention that goes beyond the product itself. Today, the best shopper marketing uses culture to drive consumer value: moving from BOGOFs to brand collaborations, and from shelves cluttered with marketing assets to shareable, unique brand experiences.” 

Impero Activate is already creating insight-inspired activations that are designed to drive cultural conversation, conversion and brand advocacy for the likes of AB InBev, Estée Lauder and Pernod Ricard. 

The agency’s study of 600 consumers across UK, Spain and Germany also discovered that more than half (52%) of respondents claim the cost-of-living crisis will result in them only buying basics – so brands must work harder to get on shopping lists. 

Loyalty is still important and emotional connection is key: 66% of consumers say they always choose brands they love rather than seeking something different on the shelf. More than almost two thirds (61%) say friends and family are the main way they discover new brands, with 55% citing community as crucial – further highlighting the need to tap into people’s personal and cultural values and connections. 

Zuhur Mohamed, Cultural Researcher, Impero, added: “Our study of European markets amplifies the ever-growing importance of creating cultural value for shoppers through connections that are emotional – not just transactional. Culture is a blend of behaviours, lifestyles, ideas and communities – all of these are still so important to understanding what motivates people to choose one brand over another. 

“This is the way brands can drive longer-term selection in a world where shoppers are more promiscuous and curious than ever, but in many cases have less money to spend.”