Added Value announces Cultural Traction 2014 USA Report

16 December, 2014


LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Added Value reveals the cultural vibrancy of over 70 brands from across fourteen sectors in its fourth annual USA Cultural Traction™ 2014 report released today.

The Top Ten brands are:

• Tesla Motors
• Google
• Amazon
• Apple
• Samsung
• Microsoft
• Etsy
• Nike
• Ford
• Coca-Cola

The Cultural Traction™ 2014 report involved 7,500 respondents surveyed across the USA, with research conducted by Added Value, the WPP-owned global strategic marketing and insights consultancy.

Culturally vibrant brands are those seen as having the most Visionary, Inspiring, Bold and Exciting (VIBE) attributes. VIBE is a proven indicator of future brand success.

Several shifts have transpired on the cultural brandscape since 2013, with Tesla gliding into the pole position, ever so narrowly passing reigning champ Google, and lapping all other luxury car makes. Amazon’s VIBE climbed 10% as the company continued to reach into previously unchartered territories (cell phones, drones!). Apple, once the poster child for a brand that radiated VIBE, remains a strong force to contend with, but has continued to slide from atop the perch it held four years ago, when first measured. (Note: our survey was taken just prior to the release of the iPhone 6.) In contrast, Samsung continues to put pressure on Apple, as its VIBE continues to grow. Unassuming Etsy has crafted a space among the Top Ten as King of the maker economy, with Millenials, in particular, tossing out eBay from the Top Ten with a brand experience that is more real, personal, and fun. Ford’s category leadership in social, and growing emergence as the ‘fourth screen’ drives the brand forward, gaining 11% in Cultural Traction. Nike continues to find its greatness, sprinting ahead of Adidas once again proving how it can infiltrate our cultural psyche without necessarily sponsoring The Great Events. And omnipresent, perennial favorites Microsoft and Coke prove their staying power.

Says Maggie Taylor, CEO of Added Value North America, “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.”

Other highlights of Cultural Traction™ 2014

Top 10 vs. Bottom 10
Brands with the greatest cultural vibrancy are more likely to hit the trifecta of 1) delivering purposeful and compelling visions for positive change, 2) establishing truer, deeper, more lasting connections with people, and 3) enriching brand experiences to be more open-ended and on-going.

Jaguar – the Big Cat has awoken
Jag is enjoying the largest leap, posting the biggest gains in Cultural Traction from the dozens of brands measured. Summoning its deep British heritage to showcase its expanding lineup of sleek saloons, tying them to Cool Brit Villainy and wrapping it all in a cheeky #GoodToBeBad quasi dare is a classic case of culture-led marketing.

Target. Nailed.
Target’s rough year has been one of the most challenging in recent memory, with a highly publicized data breach and the ousting of their CEO, leading to the greatest fall in Cultural Traction, a whopping 27% year-on-year.

Fresh brands face stale positioning
Chipotle, TOM’S and Dove all losing some Excitement and Inspiration as others take up The Cause.

Red Bull hits the wall
To be sure, the brand takes direct aim at Millennials who value spontaneity, non-stop action, and bold challenge. But even among this bulls-eye target, its VIBE is only tepid

A Most Interesting Vibe: Dos Equis and Absolute Vodka
While their competitors remain flat, Dos Equis and Absolute Vodka’s VIBE fizzes.

The social media giant, once at the forefront of the social media revolution, now fails to Inspire and its brand VIBE is down 25% since 2011.

Not so pretty in pink
T-Mobile, in the bottom of the pack, is weakest amongst men.

Virgin soars, American and United fail to take off
But it’s Delta who emerges as the most Inspiring

Added Value’s Cultural Traction™ 2014 report examines how top brands have managed to stay culturally relevant year after year, and illuminates the cultural shifts and trends propelling them. The online study was executed by Lightspeed Research.

The Cultural Traction™ 2014 report and case studies can be accessed via

Maggie Taylor, CEO Added Value North America +1 323 436 6610
Zoë Dowling, VP Research & Development and Offer Innovation, Added Value North America +1 323 436 6647

Media Enquiries
Lisa Gruber, Added Value (212) 548-4710

About the Cultural Traction™ 2014 study
This year’s USA Cultural Traction™ report involved 7,500 respondents across the US, including more than 70 brands in fourteen sectors. The online sample was sourced, and project executed, by Lightspeed Research.

Cultural Traction™ is assessed by measuring the change in a brand’s VIBE score - that’s how Visionary, Inspiring, Bold and Exciting it is perceived to be - over time.

For complete case studies of brands covered by Added Value’s 2014 Cultural Traction™ survey, please visit:

About Added Value
Added Value is WPP’s strategic marketing consultancy providing brand strategy, innovation, insight (including award winning cultural insight) and communications services to global, regional and local clients. The consultancy’s major clients include Land Rover, AT&T, PepsiCo, Heineken, GSK and is focused on delivering impactful strategy that works. Added Value has 17 offices in 11 countries across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, extending its reach to best serve clients’ needs. The people who work at Added Value create a unique culture, which has achieved a 2 star accreditation with “Best Companies to Work For 2014”. Added Value is part of Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP, the world leader in marketing communications services. Visit us at, follow us @AddedValueGroup.

About WPP
WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY) is the world’s largest communications services group, with billings of $71.7 billion and revenues of $16.1 billion, providing national, multinational and global clients with advertising; media investment management; consumer insights; public relations & public affairs; branding & identity, healthcare communications, direct, digital, promotion & relationship marketing and specialist communications. The company employs over 162,000 people (including associates) in 3,000 offices in 111 countries. For more information, visit

WPP was named Holding Company of the Year at the 2012 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the second year running.

About Lightspeed GMI
Lightspeed GMI is an award-winning global digital data collection enterprise. Founded in 1996, its innovative technology and proven sampling methodologies deliver operational excellence throughout the online research process. With more than four million online research respondents in 40+ countries, Lightspeed GMI‟s proprietary panels deliver unparalleled quality, capacity and targeting.

Headquartered in Warren, New Jersey, Lightspeed GMI is part of Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP, the world leader in marketing communication services. For more information, visit

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