A panel led by Mie Hato from EssenceMediacom discussing how brands can measure culture

Potential - Measuring What Matters in Culture

The Cannes Essentials - Potential - Measuring What Matters in Culture

Culture is all around us, but how do brands assess what elements matter? This panel explored how brands can best interact with and assess cultural issues.

Kevin Allocca, Global Director of Culture & Trends at YouTube, stressed how challenging it could be to assess the big cultural trends. Research showed that more than half of people watch content that no one they know is into, so culture is increasingly personal and fragmented.

Part of the challenge is what we mean by culture moves at different paces. Small trends happen very quickly, while big changes happen slower. “When you’re talking about trends, brands need to move fast because that trend will dissipate in the next week. If they don’t capitalise, they will fail. But culture itself moves a lot slower. It’s measured differently because it’s more long-term,” said Soniya Monger, Head of US Agency at TikTok.

Nadine Zilstra, Global Head of Programming and Original Content at Pinterest, highlighted that different platforms have a role in culture and the crafters on Pinterest might be just as interested in K-pop, but embroidery takes more time than learning dance steps.

One key aspect of culture was authenticity and the commitment that comes with it. “What are you willing to do? What are you willing to invest? You have to stay the course,” noted Vida Cornelious, VP, Creative & T Brand Studio at NYT Advertising.

And the very best partnerships happen when brands, agencies and platforms were in the same room, and the brand had a clear north star for what they stood for. The secret to success, agreed the panel, was to find the intersections of brand values with culture and use those to guide the activation.