TMA Introduces Cultural Resonance Score™

August 29, 2023


Study Identifies Top Five Most Culturally Resonant Brands;

Resonance Creates Customers

DALLAS, TX, AUGUST 29, 2023 – TMA, which has positioned client brands in culture for the past 30 years, released findings from its first annual Cultural Resonance Score™. The score measures both a brand’s standing in culture and identifies actions that can be taken to improve a brand’s cultural resonance, thereby driving growth.

Cultural resonance surpasses the fleeting nature of cultural relevance and amplifies over time. It describes the relationship between brands and consumers as going beyond the transactional, to having a shared perspective of the world and an understanding of the true value the brand provides. Historically, it’s been hard to measure the cultural resonance of a brand, let alone predict the impact resonance may have on growth. Not any longer.

Last year, brands with the highest Cultural Resonance Score™ grew 25% more than their competitors. In fact, the top three culturally resonant brands in our study grew at twice the rate of their competition. The data below shows the relationship between Cultural Resonance Score™ and customer share. 

“For over 30 years, TMA has been powering brands’ resonance across cultural platforms, using every form of content, experience, and partnership,” said CEO Trina Roffino. “Our many subject matter experts have uncovered consistent patterns for growing cultural resonance in their domains. With the Cultural Resonance Score™, we’ve built a complement to our qualitative expertise, so we can now measure and monitor the impact of marketing activities on cultural resonance.”

Resonance is built not merely through awareness, but through four pillars:

Recognition: Clarity of the brand’s role in the consumer’s world

Alliance: The consumer’s alignment to the brand’s perspective on the world

Engagement: Willingness to spend one’s most valuable resource—time—with a brand

Advocacy: Active participation within the brand’s community, magnifying its message to the world

A brand’s Cultural Resonance Score™ is calculated as an average of its four pillars. 

Among the key findings of this report:

1. Amazon, Google and Crayola are the three most resonant brands, followed by Apple and Target, when looking at the total population over age 18. 

“Crayola surprised us, but it makes sense,” said Kathleen Colditz, EVP of Strategy at TMA, who spearheaded the project. “They have endured for generations with an evolving product mix that stays true to the brand’s purpose; therefore Recognition and Alliance. And they’ve invested in experience and influencers, which help lift Engagement and Advocacy. Every marketer should want to dominate their category the way Crayola does.”

2. The top brands by pillar are as follows. 

The variety indicates that every brand—even those that are already dominant in a pillar or overall—has areas of opportunity.

3. Youtube, Apple, Marvel, Target and Google are the 5 most resonant brands to Gen Z.

4.  The most resonant brands share a combination of:

– High recognition

– Alliance and engagement that yields distinction among their most loyal consumer base

– Success in driving engagement beyond shopping 

For example, Amazon has grown Prime Day from a set of discounts to a holiday that has reshaped the shopping calendar. Apple’s developer conference has become live info-tainment for fans and media worldwide. 

5.  Chocolate, video games and toys are the top culturally resonant categories, followed closely by e-Commerce retailers (e.g., Amazon, Target) and pet care products. These categories all score in the 90th percentile.

6.  Cultural Resonance Score yields insights about specific categories. For example:

Autos: Trucks are more culturally resonant than sedans; Toyota is the most culturally resonant auto brand.

Beer: Beer lags tequila and wine; craft beers top traditional brands, with Hop Valley garnering the highest score within the category.


To develop the Cultural Resonance Score™, TMA worked with, which is powered by the world’s largest syndicated brand equity data stream. BERA’s Brand Intelligence Software automates the real-time collection, analysis, and measurement of 130+ consumer-based metrics across 4,000+ brands in 200+ sectors globally. The TMA Cultural Resonance Score reflects a brand’s ability to capture consumers in a category with 85% accuracy.


Cultural resonance is achieved when a) audiences have clarity of the brand’s point-of-view in the world; b) the point-of-view is meaningful to the audience; c) the audience is so engaged with the brand that they spend time with it; and d) they become brand advocates.

Creating cultural resonance requires commitment, consistency, and empathy. But as the results demonstrate, it’s well worth it.

TMA plans to publish its Cultural Resonance Score™ rankings annually and will also provide and track the performance of its clients. By monitoring these scores, brands can:

– Identify areas of weakness/opportunity

– Implement strategies and tactics to address those areas

– Monitor their brand and competitors’ progress over time

For further information and/or to obtain a Cultural Resonance Score™, contact Jean Scheidnes at TMA.